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Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane and every Premier League team’s superstar

The Premier League returns this weekend after the international break. RealSport gives a report card for each club's best players so far this season.


It is game week eight in the Premier League and a clearer picture of the way the season will pan out is starting to develop.

The top six has a familiar look to it, aside from the inclusion of Burnley in place of Liverpool: the two Manchester clubs top the table, level on points, but with City having a +1 better goal difference.

At the other end of the table, Crystal Palace are bottom with zero points and zero goals. Bournemouth and Swansea City are the other two sides in the relegation places.

RealSport
pick each club’s player so far and give them a grade for the season.

20th – CRYSTAL PALACE

Star Player: Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is one of the few Palace players who can hold his head high with his performances and he isn’t even their player. The Chelsea loanee is a classy, all-round central midfielder who can pass, dribble, and has good intelligence. Expect to see Loftus-Cheek at a bigger club in the near future. 

With Palace languishing bottom of the league having scored no goals and Loftus-Cheek only playing four of their league games, though, it is difficult to grade him too highly.

Grade: C-

19th – BOURNEMOUTH

Star Player: Andrew Surman

The left-footer has established himself as one of the Cherries’ most important players. He is an all-action midfielder, crucial for Eddie Howe’s often open 4-4-2 structure.

Surman has averaged 1.2 dribbles, 1.7 tackles and has an 83% passing accuracy in the league for Bournemouth so far this season.

Grade: D+

18th – SWANSEA CITY

Star Player: Tom Carroll

The Swansea City midfielder is perfectly suited to the club’s ideology. He is a tidy, creative midfielder who likes to get on the ball and keep things ticking over.

That said, Paul Clement has often employed a more defensive structure so far this season with Carroll struggling to impose himself. The former Spurs man, though, is still the one trying to make things happen for Swansea.

Grade: D+

17th – LEICESTER CITY

Star Player: Harry Maguire 

What a difference the new England international has made at Leicester City. His £17 million capture from relegated Hull City in the summer now looks a bargain. 

As a reliable defender and superb ball-carrier who likes to bring the ball out from the back, Maguire should secure his place in the England World Cup squad.

Grade: B+

16 – EVERTON

Star Player: Oumar Niasse

With all the money Everton spent on their squad in the summer, Oumar Niasse was banished to the under 23s. As a result, the striker is the last person expected to be Everton’s star man, especially considering he has made only one Premier League start so far, a 1-0 loss at home to Burnley.

Despite Everton’s horrible start to the season, though, Niasse gets the star man accolade for his two goals against Bournemouth which turned the game around.

Grade: D

15 – WEST HAM

Star Player: Javier Hernandez

The Hammers’ new star striker has been their most dangerous player so far. But West Ham must do more to give the Mexican better goalscoring opportunities. 

In spite of a lack of service, though, the former Manchester United super-sub has still scored three Premier League goals so far.

Grade: C+

14 – BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION

Star Player: Pascal Gross

Very little was known about the German midfielder when he arrived on the South coast of England. Having scored twice and created 15 goal-scoring chances this season so far, the Brighton fans are now well-aware of their midfield dynamo.

With Brighton exceeding expectations so far this year, much of the credit for this has to go to Gross. If the Seagulls are to stay up this season, it will likely have much to do with this man.  

Grade: B

13- STOKE CITY

Star Player: Jack Butland

Since returning from a horror injury last season, Jack Butland has picked straight up from where he left off. With his great shot-stopping ability and his reliability between the sticks, the English international is likely to overtake Joe Hart as the country’s number one keeper at some point this year.

Grade: B-

12 – SOUTHAMPTON

Star Player: Mario Lemina

After seven games of the season, Southampton are still getting used to their new manager’s ideas. In this short space of time, though, Mario Lemina already looks to be an outstanding signing. 

The central midfielder is an all round player. He is excellent at keeping the ball and helping his side progress up the pitch, however also has the defensive intelligence and energy to provide a solid platform.

Grade: C+

11 – HUDDERSFIELD TOWN

Star Player: Aaron Mooy

Aaron Mooy has been brilliant both this season and the last, and is comfortably the Terriers’ best player. He is excellent on the ball and progressing his side into the final third. 

Not only that, he scored Huddersfield’s first ever goal at home in the Premier League with a wonderful finish against Newcastle to win all three points.

Grade: B-

10th – WEST BROM

Star Player: Grzegorz Krychowiak

It was a shock when West Brom managed to pull off such a high profile signing, even if was only a loan deal from PSG. 

The Polish international has settled into Premier League very well. He defends spaces brilliantly with his reading of the game and is also very comfortable on the ball.

Grade: B-

9th – NEWCASTLE UNITED

Star Player: Mikel Merino

Another loan signing, Mikel Merino has looked every bit a Rafael Benitez player since his temporary move from Borussia Dortmund. He is tactically disciplined and is excellent at denying the opposition any space to pass into.

Grade: C+

8th – WATFORD

Star Player: Richarlison

 The Brazilian youngster was largely unheard of when he made the £11 million move to Watford in the summer. However, he is showing exactly why he was so highly thought of in Brazil. 

Richarlison has wonderful technique, dribbling ability and pace, and can also finish, as he has shown with his three goals already in the Premier League.

Grade: B+

7th – LIVERPOOL

Star Player: Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian international has been a revelation since breaking Liverpool’s transfer record in the summer. 

He is brilliant at taking advantage of any space with his dribbling ability and pace although, at times, he has looked a little one-footed. Salah has four Premier League goals so far and has slotted straight into one of the most frightening attacking trios in Europe.

Grade: A-

6th – BURNLEY

Star Player: Ben Mee

Ben Mee has been so good this season that there have been calls to get him into the England squad. Mee is ideally suited to Burnley’s low block defensive structure and, along with centre back partner James Tarkowski, he has made 30 blocks, more than 16 teams total in the Premier League so far this season.

Grade: B+

5th – ARSENAL

Star Player: Aaron Ramsey

Since their 4-0 hammering at the  Liverpool, Ramsey and Arsenal have been excellent. He was the best player on the park in the 0-0 draw against league champions Chelsea. His runs forward into the box regularly get him into scoring positions, adding to the Gunners’ goal-scoring threat.

Grade: B

4th – CHELSEA

Star Player: Cesar Azpilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta has gone from being an extremely reliable defender to a creative force for Chelsea. The Spanish international has set up four Premier League goals this season, more than any other defender. Still as dependable as ever at the back he is rapidly becoming a world-class player.

Grade: A

3rd – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Star Player: Harry Kane

In truth, Ben Davies runs Kane close, but how could it be anyone else? Despite a barren August, Kane has still scored 15 goals for club and country this season. Only Lionel Messi has scored more goals than Kane in the top five European Leagues in 2017. His August drought is the only thing that stops him getting an A*.

Grade: A

2nd – MANCHESTER UNITED

Star Player: Romelu Lukaku

It could have been Nemanja Matic who turned out to be the missing piece of the jigsaw for Mourinho’s United. However, Lukaku has turned the Portuguese manager’s side into a ruthless force. The Belgian has ten goals in his first nine games for his new club and is a big reason why United are putting teams to the sword, something they struggled to do last season.

1st – MANCHESTER CITY

Star Player: Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne is considered by many to be the best player in the league. No midfielder in world football is better than him at playing the early ball through the lines. Beyond this, his vision and technique are exceptional. 

De Bruyne creates chance after chance for City and his goal in the 1-0 victory away to title challengers Chelsea shows how well he can finish too. Not that we didn’t know this already. 

Grade: A*

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Harry Brooks

Harry graduated from UAL in Elephant and Castle with a 2:1 BA Hons degree in sports journalism.

He has an NCTJ diploma and also coaches football and teaches PE in schools.

Harry loves to talk football tactics!

Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane and every Premier League team’s superstar

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