Who has been the Premier League 'Super Six' so far
Eight rounds of fixtures have been played the most unfathomable Premier League season yet and we are still waiting to uncover a reliable pattern of results.
With all the top teams fluffing their lines from time to time, a fresh cast of new heroes have been promoted in the most watched football competition of them all in the last few weeks, here is your improbable Sunday World ‘Big Six’ from what has been a mesmerising campaign so far.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Minutes played: 295
Pass success rate: 70.2%
Every observer was stunned by United’s decision to hand over £36m to sign this French teenager on transfer deadline day and the cries of ‘panic buy’ echoed throughout the game, but Martial has already shown enough to suggest he could develop into a top quality performer.
This kid is still a raw talent and while suggestions that he is the striker who will carry United’s title challenge are more than a little premature, he is making Wayne Rooney look like yesterday’s man with his dynamic contributions. He was named as the Premier League's Player of the Month for September.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester)
Minutes played: 565
Pass success rate: 73.5%
There was hardly a fanfare of publicity as Leicester confirmed their capture of this Algerian international from French second division side Le Harve in January 2014, but Mahrez has emerged as their marquee performer this season.
After scoring just four goals in 30 Premier League appearances last season, he has already gone past that total in eight games of this campaign and Leicester will be fearing that the big-money hawks will swoop to sign their star man in the January transfer window.
Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace)
Minutes played: 691
Pass success rate: 83.5%
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew will gets some credit for being a damn good manager one of these days and his coup in recruiting this French international play-maker from Paris Saint-Germain last summer always looked likely to be a masterstroke.
Cabaye has helped to make Palace tick this season and his presence has lifted them from a mid-table side to a team that has a real shot of pushing for a place in European competition next season.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Minutes played: 712
Pass success rate: 67.6%
This flying forward had a flirtation with a Premier League breakthrough at times last season, but his inconsistencies ensured the jury remained out on his abilities at the highest level.
Vardy’s form this season has cemented the belief that he is the real deal. His seven goals have come against opponents of varying qualities, with the dynamism he has added to Claudio Ranieri’s surprise guys making him the shining light of their sparkling start to the campaign.
Dimitri Payet (West Ham)
Minutes played: 718
Pass success rate: 80.1%
West Ham’s excitable owners have a habit of suggesting they have signed a world-beater every time they announce the arrival of a new player, but they may well have hit the jackpot with Payet.
Confident, rugged and with the ability to turn a game with an unexpected burst of magic, Payet has caught the eye since his big money move from Marseille.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Minutes played: 697
Pass success rate: 68.6%
Chelsea have been in need of a powerhouse target man to lead they line this season and more than a few of their fans may have pondered that their former charge Lukaku may have been the perfect man for the job as he has come to life at Everton.
This was always going to be a big season for a Belgian forward who struggled to impress last season and he has answered the call.
THE BIG FLOPS
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – How long can United boss Louis van Gaal persist with this fading force in his team? The club skipper cannot be faulted for his effort, but he looks like a spare part in a side that is developing despite minimal influence.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – The Football of the Year last season has yet to wake up this term and that is one of the reasons why Chelsea find themselves in 16th place. His under-pressure manager Jose Mourinho needs his star man to spring back into life quickly.
Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) – One of the biggest flops of the Brendan Rodgers era at Anfield, this fumbling defender has been throwing in too many mistakes again this season.
Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) – The decline of this formerly supreme defender has symbolised Chelsea’s capitulation in the opening weeks of the season. After his disastrous display against Southampton earlier this month, Ivanovic has to be taken out of the firing line.
Pedro (Chelsea) – There is a theme developing in this flops selection as most of them where Chelsea blue. Pedro has been a big disappointment so far, after he chose to move to Stamford Bridge ahead of an offer from Manchester United.