English Premier League: 5 Players in Red-Hot Early-Season Form

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterSeptember 12, 2012

English Premier League: 5 Players in Red-Hot Early-Season Form

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    International week is over, and now we turn back to the English Premier League season.

    Three matches into the new campaign, a number of players have already distinguished themselves. Not coincidentally, the players who have played best tend to come from teams that are also performing well.

    Here are five players who have started the season in red-hot form. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, so add your selections to the comments section below.

Eden Hazard

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    Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard has been the Premier League's best player so far.

    After joining the Blues from Lille in a big-money, high-profile move over the summer, Hazard has more than lived up to the hype. He slotted into Chelsea's squad seamlessly and has inspired the Blues' run to three wins and a table-topping nine points.

    Through just three matches, Hazard has already piled up four assists and a goal.

    Defender Branislav Ivanovic has been another top performer for Chelsea, but no player has been more important than Hazard so far.

    Just imagine where he—and Chelsea—will be at the end of the long season.

Santi Cazorla

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    Santi Cazorla signed for Arsenal from Malaga this summer. And like Eden Hazard, he needed little time to fit in with his new teammates.

    The diminutive Spanish playmaker immediately settled into a free role in Arsene Wenger's squad. Though the Gunners did not score during their first two league matches, Cazorla's passing, movement and vision were consistently top-class.

    Then, in Arsenal's third match, Cazorla set up Lukas Podolski's opener and combined with Podolski for the Gunners' second goal. As those two continue to gel, Cazorla's influence on Arsenal should continue to increase.

    Special mention also must be made for defender Thomas Vermaelen, the new Arsenal captain who has led the team to three straight clean sheets to start the season.

Wayne Routledge

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    Along with West Bromwich Albion, Swansea City have been one of the Premier League's most pleasant surprises early in the season.

    Both teams have seven points, but while West Brom don't have any statistical standouts—no player has recorded more than one goal or assist so far—Swansea have plenty.

    Spanish midfielder Michu has scored four goals, and English midfielder Nathan Dyer has recorded two goals and two assists. Both of those guys have shown great form, but so has Wayne Routledge with his three assists and one goal.

    The English midielder started the season with two assists in Swansea's 5-0 rout of Queens Park Rangers. He added one more assist the following week against West Ham and scored Swansea's first goal in the 2-2 draw against Sunderland.

Robin van Persie

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    Dutch forward Robin van Persie failed to score in his Manchester United debut, a 1-0 loss just days after RvP signed from Arsenal.

    Since then, he's been almost unstoppable.

    Van Persie got off the mark with a goal against Fulham. Then he hit an astounding hat trick as United came from behind late to defeat Southampton.

Carlos Tevez

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    Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez suffered through a miserable 2011-12 campaign, spending most of the season on the bench after refusing to enter a Champions League match as a substitute.

    After patching things up with the club and manager Roberto Mancini, Tevez has returned to Manchester City's lineup a new man. Clearly leaner and in better shape than last season, Tevez has already scored three goals as City start the defense of their league title.

    With Sergio Aguero injured, Edin Dzeko unreliable and Mario Balotelli being himself, Tevez's return to form has been a godsend for the champs.