Premier League XI: Bright Lights… So Far

GK simon MIGNOLET | Liverpool

The new man tasked to replace Pepe Reina as number 1 at Anfield has so far proved his worth, and very much a bargain if his start to his career at Liverpool is any thing to go by. Having proved key in their first two wins against Stoke and Aston Villa, providing vital saves close to the end on both occasions, Mignolet has also shown tremendous reflexes and calm, even proving that he is pretty decent with the ball at feet too. If he can keep up his tremendous form thus far, the Belgian international could very well propel Liverpool back into the top 4 and himself above Thibaut Courtois for Belgium’s number 1 shirt at next summer’s World Cup.

RB seamus COLEMAN | Everton

Bought for a measly £250k a few years ago, Coleman received some stick from Evertonians after his miserable start to his career at Goodison Park. Having had to edge out long-time favourite Tony Hibbert for the right-back slot, Coleman has also thrived in new manager Roberto Martinez’s style of play. Encouraged to bomb forward and provide extra width for his side, Coleman’s attacking presence has indirectly contributed to a number of key goals for his side this season, not least Steven Naismith’s winner against Chelsea early on in the season. Coleman could be a vital cog in Martinez’s expansive football, especially if he could keep up his brilliant start to this campaign.

LB leighton BAINES | Everton

Arguably England’s best left-back right now, Martinez has done well in keeping Baines at the club, even though he had to let Marouane Fellaini leave for Manchester United. Baines has continued to prove his worth, both in defence and especially in attack, and this was none more evident than his brace against West Ham United a couple of weeks ago, both fabulously taken free-kicks, that helped his side to a 3-2 win over the Hammers. Having started in both crucial World Cup qualifiers for England, albeit because Ashley Cole’s out injured, Baines could seal the number 3 jersey in time for next summer’s World Cup on current form, meaning an end to the legendary Chelsea left-back’s time as undisputed first-choice for that position.

CB kolo TOURE | Liverpool

Seen as a gamble by some, seen as a smart move by others, Brendan Rodgers’ acquisition of veteran Kolo Toure, on a free, could not have been a better move. Replacing club legend Jamie Carragher was never going to be easy, but Toure has come in and performed with aplomb. His start to the season was so majestic and dominant that Liverpool fans were worried when he was ruled out for the first vital game of the season, at home to arch rivals Manchester United. That says a lot considering he was only a handful of games into his Anfield career. He may only be seen as a stop-gap solution for Rodgers, but on current showing even the other new signings Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori may have a fight on their hands to compete with Toure, and Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, for a place in Rodgers’ 2- or 3-men central defence.

CB per MERTESACKER | Arsenal

One of Arsene Wenger’s deadline day panic buying two years ago, Mertesacker has since emerged as Arsenal’s undisputed first-choice central defender. Whether with the ousted Thomas Vermaelen or current defensive partner Laurent Koscielny, Mertesacker has provided much height to this diminutive Arsenal team, as well as some much needed physicality. Mertesacker’s form will be key to Arsenal maintaining their early season momentum and table-topping start. Germany coach Joachim Lowe will also be pleased should Mertesacker carry his current form for the rest of the campaign and into next summer’s World Cup.

CM aaron RAMSEY | Arsenal

Derided for so long by his own Arsenal fans, as well as being seen as the inferior alternative to the much-celebrated Englishman Jack Wilshere, Ramsey suddenly hit the ground running this season. 6 goals in all competitions is an astonishing fact considering he has already bettered his previous seasons’ total goals tallies. Having been given his favoured central role more often than last season’s right wing position, Ramsey has upped his game, and with Mesut Ozil playing alongside him, the Wales international can only get better. This could be his breakthrough season.

CM yaya TOURE | Manchester City

Ever so consistent, this season has been no different for the Cote d’Ivoire international. Already with 4 goals in the league, Toure has combined his dominant midfield displays with a new found understanding with new-signing Fernandinho. Driving forward while the Brazilian enforcer sits back, Toure has dominated midfields that made the current Champions’ midfield look meek. He has become more of a leader for his team-mates now, and his form will have to continue to be up with the best if City are going to have any chance of reclaiming the title from United.

AM mesut OZIL | Arsenal

A signing of genuine “wow” factor, one that shocked the entire football nation. £42m splurged by Wenger, who could have predicted that? Ozil has proved he is worth every penny so far. An assist ten minutes into his Arsenal debut, followed by a string of impressive performances has seen Arsenal fans buying out jerseys with his number 11 and name on it. His mere presence has made the likes of Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey better players, and his continuous ability to unlock defences could prove key in Arsenal’s fight for trophies this year. Does the title beckon? If Ozil stays injury-free, why not?

CF romelu LUKAKU | Everton

Jose Mourinho must regret his decision to loan out Lukaku every time he watches him score a goal for the other Blues. The Belgian international is a classic number 9, full of pace, strength, and willpower to better his opponents. He could have been the new “Drogba” for Mourinho, but instead the Portuguese mastermind is left with an ageing Samuel Eto’o, misfiring Fernando Torres and out-of-form Demba Ba. Lukaku has already bagged 4 league goals for his temporary employers, and there’s no sign he’s going to stop any time soon. The improvement he makes this year could be massive, and if he carries his form throughout the year and into next summer’s World Cup, Everton could be amongst the European places, and Belgium could be amongst the serious contenders at Brazil.

ST loic REMY | Newcastle United

On loan from relegated QPR, the French international has carried over his form from last season with 5 league goals this term already. Having effectively won the last game at Cardiff on his own with two fine finishes, Remy has been shouldering much of the goalscoring burden with Papiss Cisse still out-of-sorts and finding some of the sensational form when he first arrived at the club two Januarys ago. Of course, Newcastle is looking to secure Remy on a permanent deal, and if he carries on such form, the Magpies might have to fork out more money to QPR. Though, Remy’s form could also propel them up the table, away from the relegation woes that blighted them last season.

CF daniel STURRIDGE | Liverpool

Carrying his magnificent first half-season form for Liverpool into his first full campaign this season, Sturridge is currently the league’s top goalscorer with 6 goals in 7 games. Having had to shoulder the burden of Liverpool’s only reliable striker for ten games in the absence of Luis Suarez, he now has the Uruguayan back to link up with and continue his remarkable form in this calendar year. A burgeoning relationship between the two as a strike pairing can already be seen, and if Sturridge can finish the season amongst the top goalscorers, he will be England’s main threat going into next summer’s World Cup – barring injuries, of course.

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