Premier League Player Rankings After Week 3: Schneiderlin, Sterling & Costa Star
Welcome to the third 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. Now, after three weeks of action, form patterns and player highs and lows really start to take shape. It's much easier to discern who is in form, and who's just had a cracking weekend.
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 & Drop-Outs
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.
Stewart Downing, West Ham United
Erik Lamela, Tottenham Hotspur
Mile Jedinak, Crystal Palace
Gael Clichy, Manchester City
Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea
Steven Naismith, Everton
Jordan Henderson, Liverpool
Angel Rangel, Swansea City
Ashley Williams, Swansea City
Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City
20. Ron Vlaar, Aston Villa
Last Week: Honourable Mention
When Paul Lambert confirmed Ron Vlaar would be going nowhere on transfer deadline day, via Aston Villa's Brian Doogan, a huge sigh of relief swept through the fanbase.
The Dutch international has been stupendous since returning from the FIFA World Cup 2014 despite receiving a shorter rest period than deserved, and his attitude toward getting back and playing well should be commended.
Put simply, he's been a rock.
19. Alan Hutton, Aston Villa
Last Week: N/A
Alan Hutton is the second of four Aston Villa defenders in our top-20 this week—a feat not thought possible in the summer given the transfer moves at the club.
The Scot has come in from the cold and is playing superbly at right-back, rewarding Paul Lambert for his renewed faith and buccaneering forward to provide width and pace in attack.
18. Nathan Dyer, Swansea City
Last Week: N/A
Nathan Dyer grabs a spot in our rankings after three phenomenal performances to begin the season.
Garry Monk's side were in danger of leaving him behind after signing Jefferson Montero and Gylfi Sigurdsson, but he's taken his chance to impress while the former recovers his fitness, and he's not going anywhere any time soon.
17. Raheem Sterling, Liverpool
Last Week: N/A
Raheem Sterling returns to our top-20 after stunning White Hart Lane with a wonderful display of pace and technique.
He opened the scoring at the back post after a wonderful team move, forced Hugo Lloris into an error that should have been punished and dribbled round the whole team late on only to fire a tame effort at goal.
When he gets going, he's really something.
16. Aly Cissokho, Aston Villa
Last Week: 18
Aly Cissokho may well be credited with an own goal after Aston Villa's victory over Hull City, but the unfortunate ricochet off his face should not take away from another excellent showing.
Villa look so stubborn at the back, and the left side is no longer an area for opposing teams to target. Villa fans have got used to Joe Bennett and Antonio Luna looking vulnerable, but Cissokho is the polar opposite.
15. Nemanja Matic, Chelsea
Last Week: N/A
Nemanja Matic struck an absolute beauty at Goodison Park this weekend, adding a welcome goal to his stellar season so far.
His role is not to push forward and score, it's to hold the fort while Cesc Fabregas waves his magic alongside. That doesn't mean Matic doesn't look spectacular in what he does, though, and he's clearly the strongest defensive midfielder in the league on talent alone.
14. Philippe Senderos, Aston Villa
Last Week: 13
Philippe Senderos has been a very steady performer for Aston Villa so far this season, bringing solidity and confidence to a previously shaky back line.
He's definitely the least glamorous central defender in Paul Lambert's pairing, hashing his clearances every now and then, but he was a wonderful habit of being in the right place to mop up at the last minute.
13. Lee Cattermole, Sunderland
Last Week: 10
Lee Cattermole played very well for the third time in a row this weekend, committing to a grisly, hard-fought midfield battle at Loftus Road.
His passing range looked great and his tackling strong, until a customary yellow card was shown and he was forced to temper his attitude.
From that point on, his influence waned a little.
12. Victor Wanyama, Southampton
Last Week: 3
Amazingly, Victor Wanyama was dropped from the Southampton XI this weekend despite being arguably their best player over the course of the first two games.
Away to West Ham felt like the perfect domain for him, but Ronald Koeman saw fit to start Morgan Schneiderlin solo in holding midfield and, to be fair to the Dutchman, the decision turned out to be a masterstroke.
11. Cheikhou Kouyate, West Ham United
Last Week: 8
Cheikhou Kouyate had himself a battle in midfield on Saturday with Southampton's midfield three, and while he produced an impressive seven tackles, per WhoScored.com, he most certainly lost the war.
After two excellent games he drops a little in our estimations here, but that's not to say his opening few weeks at Upton Park haven't been absolutely stellar.
10. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur
Last Week: 4
Hugo Lloris conceded three goals this weekend, but his porous defence is more to blame than anyone else.
The Frenchman got close to Steven Gerrard's firmly struck penalty, getting a hand to it at least, and made an important save on Raheem Sterling after the youngster had danced through the Spurs back line with ease.
Tough day for the former Lyon man.
9. Eric Dier, Tottenham Hotspur
Last Week: 1
Eric Dier's first two weeks in dreamland have been truly forgotten; his performance against Liverpool on Sunday was naive at best.
He lost Raheem Sterling at the back post for the opener, then foolishly gave Joe Allen the opportunity to go down inside the box for 2-0. By that time the game was done.
He'll have better days.
8. Fernando, Manchester City
Last Week: 2
Fernando withdrew from Manchester City's game early on Saturday, appearing to hurt his groin in a challenge with Glenn Whelan.
Fernandinho came in for him and with the depth available, the Brazilian will be given every chance to recover in full. Keep track of his injury status here.
7. Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Last Week: 11
Eden Hazard is building up steam, and while he's not yet fully fit and remains unable to carry out his full array of tasks, he's making an impact and helping win games.
He forced a Seamus Coleman own goal on Sunday as Chelsea beat Everton 6-3 at Goodison Park, ran rings around his opponents and looks deadlier than ever on the ball.
6. Fraser Forster, Southampton
Last Week: 5
Fraser Forster had a quiet game at Upton Park, but did let in Mark Noble's long-range strike in questionable circumstances.
The bounce was unfavourable but you always want your goalkeeper to push those clear from danger; as a result, Forster drops a little in our top 20.
5. Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea
Last Week: 9
Another game, another goal for Branislav Ivanovic. It wasn't quite the perfect game for him—he was too narrow for Steven Naismith's strike, allowing the Scot to slip into acres of space—but it was pretty damn good.
Filipe Luis, Jose Mourinho's £20 million left-back who was supposed to come into this team, came on late in the day and waddled around in defensive midfield. Ivanovic rejects the notion that he will be displaced.
4. Diego Costa, Chelsea
Last Week: 17
With four goals in three games and a superb strike rate, Diego Costa is already turning out to be the forward Chelsea fans dreamed he would be.
With Fernando Torres and Demba Ba gone and the Spaniard in their place, Stamford Bridge looks a much happier place for strikers and the goals are seriously starting to flow.
3. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea City
Last Week: 7
Gylfi Sigurdsson is a big riser in our charts after playing his third successive excellent game for Swansea City.
Garry Monk has allowed him to roam the pitch and sniff out chances, creating a flexible system around him and simply allowing his classy playmaker to punish teams.
2. Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea
Last Week: 6
Cesc Fabregas didn't have his best game in a Chelsea shirt—in fact, it may have been his worst yet—but still came away with an assist in a 6-3 win.
His passing, as usual, was exemplar, with his slide-rule pass to Diego Costa inside the first minute allowing the Spaniard to slot home in space.
Cesc is a killer with a second on the ball.
1. Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton
Last Week: 12
Morgan Schneiderlin is crowned our No. 1 this week after putting in the performance of the week against West Ham United.
He's equalled his goal tally from last season after a wonderful brace, looked typically calm on the ball and broke up play with seven tackles, per WhoScored.com.
Southampton are lucky to have at least four more months of him.