Premier League Player Rankings After Week 2: Dier, Fernando & Costa Excel

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 26, 2014

Premier League Player Rankings After Week 2: Dier, Fernando & Costa Excel

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    Welcome to the second edition of our Premier League player power rankings, returning for another season in 2014-15.

    The criteria is simple: We pick the top 20 players on the basis of form and performances in league games only. At this stage, after just two weeks, we're judging solely off the two showings so far. A small sample size, certainly, but the footballing discussion never takes a break.

    Take a look and see if you agree with our selections, and if you feel we've missed anyone, let us know in the comments below!

Honourable Mentions

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    Please note: The differentials in the player rankings are sizable due to the early nature of the league and the limited showings. Some players who played well moved down; it's natural.

    These six just missed the cut:

    Stevan Jovetic, Manchester City

    Ron Vlaar, Aston Villa

    James McCarthy, Everton

    Sergio Aguero, Manchester City (two goals, but we want to see him start)

    Alan Hutton, Aston Villa

    Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester City

    These nine players dropped out:

    Simon Mignolet, Liverpool

    Raheem Sterling, Liverpool

    James Chester, Hull City

    Calum Chambers, Arsenal

    Allan McGregor, Hull City

    Saido Berahino, West Bromwich Albion

    Aaron Cresswell, West Ham United

    Edin Dzeko, Manchester City

    Aleksandar Kolarov, Manchester City

20. Mile Jedinak, Crystal Palace

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Last Week: Honourable Mention

    Differential: +1

    Crystal Palace have endured a miserable start to the season, but just like last year, Mile Jedinak is proving cream of the crop in a tough situation.

    Perhaps the Eagles' poor quality on the ball naturally lends itself to a defensive destroyer's talents, perhaps he's just going above and beyond to impact the game.

    Either way, his gaudy looking statistics of 7.5 tackles and 4.5 interceptions per game, per, are generating some buzz for the Australian.

19. Gael Clichy, Manchester City

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    Last Week: 11

    Differential: -8

    Gael Clichy made a statement on Monday night, winning the left-back slot off Aleksandar Kolarov following Pablo Zabaleta's return and bottling up Raheem Sterling well enough.

    He struggled when Daniel Sturridge drifted wide to allow Sterling inside, but overall the Frenchman did a fine job against a fearsome attack.

    If early indications are anything to go by, Clichy will once again be trusted for the big games Manchester City play. His recovery pace is greater than Kolarov's, and Manuel Pellegrini refuses to risk losing a flank.

18. Aly Cissokho, Aston Villa

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    Last Week: 15

    Differential: -3

    Aly Cissokho built on his impressive Aston Villa debut by putting in a rock-solid showing against Newcastle United on Saturday and keeping another clean sheet.

    He was such an impressive, powerful outlet on the left that Alan Pardew moved his own Moussa Sissoko over to the right to battle him, and although he limped off late on, Paul Lambert told Villa's official website it's a minor injury.

17. Diego Costa, Chelsea

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    Last Week: Unranked

    Differential: New!

    It's two in two for Diego Costa, who's already showing the killer instinct and ability to finish off chances that, sadly, Fernando Torres has not over the years.

    His goals have been easy, but that's not the point. He's running in behind, holding the ball up, hitting the channels and muscling his way into the box at every opportunity.

    Goal machine.

16. Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea

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    Last Week: Unranked

    Differential: New!

    His team may have won both games with relative ease—barring a difficult opening 20 minutes against Burnley, of course—but Thibaut Courtois has excelled already.

    A few big saves against Leicester kept the score level, but Diego Costa and Eden Hazard wrapped it up, while at Turf Moor he produced a splendid finger-tipped stop to keep the Blues ahead.

15. Erik Lamela, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Last Week: Unranked

    Differential: New!

    Erik Lamela showed some nice touches against West Ham United on the opening day but failed to make a direct impact. Against Queens Park Rangers, he fixed that, sliding through two assists in a 4-0 win and dominating the game.

    The Premier League's collective knees weakened a little this weekend.

14. Stewart Downing, West Ham United

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    Scott Heavey/Getty Images

    Last Week: Unranked

    Differential: New!

    Stewart Downing played well in patches against Danny Rose on the opening weekend, but his final delivery was absent for much of the match, despite taking up superb positions.

    This weekend, however, he fixed that issue by netting from outside the box against Crystal Palace. He dominated the right flank as an inverted winger and is duly rewarded for his showing here.

13. Philippe Senderos, Aston Villa

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    Last Week: 10

    Differential: -3

    It turns out Philippe Senderos' excellent, man-of-the-match-worthy performance against Stoke City wasn't a fluke; he's helped keep another clean sheet against Newcastle United the following week.

    His feet are smoother than many remember and he's a colossus in the air. He dealt with Emmanuel Riviere's pace by any means necessary—even flat-out tripping him over at one stage—and protected Brad Guzan well.

12. Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton

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    Last Week: 3

    Differential: -9

    Morgan Schneiderlin's passing range wasn't quite at optimal level, but his tackling returned with a vengeance against West Bromwich Albion.

    He picked up an impressive five, more than every other on the pitch bar Youssouf Mulumbu, per, and helped Victor Wanyama protect a still-adjusting defensive line.

11. Eden Hazard, Chelsea

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    Last Week: Unranked

    Differential: New!

    Eden Hazard now has two excellent performances under his belt, with a goal finally coming late in the day against Leicester City.

    His deflected effort sealed the game and flummoxed Kasper Schmeichel, but on the balance of play, it's a just reward for his showings so far.

10. Lee Cattermole, Sunderland

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Last Week: Honourable Mention

    Differential: New!

    Lee Cattermole followed up last week's golazo from outside the box with a very strong performance against Manchester United on Sunday.

    He broke up play and initiated attacks superbly, and he's quick out of the blocks to intercept and take advantage of any dilly-dallying in midfield.

    He looks a different player to the one we think we know, but he actually turned the corner last season.

9. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea

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    Last Week: Unranked

    Differential: New!

    Branislav Ivanovic was unfortunate to miss out last week, and his path to our Premier League Team of the Week this time around was blocked by another impressive performer.

    But the Serbian is doing everything he can to convince Jose Mourinho he's still the No. 1 option at right-back for Chelsea, and he's been an absolute menace at both ends of the pitch in both games.

8. Cheikhou Kouyate, West Ham United

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    Last Week: 9

    Differential: +1

    Cheikhou Kouyate continued his fine start to the season by putting in another stellar showing against Crystal Palace this weekend.

    A driving force in midfield, the Senegalese all-rounder has been likened to Patrick Vieira by manager Sam Allardyce this week, per The Daily Mail.

    If he stays consistent in every third, West Ham have a wonderful player on their hands. He's the physical presence of Mohamed Diame but with a lot more finesse and control over the ball when travelling—an outlet they've needed for a while.

7. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea City

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    Last Week: 4

    Differential: -3

    Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a golden chance to put Swansea City 1-0 up against Burnley this weekend but made up for it by assisting Nathan Dyer's opener shortly afterward.

    That means direct, positive impact from the Icelandic international from both games so far, and his strong midfield drive is a core reason as to why the Swans have six points from two outings.

6. Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea

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    Last Week: 2

    Differential: -1

    Cesc Fabregas didn't rip Leicester City to shreds like he did Burnley, but he still put in a very solid performance.

    He picked up an assist, started attacks from deep in midfield well and maintained an astonishing 94 percent pass accuracy, per, despite playing some riskier, into-the-box balls.

5. Fraser Forster, Southampton

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    Last Week: Unranked

    Differential: New!

    It would have been disastrous for Southampton to lose at home to West Bromwich Albion, but they came very, very close on Saturday.

    Fraser Forster came up big when required to save the day, underlining his own excellence and showing why Ronald Koeman was so happy to designate him his No. 1 so soon after joining.

    He's fantastic one vs. one.

4. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Last Week: 5

    Differential: +1

    Hugo Lloris didn't have much to do on Sunday afternoon as Tottenham Hotspur destroyed Queens Park Rangers at White Hart Lane.

    He made one save and one cross claim, per, but altogether didn't do too much as his teammates dominated possession and played in QPR's territory.

    Still, that's two clean sheets from two for the Frenchman.

3. Victor Wanyama, Southampton

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    Last Week: 1

    Differential: -2

    Victor Wanyama was less destructive against West Bromwich Albion than he was against Liverpool but still came away with a clean sheet and a feeling of "job done."

    His passing was short, simple and accurate, and he rarely let any runners through into the Southampton box.

    Another polished performance.

2. Fernando, Manchester City

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    Last Week: 6

    Differential: +4

    Fernando continues to lock his near-namesake Fernandinho out of the Manchester City side by performing superbly in the midfield engine room.

    As ESPNFC notes, the Brazilian enjoyed a constructive role against Liverpool, passed well and found his teammates—particularly Yaya Toure and David Silva—a number of times early in attacks to begin moves:

    The anchor midfielder only misplaced two of his 63 passes and had the highest pass completion rate of any starter on either side.

    His pass combinations show that he simply looks to find more creative colleagues, usually, but not exclusively, close to him.

    It was a fine example of how a destructive player can have a constructive role.

1. Eric Dier, Tottenham Hotspur

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    Last Week: 7

    Differential: +6

    Our No. 1 this week is Eric Dier, who built on his stupendous performance against West Ham United on the opening day by scoring again this weekend.

    That's two in two for the Englishman, who's settling in so well in north London, and his defending has been top-notch, too. He spent much of Week 1 clearing up Younes Kaboul's mistakes and much of Week 2 on the ball at right-back.