Five players that stood out in the Premier League opening weekend

Gabriel Agbonlahor

Players from Everton, Fulham, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Liverpool all feature.

Although Manchester City and Newcastle are still to play, the opening weekend of Premier League football reminded us why we love the game in England so much.

There were a number of notable standout performances from teams and players, with these five proving that they can be important men for their respective sides this season.

Ross Barkley

I have previously indicated that it could well Barkley’s break-through campaign this year, and the England under-21 star put in an outstanding performance in Everton’s 2-2 draw with Norwich at Carrow Road.

A rasping effort from outside the box got the Toffees back into contention after falling 1-0 down, however the midfielder showed excellent technique, work-rate and passing ability all day long.

The 19-year-old can be a real superstar this season if managed properly by Roberto Martinez.

Maarten Stekelenburg

The giant Dutch keeper pulled off a string of saves on his debut for Fulham that led to his side’s victory away to Sunderland.

The former Roma man has big gloves to fill at Craven Cottage, with Mark Schwarzer a consistent performer over the last five seasons, and countryman Edwin van der Sar leaving a legacy behind from his stint at the London club.

Despite being withdrawn with an injury, Stekelenburg’s saves will show the Fulham fans that they have a top-drawer stopper between their sticks, and his first game was an overwhelming success.

Gabriel Agbonlahor

Something of a forgotten man due to the heroics of Christian Benteke at Aston Villa last season, Agbonlahor showed that it is not a one-man show in the Birmingham-based side’s attack with an excellent display against Arsenal.

Villa could only have dreamed of a 3-1 win at the Emirates last season, but there collective performance was worthy of a victory here. Coming back from 1-0 down was commendable also, and Agbonlahor’s superb all-round showing was the cherry on the cake.

Danny Welbeck

Although Robin van Persie will take a lot of the plaudits following United’s win over Swansea, Danny Welbeck deserves to be mentioned also.

The England international has had a fine start to the season for club and country, and is clearly a man full of confidence at the moment. He took both of his goals at the Liberty Stadium with aplomb, and his overall display was positive.

He has already scored more Premier League goals this season than he did last term, and can be a driving force in United’s efforts to retain their Premier League crown.

Simon Mignolet

A number of eyebrows were raised when Mignolet was brought in to replace Pepe Reina at Liverpool this summer, but Saturday’s performance in his side’s win over Stoke shows exactly why Brendan Rodgers opted to do so.

A fantastic penalty save rounded off an impressive debut for the ex-Sunderland man, who made some excellent stops throughout the 1-0 win.

Mignolet will look to command his Jamie Carragher-less Reds defence this season, and has started life at Anfield in fine fashion.

image: © Dagur Brynjólfsson

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