Now eight fixtures into the new season, even the more old-fashioned fans are starting take notice of the Premier League table.
Indeed, how you finish is always more important than how you start but we’re already getting a taste of how the season might pan out here at Football FanCast.
Likewise, eight games is probably just about an acceptable enough sample to start formulating opinions on the English top flight’s new arrivals, some of which have been performing better than expected, some of which are still yet to truly justify their price-tags and some of which have been incredibly disappointing.
So with that in mind, Football FanCast have drawn up our Signings of the Summer XI, composed completely of the eleven new arrivals who have impressed us most so far.
Do you you agree? Do you disagree? Is there someone we’ve shamefully missed out? Let us know your opinions by commenting below!
Barring an opening day blooper against West Ham, Petr Cech has performed to the world-class levels expected since moving to Arsenal for a £10million fee this summer.
The former Chelsea No.1 produced two vital saves to prevent a comeback in the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Manchester United two weekends ago, whilst Arsenal’s struggles in his absence against Champions League opposition Dynamo Zagreb and Olympiacos pay testament to the much-needed calmness, composure and organisation the Czech international has brought to the north London outfit’s backline.
Nathaniel Clyne left pretty big shoes to fill at Southampton after departing for Liverpool but replacement Cedric Soares has certainly done a decent job so far.
The Portugal international has missed just one Premier League fixture for the Saints this term, playing an important role in clean sheets against Watford and West Brom and that unforgettable 3-1 win over Chelsea two weekends ago.
In the process, he’s averaged 3.3 tackles, 2.9 interceptions and 1.1 created chances per match. Perhaps most impressively of all, the 24 year-old has been dribbled past just once so far this season.
Leicester City signed Robert Huth permanently this summer following his intrinsic role in the Foxes’ great escape at the end of last season, picking him up from Stoke City for a meagre £3million.
Claudio Ranieri’s side are hardly famed for their water-tight defending – in fact, Leicester currently own the fourth-worst goals conceded record in the Premier League after Chelsea, Sunderland and Newcastle.
Yet it’s impossible to ignore the correlation between the former German international’s presence and Leicester’s league form. Including his loan stint last term, the Midlands outfit have lost just twice from the 20 times in which Huth has played the full 90 minutes, winning eleven.
Even though his quality may not exceed the norm in the Premier League, clearly the 31 year-old’s experience and leadership is having a huge effect on the Leicester squad.
Tottenham finished last season with the fifth-worst goals conceded record in the Premier League and the worst of any team outside the bottom seven.
This term, however, no side has conceded less than the Lilywhites’ seven and much of that has to do with summer signing Toby Alderweireld, who moved to White Hart Lane for £11.5million after an impressive loan spell with Southampton.
The 26 year-old’s effect has been subtle yet an incredibly important one, ever-present for Spurs this season and providing Jan Vertonghen with the dependable partner he’s craved since signing for the north Londoners in summer 2012.
The Belgium and former Ajax duo have provided a solid platform for the rest of the Spurs team to build from.
Joe Gomez’ form has tailed off somewhat in recent weeks after an incredibly impressive start but at an initial cost of just £3.5million Liverpool appear to have picked up a real gem in the former Charlton youngster.
Indeed, the 18 year-old performed well at left-back as Liverpool recorded three consecutive clean sheets at the start of the season and has since demonstrated his ability at centre-half in Europa League draws with Bordeaux and Sion.
Versatile, athletic and oozing class when in possession, the England U21 represents everything one could want in a modern day defender.
Arguably the Premier League’s biggest coup of the summer, the £10million Crystal Palace paid for Yohan Cabaye has made the club’s distant pipedreams of European football an increasingly plausible reality.
The France international has become the touch of class at the heart of an incredibly well-organised, industrious and potent Palace side, bagging three goals and one assist in his first eight Premier League appearances for the South London outfit.
Clearly Alan Pardew knows how to get the best out of the former Newcastle midfielder because his defensive efforts have been equally exemplary – averaging 3.9 tackles and 3.8 interceptions per match. That ranks Cabaye 12th for tackles and 2nd for interceptions throughout the Premier League.
Dele Alli may only be seven games into his Spurs career after signing for the Lilywhites in January and spending the second half of the 2014/15 campaign on loan at former club MK Dons, but he’s already done enough to earn an inaugural cap for the England national team.
That’s lead to huge debate over Roy Hodgson’s selection policies yet there’s no question the 19 year-old has impressed this season, averaging 2.6 tackles and 2.7 interceptions per match whilst always looking for a forward pass.
The 6 foot 2 midfielder is still some way off the finished article but he’s shown tremendous maturity since making the jump from League One and at an initial cost of just £5million looks like an absolute steal.
Manchester City may have broke their club record fee to sign £55million man Kevin De Bruyne but it’s already looking like a rather shrewd investment.
The Belgium international has bagged three goals and two assists in just three Premier League starts despite being continuously jostled around the attacking midfield berth by Manuel Pellegrini. He’s also averaged the seventh-most created chances per match, 3.3, of any player in the Premier League.
The 24 year-old still has some way to go before fully justifying his enormous price-tag but if early form is anything to go by, it will only be a matter of time.
Many Ligue 1 fans tipped former Marseille man Andre Ayew to be a huge success in the English top flight and so far he hasn’t disappointed, claiming four goals and one assist in eight appearances for Swansea City.
That saw the Ghana international claim the Premier League’s Player of the Month award for August and the dual role he plays as part wideman part support act to striker Bafetimbi Gomis has become a defining feature of the Swans’ attacking play this season.
Most impressively of all, the Welsh outfit picked up the 25 year-old on a free transfer – proving there’s still plenty of bargains to be had in the Premier League.
No Premier League player, let alone new signings, has proved more potent at the tip of midfield this season than West Ham’s £11million summer arrival Dimitri Payet.
Another former Ligue 1 star who has taken the English top flight by storm, the stocky attacker has recorded four goals and three assists in eight outings this term, making him in some way responsible for 63% of West Ham’s Premier League goals.
The France international ranks second in the Premier League’s creation charts with 4.1 chances per match, only bettered by Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, and that impressive form typifies how quickly the Hammers are evolving from the attritional Allardyce days.
Perhaps we’re falling for the hype here at Football Fancast, perhaps we’re not.
Either way, Anthony Martial deserves enormous credit for the ease in which he’s adapted to life at Old Trafford despite the pressure of his £36million price-tag, the continuous comparisons with four-time Golden Boot winner Thierry Henry and all those ‘What a waste of money’ headlines that accompanied his arrival.
Whether the 19 year-old’s form can be sustained over an entire season remains to be seen. But he’s scored three league goals with just six shots on target thus far and in terms of power and pace seems well equipped for English football.
That £36million fee – potentially rising to £58million – may not have been such a stab in the dark after all.