VAVEL's Premier League Team of the Week: Matchday One

Who made it into our first Team of the Week of the 2016-17 season?

VAVEL's Premier League Team of the Week: Matchday One
Photo: Jonathan Walsh / VAVEL

The Premier League is back, and it's certainly back with a bang after an eventful first weekend of action, as the 2016-17 season kicked off in some style.

We saw managerless Hull City defeat last season's champions Leicester City 2-1 in the opening game, before Pep Guardiola followed up the 3PM kick-off's by winning his first competitive game as Manchester City manager.

The most exciting game of the weekend was to be found on Sunday, as Liverpool showed their attacking quality to defeat Arsenal 4-3 at the Emirates, whilst Chelsea closed out the weekend by taking all three points at home to West Ham United on Monday. 

But, who stood out on the first week of action, making the difference for their team as we got up and running? Let's take a look, with VAVEL's Team of the Week!

Goalkeeper and defence

GK: Maarten Stekelenburg (Everton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur)

There has been much speculation this summer that Toffees boss Ronald Koeman is after a new goalkeeper, but maybe he's already bought one in fellow Dutchman Stekelenburg, who was initially signed as a backup. After Everton started well against Spurs, the Londonders stormed back with an excellent second half, kept out on nuerous occasions by the 'keeper, who stunningly prevented Erik Lamela from scoring a second after he had a shot deflected. 

RB: Antonio Valencia (AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester United)

Antonio Valencia looks a changed man under Jose Mourinho, although it's early to say for certain. The Ecuadorian appears to have regain the confidence to take on a man that he has been missing since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. The new-found attacking contribution from Valencia saw him create both chances as well as space for the more central players. Combined with that, his defensive issues weren't prominent in an excellent performance from the right-back, who has already asserted himself as first choice over Matteo Darmian.

CB: Curtis Davies (Hull City 2-1 Leicester City)

Hull are going to need leaders in order to survive this season, and they'll be extremely grateful if Davies is still at the club come the end of the transfer window, such was his performance against the Foxes. A hero at the back and effective going forward from set-pieces, he had a header saved which led to the Tigers' opener. 

CB: Eric Bailly (AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester United)

The second member of the Manchester United defence in our team, there were eyebrows raised when Jose Mourinho spent north of £30million on Bailly from Villarreal this summer, but he looked worth every penny of it against the Cherries, tackling, blocking and intercepting all day long. There was the odd rash one, but they'll surely evaporate as he gets used to the pace of the Premier League. A very promising start indeed. 

Bailly was superb at the back for United (photo: Getty Images)
Bailly was superb at the back for United (photo: Getty Images)

LB: Stephen Kingsley (Burnley 0-1 Swansea City)

With big boots to fill for the absent Neil Taylor and the pressure of the opening day of the season, Kingsley carried on from where he left off last term with another fine performance. The young left-back continued to push forward with his usual swashbuckling style but also did a solid job defensively to help his side to a 1-0 win.

Midfield and attack

CDM: Idrissa Gueye (Everton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur)

Gareth Barry's days are numbered, Mo Besic is injured and James McCarthy has gone off the boil, Everton fans have been crying out for a defensive midifelder, and they've got one. Gueye, although relegated with Aston Villa, was regarded as one of their best players, and his statistics - similar to that of N'Golo Kante - backed it up. He was great against Tottenham, all over the pitch to tackle and transition possession. At £7million, they may well have a bargain. 

CDM: Marouane Fellaini (AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester United)

Marouane Fellaini has opened the season, bar a bizarre Community Shield error, in superb style. He was deployed by Jose Mourinho, who had backed the Belgian fully, to press high and press at a high intensity. He did just that, and to great success. Unlike the correct stereotype that Fellaini accompanies, he gave away just one foul, did not lose the ball at all throughout the 90 minutes. In fact, the midfielder had a 99% pass success rate, an attribute you would not usually associate with Fellaini. If he can keep up performances like this, he'll be vital in Mourinho's challenge for the Premier League title this season.

AM: Sadio Mane (Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool)

Mane is another who had eyebrows raised over the money spent on him this summer, but he began repaying it with a stunning performance at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. He was all over Arsenal like a rash whenever they had possession, winning the ball back countless times, but it's his stunning goal that will live in the memory. Taking the ball down the flank, he used speed and strength to beat two men into the area before lashing a weak footed effort past Petr Cech. If this is just the begininning, Reds supporters can be excited for what is to come.

AM: Philippe Coutinho (Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool)

If Mane was a comfortable eight out of 10, Coutinho was one step up at a nine. With the Reds going nowhere in North London, he curled in what may go down as the free-kick of the season to make it 1-1, and was at the forefront of a devestating spell of attacking in the second half that saw Liverpool score three goals in 15 minutes. He added another himself to make it 3-1 at a time, and would likely have walked off with the matchball had he not been struck down with cramp whilst through on goal.

Coutinho's free-kick against Arsenal was from over 30 yards (photo: Reuters)
Coutinho's free-kick against Arsenal was from over 30 yards (photo: Reuters)

AM: Robert Snodgrass (Hull City 2-1 Leicester City)

A man who is synonomous with leading the charge going forward for teams expected to be battling relegation, Snodgrass was again excellent on Saturday, causing Leicester numerous problems with his expert set-pieces. However, it's the winning goal that he'll be remembered for, one that gave Hull a crucial three points.

ST: Nathan Redmond (Southampton 1-1 Watford)

Redmond, in his newly heralded role as shadow striker under Claude Puel, flourished against the hornets. Bagging the equaliser about Watford, the former Norwich man could have added a second before he was judged offside for what would have been the winner. Perhaps, after some questioning that he might not fulfill his potential, he has found a new dimension for the Saints.