With the Premier League return came the inevitable reintroduction of some of the world’s most entertaining football, although not all of that came from the most expected sources.
Although there’s still a batch of weekend offerings to come, Saturday’s early action already gave those watching their share of impressive exhibitions.
Whether from an underdog performing above specification or a superstar talent simply living up to expectations, Week One of the Premier League season offered up a plethora of elite displays.
The catalyst in just about every Liverpool forward movement during their win over Stoke City this weekend, Philippe Coutinho provided a critical link between midfield and attack that will have been refreshing for the Anfield faithful to see.
The Brazilian contributed five key passes from open play against the Potters, more than any other Liverpool player, and was involved in many a Reds attack.
As The Football Front points out via Twitter, although Coutinho may have lined up on the left flank, his style of play saw him cut inside and have his say more centrally on a very frequent basis.
If Brendan Rodgers’ men are to have any hope of achieving their expectations this season, it’s already clear that Coutinho, lining up with the likes of Iago Aspas and fellow January signing Daniel Sturridge, will be essential members of the team.
In Aston Villa’s romp to a shock 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium, Christian Benteke provided the spearhead to Paul Lambert’s attack, just as he did last term.
Could Benteke win the Premier League's Golden Boot award at Villa?
The Belgian international was unfortunate to see a penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny in the first half, but pounced to head home the rebound in dominant fashion.
However, one goal was never going to be enough to beat Arsenal in their own backyard, so it’s just as well Benteke was on hand from 12 yards once again, this time tucking his spot-kick into the bottom left corner to put his side on track for three points.
As well as those two very pertinent contributions, though, the 22-year-old provided a solid outlet from open play just as he has in preseason, linking up well with the likes of Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
With Roberto Martinez now at Everton’s helm, Seamus Coleman was as likely as anybody to benefit from the managerial change, or more the tactical shift that would come as a result of that change.
If it wasn’t enough that Coleman assisted Ross Barkley’s equaliser in Everton's 2-2 draw with Norwich City, the right-back then proceeded to put the Toffees in front with a finish of his own, albeit conceding an equaliser not long after himself.
The official Everton Twitter account celebrated by posting this impressive photo on the social media site:
At Wigan Athletic, wing-backs were a massive part of how Martinez came upon his success at the DW Stadium and although the formation hasn’t been directly translated to Goodison Park, Coleman is still benefitting.
The Irishman consistently got into extremely advanced positions and still managed to live up to his defensive responsibilities for the most part.
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