Top 12 Premier League debutants from the opening weekend

13 Aug

The opening weekend of the 2019/20 Premier League weekend is done and in the books and it’s certainly whet our appetites.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Man United have already set their stalls out, while Brighton and Burnley also pulled off excellent wins.

Tottenham players celebrate Tanguy Ndombele’s goal against Aston Villa
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As well as this, a number of debutants starred across England and look like making a huge impact on the top flight this season.

So, who were the men who made a difference on the opening weekend?

Here talkSPORT.com takes a look at 12 players who starred in their opening performance for their new clubs.

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  • Salford City vs Leeds United (Tuesday, 7.45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Liverpool vs Chelsea (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Huddersfield Town vs Fulham (Friday, 7.45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Arsenal vs Burnley (Saturday, 12.30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Sunderland vs Portsmouth (Saturday, 12.30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Norwich City vs Newcastle United (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 5.30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Reading vs Cardiff City (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2

Rodri (Manchester City)

After an early shaky moment, which almost saw him give away a penalty when Manuel Lanzini robbed him in the area just six minutes in, he put on a real masterclass.

The ex-Atletico Madrid man looks to be the perfect long-term replacement for Fernandinho and doesn’t seem to be phased by the Premier League one bit.

Rodri looks to halt Sebastien Haller.
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Harry Maguire (Manchester United)

It wasn’t quite the performance some hyped it to be but the England centre-back already looks like a massive upgrade for the Red Devils.

He’s going to need a bit of time to settle but looks like being a superb acquisition so far and should be able to showcase his offensive talents more in other games this season.

Maguire helped United keep a clean sheet against Chelsea
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Erik Pieters (Burnley)

On paper, this was perhaps one of the most boring transfers of the summer. In practice, Sean Dyche added another weapon to his team and on day one it paid off.

The former Stoke City full-back – signed for £1million – grabbed two assists from crosses and could be set for a big year.

Pieters looks like being a bargain if he plays like he did against Southampton in every match
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Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham Hotspur)

It took some time for the Frenchman to get going against Aston Villa but when he did, he hit them like a freight train.

As he adapts to Mauricio Pochettino’s tactics we expect he’ll be a real threat both with his creativity, progressive play, and goal-scoring.

Tanguy Ndombele enjoyed a dream debut
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Bjorn Engels (Aston Villa)

Not many defenders come into the Premier League and immediately put in such an impressive rearguard display.

Even though the Villans eventually lost 3-1, he was in fine fettle and should be praised for the six clearances, and tidy 88 per cent pass success rate when he and his teammate were being dominated.

Engels did his best for Villa but couldn’t hold out for a clean sheet
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Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa)

A loan deal turned permanent, his showing was less surprising given what he did in the Championship.

He did, though, make an astonishing 17 clearances, while also grabbing the assist for John McGinn’s opener in the 3-1 defeat.

Mings plays riskier passes but could be rewarded in other games.

Mings impressed despite the eventual scoreline against Spurs
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Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)

We suggest you’re unlikely to ever see the former Crystal Palace man give anything less than 100 per cent in a match.

Already the man affectionately known as ‘Spider’ is launching his long legs into tackles and poking the ball away from its intended target.

He’s already got one clean sheet to his name and we expect a lot more.

Wan-Bissaka is likely to be an England international very soon
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Neal Maupay (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Not only did the £20m Frenchman score one of Brighton’s goals, he put in a tigerish display up top.

He’s going to do the hard yards for Graham Potter and could cause several defences a problem with his pressing.

Brighton new boy Maupay was excellent from the bench
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Phillip Billing (Bournemouth)

It was hard for anyone to stand out at Huddersfield last season but the Dane definitely did.

Surrounded by better players he put in a stunning display in the middle of the park for the Cherries.

Billing managed six tackles and four interceptions on the defensive side of his game while he also managed two key passes and three completed dribbles when going forward.

If it’s a sign of things to come we can’t wait to watch him thrive.

Billing could well be a massive hit on the south coast
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Joelinton (Newcastle United)

Having your Premier League debut come against Arsenal is always tough but the Brazilian looked more than ready.

He bullied the Gunners’ backline during the first period and was unlucky not to get a goal.

Joelinton already looks like an upgrade on Salomon Rondon due to his all-round game which saw him win tackles, interceptions, complete several dribbles and be a general nuisance.

The Brazil ace gave Magpies fans plenty of hope
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Sebastien Haller (West Ham United)

As highlighted by talkSPORT.com, like Joelinton, the Frenchman already looks like an upgrade on his predecessor due to the work he puts in.

Haller will have easier days but is showing great promise for the Hammers.

Haller did his best against Man City and was a handful
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Daniel James (Manchester United)

What a cameo from the young Welshman. His brother didn’t have him in his Fantasy Football team but many others will from now on.

At which ever point of the match James enters the fray he’s going to cause havoc for teams on the counter.

James lashed the ball home to round off the scoring agains Chelsea
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Brighton confirm signing of forward Neil Maupay from Brentford in £20m deal

5 Aug

Brighton have completed the signing of striker Neal Maupay from Brentford in a reported £20million deal.

The 22-year-old has agreed a four-year contract after passing a medical on Monday.

Head coach Graham Potter said: “Neal is a talented striker, with good strength and pace, and he is a goalscorer. He will add an extra dimension to our existing forward options, and we are delighted to have completed the transfer.”

Maupay scored 28 goals for Brentford in all competitions last season and had been interesting Aston Villa.

Potter added: “The club has been monitoring Neal and has been aware of his ability for some time. Separately I was also aware of his obvious ability at Swansea, and came up against him in the Championship last season.

“His record in the Championship has been exceptional, with 41 goals across the last two seasons, and now his challenge is to transfer that to the Premier League.”

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  • Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

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Brighton to sign Brentford forward Neal Maupay for £20million in next 24 hours – talkSPORT sources

4 Aug

Brighton will complete the signing of Neal Maupay for a club-record fee in the next 24 hours, talkSPORT sources understand.

The Brentford striker, 22, scored 25 goals in 43 appearances in the Championship last season and is one of the Bees’ key players.

Neal Maupay scored 28 goals in 49 appearances for Brentford last season
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However, speculation surrounding his future at Griffin Park gathered momentum when he was left out their matchday squad for Saturday’s defeat at home to Birmingham.

And now it appears Maupay is on his way to the Premier League, with Brighton set to fork out £20million for his services.

It will be the third time this window Brighton have broken their transfer record, having already signed winger Leandro Trossard for £18m before adding Bristol City defender Adam Webster for £19.71million.

Maupay is set to arrive at the Amex Stadium a couple of days before the transfer window closes at 5pm on Thursday.


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Should the deal go through, Maupay could even be in line to play Brighton’s first Premier League match of the 2019/20 season which sees them face Watford at Vicarage Road.

Championship Golden Boot race: 15 stars to keep an eye on in the 2019/20 season, including Leeds and Fulham strikers

30 Jul

As the final champagne bottle was popped at Wembley after Aston Villa’s dramatic play-off final win over Derby County, the attention of fans across the country turned to the return of the Championship.

After what feels like an eternity, Luton Town and Middlesbrough will finally kick off the new EFL season on Friday.

The Championship returns on August 2 with Luton against Middlesbrough
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After Norwich City, Sheffield United and Villa secured safe passage to the promised land of the Premier League, the scrap for promotion begins once again.

24 teams will slog it out over the course of nine months to earn their right to play in the top flight, with every club believing they stand a chance.

However, in order to get there, history and statistic suggest teams will need to have the top scorer in the division to do so.

Last season, Teemu Pikki scored 29 goals for Norwich as they ran away with the title, with Tammy Abraham notching 26 and Billy Sharp getting 23 for the Blades.

But who could win the Golden Boot this season? talkSPORT.com has picked out 15 potential candidates to finish as top scorer this season.

Scroll down to see the entire list, in no particular order.

Lewis Grabban – Nottingham Forest

Lewis Grabban of Nottingham Forest
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Forest endured a tough season last time out, with Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill departing this summer after a ninth placed finish.

For Grabban, he still managed to score 16 goals and has shown he is clinical at this level. Provided Sabri Lamouchi can replace Sheffield United-bound Ben Osborn, the 31-year-old could thrive.

Callum Paterson – Cardiff City

Paterson is aiming to fire the Bluebirds back to the Premier League
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The Scotland international struggled for goals in the Premier League last time around, but he managed to bag 10 in the Championship in the Bluebirds’ promotion winning season.

Neil Warnock has just allowed Kenneth Zohore to join rivals West Browmich Albion, meaning even more responsibility will be entrusted to Paterson.

Lyle Taylor – Charlton Athletic

Lyle Taylor helped the Addicks out of the third tier
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The 29-year-old from Greenwich helped get the Addicks out of League One in his debut season and will be desperate to show he can take his clinical form up to the Championship.

Taylor is  is AFC Wimbledon’s record Football League goal scorer with 44 goals, and the Dons’ highest scorer during their Football League era with 55 goals in all competitions – but he could well thrive for Lee Bowyer’s men this time around.

Benik Afobe – Stoke City

The former Arsenal striker is looking to get back amongst the goals
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The DR Congo international may not have enjoyed the success his early career promised, but a run of games and confidence will do Afobe the world of good.

The Potters may have struggled in their first season out of the Premier League since in a decade, but Nathan Jones will surely be entrusting the 26-year-old with firing Stoke back to the promised land.

Jack Marriott – Derby County

Marriott scored in the Play-Off final for the Rams
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Despite being restricted to plenty of substitute appearances from the bench, Marriott managed to find the back of the net on 10 crucial occasions for the Rams.

Phillip Cocu is all too aware of how agonisingly close Derby have come to the Premier League in recent seasons and if he can get Marriott scoring on a regular basis, the Dutch boss could be the man to finally end their play-off nightmare.

Jarrod Bowen – Hull City

The youngster was linked with a move to Tottenham
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Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United have both been linked with moves for the 22-year-old forward, who was named in the Championship Team of the Season last time out.

He scored 22 goals in all competitions last season and, given his current trajectory, it would not be surprising if Bowen beats that record and moves on in the next 12 months.

Kenneth Zohore – West Bromwich Albion

Zohore will be hoping to recapture his form from the 2017-18 season
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The youngest player to play in the Danish Superliga at 16, Zohore is a real handful for defenders. His three seasons at Cardiff City in the Championship saw him net 23 times.

Slaven Bilic moved quickly to sign the 25-year-old as soon as he arrived at the Hawthorns, perhaps in the knowledge he can finally fulfil his early potential. Didier Drogba approached the former Copenhagen striker after a Champions League game about joining Chelsea – while he was still 17.

Kemar Roofe – Leeds United

Kemar Roofe in action on pre-season
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The only reason Roofe may struggle to get bundles of goals this season is due to the incessant number of injuries he picks up. The 26-year-old is out for four weeks with an ankle injury, but still has time to catch the early season scoring contenders when he gets back.

Marcelo Bielsa stayed on for another season thankfully at Elland Road and the Argentine clearly sees tremendous potential in the former Oxford United striker.

Ollie McBurnie – Swansea City

McBurnie will be tasked with keeping the Swans in the top flight
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Sheffield United are reportedly interested in the Swansea City striker, and it is clear to see why the Blades want to bring the 23-year-old to Bramall Lane.

The former Leeds United academy star scored 33 goals in the Championship last season and is a clinical poacher who can find the back of the net from anywhere.

Britt Assombalonga – Middlesbrough

The DR Congo international is a handful for defenders
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Jonathon Woodgate will know all about playing about powerful strikers, with the new Boro boss all too aware of Assombalonga’s talents as well.

The 26-year-old has suffered a career-threatening knee injury and come back stronger, meaning Championship defenders will need to be on their guard against the frontman

Patrick Bamford – Leeds United

Bamford has been shaky in pre-season thus far
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Bamford is in danger of falling into the category of players who are ‘Too good for the Championship, not good enough for the Premier League’. Cameron Jerome and Anthony Knockeart are two such players.

The 25-year-old from Nottingham will be desperate to get Leeds into the Championship and show his doubters he is good enough for the top flight.

Karlan Grant – Huddersfield Town

Grant scored a screamer against West Ham United last season
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When Grant moved from Charlton to Huddersfield in the January window, fans were surprised. The Terriers were seemingly on their way down and the Addicks were on the way up.

Now that this situation has actually transpired, Grant will be keen to prove the form he displayed in League One and briefly in the Premier League was not a fluke and his move to the John Smith’s Stadium was justified.

Neal Maupay – Brentford

The Frenchman has been linked with a host of Premier League sides
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Last season, Maupay hit 25 goals in the Championship. But Brentford laboured to an 11th placed finish and the rumours of a move away have understandably intensified.

The 22-year-old is a France youth international and Aston Villa are keen on making a reunion with Dean Smith happen. If that happens, expect Maupay to bag even more goals.

Aleksandar Mitrovic – Fulham

The burly Serbian signed a new deal to keep him at Craven Cottage for the foreseeable future
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Despite rumours of a move to the Chinese Super League brewing, Fulham somehow managed to sign the Serbia international to a new deal this summer.

With Tom Cairney and Anthony Knockaert providing for him, Mitrovic could run riot in the second tier – he scored 12 in 20 appearances to help the Whites reach the Premier League in 2017/18.

Bradley Dack – Blackburn Rovers

Dack has made the transition to life in the Championship with consummate ease
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In a way not too dissimilar to Jack Marriott, Dack has risen from lower league football to become a prominent marksman. He scored 15 goals in his debut Championship season and looked like a natural.

The 25-year-old has plenty of time to develop his game and, as the main man at Edwood Park, do not be surprised to see him add to his tally from last season.

Eight Championship stars who Premier League clubs should sign in January, including Tottenham and West Ham targets

14 Jan

The Championship is full of talented footballers who could shine in the Premier League if given a chance.

Top flight clubs are always looking for the best players who can make the step up.

Players like Dele Alli and Jamie Vardy cut their teeth in the lower leagues of English football, so there are some outstanding players who could be up for grabs.

Jack Grealish is a standout player for Aston Villa

Here are some of the best performers this season who could be worth taking a punt on.

Not included in the list below are those who are already on loan from Premier League clubs, such as Dwight Gayle and Tammy Abraham.

Jack Grealish – Aston Villa

The Villans are starting to see the best out of Grealish since Dean Smith took over.

The Midlands club have rejected many approaches over the years for the 23-year-old, including several summer offers from Tottenham.

Grealish is a boyhood fan of Aston Villa

The incredibly talented attacking midfielder has been one of the stars of the Championship this season but it may take a lot to tempt him away from Villa Park.

He’s a boyhood fan of the club and they may be reluctant to sell as it could harm their promotion chances.

Jack Butland – Stoke City

The 25-year-old was once considered England’s future but will have to do a lot to displace Jordan Pickford from the number one position.

Jack Butland currently plays for Stoke City

He is undoubtedly talented and with the current position of Stoke City in the Championship he could be looking to move back to the Premier League.

In the summer, the club slapped a £30million price tag on Butland, which could put teams off.

Adam Reach – Sheffield Wednesday

Premier League clubs should consider signing Reach for his stunning goals alone.

Adam Reach has six goals for Sheffield Wednesday this season

He has scored some wondergoals this season, finding the net six times and notching three assists.

The 25-year-old winger is wanted for £10million by fellow Championship club Aston Villa but it could be a risk worth taking.

Bradley Dack – Blackburn

Dack has 10 Championship goals from midfield this season in a mediocre Blackburn side. The 25-year-old is hard-working and makes things happen in the attacking third of the pitch.

He’s worked his way up from League Two, having previously played for Gillingham, and a Premier League club may take a punt on him, with West Ham reportedly keen.

Bradley Dack has 10 goals for Blackburn

Neal Maupay – Brentford

The Brentford forward has had a hand in 21 goals this season for a club who are languishing in 17th place.

Villa were thinking about breaking the Championship transfer record and pay around £16million for him if they lost Tammy Abraham in January.

Neal Maupay has been outstanding for Brentford this season

He was earmarked as one of France’s best attacking talents but never developed as expected – until now.

Ollie Watkins – Brentford

Watkins has been a big hit at Brentford since signing from Exeter City in 2017. He has scored 17 goals in 68 Championship appearances and the winger appears to be improving with the more games he plays.

Southampton have been interested in him but reportedly will cost them around £20million.

Ollie Watkins will reportedly cost clubs £20m

Jarrod Bowen – Hull City

Brown has only got better as the season has gone on. He’s scored 13 league goals this season but nine of those have come in the last eight games.

Tottenham are reportedly interested in signing the 22-year-old winger.

Jarrod Bowen has nine goals in his last eight games

Joe Rodon – Swansea City

The 21-year-old has become a regular at centre-back for the Swans following their relegation from the top flight.

He has been compared to John Stones and his performances earned him a call-up to the Wales squad in October.

Joe Rodon has been a regular for Swansea at centre-back