Top five Premier League debuts after Gameweek 1

Gameweek 1 of the Premier League witnessed remarkable debut performances, as five standout newcomers seized the spotlight and hinted at exciting times ahead.

The 2023/24 Premier League season has kicked off with a bang, captivating football fans around the world thanks to the thrilling matches and exceptional individual performances. As the new campaign unfolded, several players have already showcased their talents, leaving a lasting impact on both their teams and the league as a whole.

Things kick-started with defending champions Manchester City squaring up against newly-promoted Burnley. Pep Guardiola’s team were in no real trouble as Erling Haaland scored a brace, and they ended up winning comfortably at the end of the day. Title challengers Arsenal and Manchester United got off to a winning start.

Meanwhile, the blockbuster encounter between Chelsea and Liverpool ended in a draw. Newcastle United, who punched above their weight to finish in the top four last season, got off to a dream start as they put five past Unai Emery’s Aston Villa. Their exceptional performance sees them sit at the top of the table after the first week.

While Haaland once again made the headlines for his exceptional opening-day brace, there were quite a few players who made their official debuts in Gameweek 1 of the new Premier League season.

The likes of Declan Rice, Alexis Mac Allister, Harvey Barnes, Joao Pedro, and and Nicolas Jackson had impressive debuts. They managed to showcase why they were amongst the most expensive moves of the summer. While they did well on their first outings for their new clubs, there were a few performances that were on another level. The Hard Tackle takes a close look at all the fixtures of the opening matchday of the season and brings you a list of five players who were on fire on their debut.

James Maddison

While Tottenham Hotspur failed to get past Brentford in their opening fixture of the Premier League, Maddison did manage to impress one and all on his debut for Spurs. The England international has been playing in the English top flight for years. And, in his very first match for the North London club, he managed to put in a show for the fans.

The 26-year-old has taken over the number 10 jersey after the departure of Harry Kane. While people thought, that jersey could bring a lot of pressure, Maddison has already proven his worth with a banger performance against the Bees.

He bagged two assists and maintained a successful pass percentage of 88.9%. The England international produced a total of six key passes throughout the game. While he failed to get them over the line, the 26-year-old hardly put a foot wrong throughout.

Sandro Tonali

Newcastle United had a dream season last time out as they managed to finish in the top four and ended up qualifying for the Champions League. They wanted to have a strong team that could compete in both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League. As a result, they did quite a lot of business in the window.

Their biggest buy of the 2023 summer has been Sandro Tonali. The Magpies went all out to acquire his services from AC Milan. And, in his very first outing in the league, the 23-year-old midfielder has proven he is worth every penny they have paid the Italian club.

The Magpies smashed Aston Villa 5-1 in their season opener. Unai Emery’s team were considered to be a tough challenge for Newcastle United because of the way they played last season under the Spanish boss. But, things panned out quite differently.

Sandro Tonali got at the end of an exceptional ball into the box and bagged the first goal of the night in the sixth minute. While Moussa Diaby did bring it back to 1-1 in the 11th minute, the Magpies ended up dominating the game.

It was not just the goal that made Tonali’s debut special, as he was all over the pitch and contributed in every aspect. It felt as if the 23-year-old was playing in the Premier League all his life. Tonali managed to maintain a successful passing percentage of close to 90 (88.9%).

Jefferson Lerma

Lerma made the move from Bournemouth to Crystal Palace as a free agent right at the start of the transfer window. Roy Hodgson was desperate to have a solid defensive midfielder in front of his backline, and he decided to bet on the 28-year-old Colombian international.

Hodgson believed Lerma could be a great fit in his system. And on the back of his Premier League debut, one could say that he has managed to get a good idea of what the manager wants from him.

Palace put up a great show against Sheffield United in their season opener. While it ended only 1-0 in their favour, it was complete dominance from the Eagles, and the Colombian international had a lot to do with that.

The former Bournemouth midfielder had a 100% success rate on tackles. He won 18 out of the total 24 duels in which he was involved. Lerma was involved in a total of 13 aerial duels, and he only lost once (the next-best aerial duels won figure was four). It was a dominant display by the 28-year-old, and he is expected to have a huge impact on their season.

Mateo Kovacic

The former Chelsea midfielder made the switch to treble-winners Manchester City earlier in the summer. While he has enough experience of playing in the Premier League, playing under Pep Guardiola is not an easy task. Understanding his requirements and living up to expectations is no joke.

The majority of his signings over the years have taken a lot of time to adjust to his style of play. Only a few have to get a hang of it from the start, and Kovacic seems to be one of those. The Croatian international loves to have the ball at his feet and is exceptional in small spaces, things that are a must for a City player.

Kovacic did not start in City’s comfortable 3-0 win against Burnley. He was expected to play a part late in the second half. But an injury to Kevin De Bruyne called him into action in the first half itself. The former Real Madrid star ended up playing 67 minutes of football and was quite impressive.

The Croatian international managed to have a pass success rate of over 95%. He hardly made any errors and was in tune with his teammates. While he did not bag an assist or a goal, the 29-year-old managed to contribute both in attack as well as defence and helped run the show from the middle of the park.

Andre Onana

Onana was one of the best goalkeepers in the world last season while playing for Inter Milan. He was one of the major reasons the Nerazzurri made it to the finals of the UEFA Champions League. On the back of his impressive performances, Manchester United went all out to land him at the club.

Erik ten Hag wanted someone who could help him build from the back, and Onana was his priority pick as the former Ajax keeper had played under the Dutch manager back in the day. The 27-year-old shot-stopper started in his first Premier League match against Wolves on Gameweek 1, and he ended up keeping a clean sheet.

Manchester United won 1-0 on the day thanks to Raphael Varane’s goal. But, Onana’s contribution was as important as Varane’s goal. The former Inter Milan shot-stopper ended up saving a total of six shots against the Wolves, and he even made a sweeper clearance.

His distribution was top notch, and he did not look in much trouble despite numerous chances that were created by the opposition. And apart from a contentious moment when he clattered into Sasa Kalajdzic, there were no tricky moments involving the Cameroonian goalkeeper. It was a great start for Onana to life in the Premier League, and he is expected to build on it from here.

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