How the Premier League top six’s new signings have fared in pre-season
Pre-season is done and dusted for Premier League clubs, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal’s new signings among those making good early impressions.
As always, there is a sense of mystery and intrigue around new boys at any club, but for the top six teams there is that bit more, with potential title-deciding signings in the offing.
With the new season just around the corner, how are the new signings at each of the top six clubs faring? We take a look.
Riyad Mahrez finally completed his move from Leicester City in July, but things didn’t get off to the greatest of starts for the £60million record signing on his debut against Bayern Munich.
Mahrez was picked to start against Pep Guardiola’s former club, alongside six teenagers, but the £60million new boy was withdrawn after just 27 minutes with an ankle injuury.
City were 2-0 down by that point, but Mahrez’s replacement Bernardo Silva scored twice – either side of a goal from 19-year-old Lukas Nmecha – which saw them come from behind to win.
Mahrez then started the Community Shield victory over Chelsea but was withdrawn after 68 minutes, with Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva both outshining him.
Jose Mourinho has endured another frustrating summer, but Fred impressed in his starts against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich after an uneventful first outing in the defeat to Liverpool.
Mourinho said Fred would add “another dimension” to United’s game after the win over Real, and supporters have certainly been impressed by what they have seen.
Back to the top. Beat CL winners, Fred’s the best CM I’ve seen since Iniesta, Pereira looking like a 60m signing, Sanchez looking unstoppable. Buzzin for the season. #mufc
— Joshua Cain (@Caino_) August 1, 2018
Lee Grant insists – as all third-choice goalkeepers do – that he hasn’t signed just to make up the numbers – and he certainly hasn’t done himself any harm so far, keeping a clean sheet on his debut and going on to make a further three appearances.
Diogo Dalot, meanwhile, is still yet to make his first appearance as a United player.
With Spurs failing to add a single new player to their squad over the summer, it’s been left to some promising youngsters to catch the eye instead.
Naby Keita and Fabinho kicked off pre-season while the World Cup was still rolling on, making their debuts against Chester.
Fabinho featured in all eight of Liverpool’s pre-season games, and has been gradually exerting more influence on proceedings, producing his best display yet in the win over Manchester United, albeit missing a penalty in their final friendly – a 3-1 win against Torino.
Keita set up a Daniel Sturridge goal on his debut against Chester and has settled quickly, with Mohamed Salah already describing him as “amazing”.
He missed the United game with a neck injury, but Xherdan Shaqiri made his debut against Jose Mourinho’s side and quickly showed Reds fans what he is capable of, before coming on as a substitute against Napoli and having a hand in two of Liverpool’s five goals, and finally adding another assist against Torino.
Alisson finally made his debut in the rout against Napoli, earning praise from manager Jurgen Klopp, who thought the goalkeeper looked comfortable and credited him with starting the majority of Liverpool’s attacks. The Brazilian followed that up with a start against Torino, although there was nice moment when Loris Karius came on in the second half to huge cheers from the Anfield faithful.
Xherdan Shaqiri scores a bicycle kick on his Liverpool debut pic.twitter.com/1PeEGqmJ3O
— FootballMedia (@FootbaIIMedia) July 28, 2018
Former England goalkeeper Robert Green’s move to Chelsea caused somewhat a stir – not dissimilar to Lee Grant’s switch to Manchester United – yet Green has been kept out of Chelsea’s pre-season matches by 18-year-old Marcin Bulka.
The former England goalkeeper did appear as a second half substitute in Chelsea’s final friendly against Lyon, making himself the hero as he saved the decisive spot-kick
Jorginho, however, appears to be a key figure at his new club, with Maurizio Sarri looking to build his squad around the former Napoli midfielder.
He completed 90 minutes against Inter Milan, putting in an impressive display that drew plaudits from his manager, and also netted a penalty in the shoot-out win, though many were of the opinion that Foden outshone him in the Community Shield, and Jorginho probably can’t wait for N’Golo Kante to return.
A busy summer for Arsenal has seen Unai Emery arrive at the club, along with a raft of new faces.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Matteo Guendouzi have all made the move to Emirates Stadium.
Sokratis started both the 8-0 and 5-1 wins over Boreham Wood and Paris Saint-Germain, but has not yet particularly impressed, while Leno had little to do in the penalty defeat against Atletico Madrid but looked impressive against PSG.
Guendouzi, meanwhile, has been outstanding in his outings as a deep-lying midfielder, suggesting the 19-year-old signing from Lorient could be ready to challenge for a first-team place this season.
Torreira and Lichsteiner made their first appearances from the start in the 2-0 win over Lazio, Arsenal’s final friendly before the season opener against Manchester City. The right-back especially caught the eye with a typically physical and aggressive performance.