The Premier League finally returned to our television screens following the completion of another international break.
Premier League title winner Claudio Ranieri made his return to the division to take charge of his first game as Watford manager – but the welcoming party was well and truly spoiled by Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side.
A 5-0 victory at Vicarage Road wasn’t enough to send the Reds top, with Chelsea still sitting there after beating west London neighbours Brentford – but Thomas Tuchel’s men were certainly made to work for their three points.
Cristiano Ronaldo is left dejected after Manchester United lose again in the Premier League
LAST WEEK’S TOP 10
1. Mohamed Salah
2. Phil Foden
3. Son Heung-min
4. Raul Jimenez
5. Demarai Gray
6. Allan Saint-Maximin
7. Said Benrahma
8. Bryan Mbeumo
9. Romelu Lukaku
10. Cristiano Ronaldo
Elsewhere, the pressure continues to pile on Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after they fell to yet another defeat.
The Red Devils went to the King Power to take advantage of a Leicester side also struggling for form, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Co were once again left with egg on their face.
Off the pitch, it has been a momentous week for Newcastle United and their fans after Mike Ashley agreed to sell the club to a Saudi-led consortium – ending his 14-year reign as owner.
But unfortunately for the Magpies, Tottenham were on hand to spoil the party on Tyneside.
Every week, Sportsmail will be bringing you a Power Rankings table, listing the top 10 players in the Premier League after each weekend’s action is completed.
As the season continues to unwind, the rankings will provide a form guide with players moving in and out of the top 10 depending on both their performances in the previous fixture and also in recent weeks.
So, with all of that taken into account, how have Sportsmail’s latest batch of Power Rankings taken shape, and does Cristiano Ronaldo keep his spot from our last edition?
10. Bryan Mbeumo (down two)
Brentford may have only been in the Premier League a couple of months but Thomas Frank’s strike partnership of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo look like they’ve been playing in the top-flight for years.
The duo have been an absolute handful for each set of defenders they’ve faced since they won promotion and their efforts earned them a spot in the top half before the international break arrived.
And it was Mbeumo’s efforts that got him a place in our last Power Rankings, where his goal helped secure an impressive 2-1 victory over West Ham.
Last weekend, he was faced with the challenge of another London opponent in Chelsea. The Blues would prove to be a much tougher test.
Tuchel’s men had to hang on to walk away with all three points on Saturday, in a game which saw Mbeumo strike the post on two separate occasions.
Bryan Mbeumo (right) struck the post twice for Brentford in their defeat by Chelsea
Had either, or both, of Mbeumo’s efforts gone in, Brentford would be enjoying some well-deserved points from the reigning European champions after a match which left boss Thomas Frank beaming with pride at full-time despite the result.
‘If you look over the 90 minutes, there can only be one winner – and that’s us,’ said Frank.
‘We kept the number one side and European champions to five shots. In the end, we were all over them. They got a lucky win.’
While it’s been an impressive start to the campaign for Mbeumo, he will likely need to add another goal or two to his tally if he is to keep his spot in our Power Rankings next week.
9. Alexandre Lacazette (new entry)
Just when it looked like Patrick Vieira was about to celebrate his homecoming, Alexandre Lacazette ruined his fun in one of the most agonising ways possible.
Arsenal got off to a fine start against London rivals Crystal Palace at the Emirates on Monday night, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang breaking the deadlock after some brilliant work from Nicolas Pepe.
However, the Gunners were left to rue sloppy mistakes in the second half to allow Palace back in, with Christian Benteke one of the players to capitalise on some lethargic possession from the hosts.
Mikel Arteta recognised changes were needed and sent Lacazette on in place of Martin Odegaard in the hope of retaking the lead.
Alexandre Lacazette scored Arsenal’s equaliser with the last kick of the game against Palace
And while Lacazette proved to be an inspired sub, linking up well and helping Arsenal become a more credible threat, it was Palace that would score again with Odsonne Edouard thumping his shot in off the bar.
The Gunners pushed and probed for an equaliser but with four minutes of stoppage time up, it looked all but over, with Vieira ready to celebrate a win as manager on his return to the Emirates.
But with just seconds left on the clock, up popped Lacazette to finish a nod down from a corner and score the equaliser, rescuing a point with the last kick of the game.
8. Armando Broja (new entry)
Scoring the winning goal on your first start in the Premier League is one way to endear yourself to the fans and that’s exactly what Armando Broja did for Southampton at the weekend.
And if there is one criticism to aim at the young Albanian, he could’ve scored a whole lot more.
Against Leeds United at St Mary’s, Nathan Redmond and Broja ran riot but missed a number of brilliant chances to take a first-half lead.
Up until Saturday’s game, Saints had scored just once in their last four games, losing two of those and producing goalless stalemates in the others.
So the pressure was on for Broja to deliver.
However, the 20-year-old was a real livewire leading the line for Ralph Hasenhuttl and proved to be a problem for Leeds’ defence.
Armando Broja (left) scored Southampton’s winning goal against Leeds on Saturday
The young Albanian forward was given his first Premier League start by Ralph Hasenhuttl
His first header from a corner fizzed across the face of goal and wide, which should’ve been a clear warning sign for Leeds. Not long after, Broja rose highest again at a corner to flick the ball on for a team-mate to tap in from close range but Mohamed Elyounoussi’s diving header at point-blank range couldn’t be turned in.
But it was in the second half that Broja made his mark to settle the game and all three points for Southampton.
With Redmond leading a superb breakaway and needing to beat just one more defender, the England international squared the ball to Broja, who had to finish brilliantly to get past a goalkeeper to break the deadlock.
It sent the home support into pandemonium, with his strike helping secure Southampton’s first win in the Premier League this season.
7. Youri Tielemans (new entry)
While United may have boasted having a five-time Ballon d’Or winner on the pitch, there was no doubt who ran the show at the King Power Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have been struggling in recent weeks and it looked as if the rot would continue when Mason Greenwood scored a stunning opener in the game to give United the lead.
However, Foxes never quit and were back in the game thanks to an equally-sublime strike from Tielemans.
The visitors were punished for sloppy passing in the danger zone in the 31st minute when Kelechi Iheanacho robbed Harry Maguire of the ball and squared it for the Belgian to hit the top corner with a looping shot over goalkeeper David De Gea.
Youri Tielemans (right) ran the show for Leicester against Manchester United on Saturday
It set the wheels in motion, with Tielemans pulling the strings from the centre of the park, making plenty of forward, positive passes to the frontmen while running rings around Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.
Goals from Caglar Soyuncu and Marcus Rashford levelled the scores once again but Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka would eventually seal a 4-2 win over United, lifting the Foxes up to 11th in the table.
But it was Tielemans who was head and shoulders above the rest, and rightly deserved a spot in this week’s Power Rankings.
6. Bernardo Silva (new entry)
After seeing Liverpool run riot in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off, Manchester City knew they needed a win of their own to keep pace with the league’s early frontrunners.
While a home game against a struggling Burnley side would appear to be a forgone conclusion, Pep Guardiola’s men didn’t necessarily make things easy for themselves.
That being said, it did take them just 12 minutes to break the deadlock and it was this week’s No 6 entry who got the goal.
After linking up with Joao Cancelo on the right hand side, Bernardo Silva jinked his way into the box before finding Phil Foden in space, with the England man powering a low shot towards goal.
Bernardo Silva broke the deadlock for Manchester City against Burnley at the Etihad
Silva found himself in the right place at the right time to simply smash in the rebound, getting the hosts off to an ideal start.
The Portuguese playmaker would help run the show alongside Kevin De Bruyne, with the Belgian star getting City’s second with 20 minutes left on the clock. It could’ve been a different story, though, with the Clarets particularly wasteful in front of goal.
But with the points wrapped up, Guardiola was left to praise Silva, who has been linked with a move away from the club in recent months.
‘We know how we want him, how we love him,’ Guardiola said after the game.
‘He is such an important player for us, he can play in four or five different positions and he is so intelligent, and intelligent players can play everywhere.’
5. Edouard Mendy (new entry)
You know there has been a special performance when a goalkeeper makes this list.
And that’s exactly what Edouard Mendy produced to win all three points against Brentford.
Chelsea took the lead through a superb strike from Ben Chilwell on the stroke of half-time but with the visitors taking their foot off the gas, the Bees swarmed Mendy’s net.
The Blues shot-stopper had an inspired final quarter of the game denying Ivan Toney, Saman Ghoddos and Pontus Jansson – with his face – before saving the very best for last: a stunning reaction stop to divert Christian Norgaard’s overhead kick onto the bar and over.
Edouard Mendy (left) produced a stunning performance to help Chelsea hang on vs the Bees
His efforts in between the sticks were the equivalent of scoring down the other end, and Mendy rightly got the praise for his Man of the Match performance after the final whistle.
Speaking after the game on Saturday, Gary Neville, who was commentating, said: ‘He [Mendy] was absolutely brilliant.
‘If you’re going to win a title there are going to be games where you don’t play well, you don’t deserve to win the game but your goalkeeper makes two or three world class saves. He was brilliant today Mendy.’
Speaking of the pressure Chelsea were under and the impact Mendy had, Chilwell added: ‘It was pretty much hell on earth the last 20 minutes. We have got Edou to thank, he’s amazing. He is getting the credit he deserves.’
4. Phil Foden (down two)
Shortly before the international break, Premier League fans were treated to an absolute classic meetings of the titans when Liverpool welcomed City to Anfield.
The two title favourites traded blows in the meeting which eventually ended 2-2, while Phil Foden came out of the contest standing tall.
He was a complete handful for James Milner and rightfully earned a spot in our last edition of Power Rankings.
This time out, Foden wasn’t as instrumental in City’s 2-0 win over Burnley but is certainly showing why he deserves to be one of the first names on Guardiola’s teamsheet.
The 21-year-old’s shot caused plenty of problems for Nick Pope in the Clarets goal early on, which saw Silva clean up the spillage to break the deadlock. He would go on to help City see out the game, helping his boyhood club keep pace with Chelsea and Liverpool at the top.
Phil Foden keeps his place in this week’s Power Rankings after City beat Burnley 2-0
‘Phil can play in five positions up front,’ said Guardiola ahead of City’s game against Burnley.
‘He can play in both attacking midfield [positions] in the pockets and he can play in three positions up front.
‘There are players who play in one position and there are players who play football. Phil knows how to play football. If he played left back, he would play good.
‘There are players who say I have play in this position, otherwise they don’t play football. Phil is an exceptional player. He can play everywhere, not yet, but he is so young, in time he will get it.’
3. Roberto Firmino (new entry)
After a year of crippling injuries and bad luck, Liverpool look to be back to their best.
Having shared the spoils with title rivals City shortly before the international break, the Reds were ready to return with a bang and they did just that to spoil Ranieri’s welcoming parade.
Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated from the outset to extend their unbeaten league run to 18 games, with Sadio Mane opening the scoring with his 100th Premier League goal.
Roberto Firmino doubled Liverpool’s lead just before half-time with a tap-in before adding his second from close range seven minutes after the break, capitalising on a parry from goalkeeper Ben Foster.
The Brazilian got his hat-trick in the dying embers of the game, showcasing excellent positioning to be in the right place at the right time for all three of his goals, rightfully earning himself a place in our Power Rankings top three this week.
Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring his hat-trick as Liverpool smashed five past Watford
And while his hat-trick was somewhat overshadowed by Salah’s performance (more on that later), Klopp was delighted with Firmino, who has often played second fiddle to Diogo Jota this season.
‘Bobby was massive for our development as a team, absolutely. He is obviously a key player, very often the connector of all the different pieces on the pitch,’ the manager told reporters.
‘Unfortunately, he didn’t have a proper pre-season, then getting injured is not too helpful. But the three goals from the weekend for sure will help him a lot.
‘I was never shy of putting praise on Bobby Firmino and his importance, so maybe if you forgot that then go back, you’ve for sure recorded something like that, where I said a lot of nice things about Bobby.
‘Because he deserves it, he is our false nine and on top of that a very, very, very important player.’
2. Son Heung-min (up one)
It really looked as if it was going to be Newcastle’s day on Sunday as the packed-out St James’ crowd celebrated the end of Mike Ashley’s 14-year reign as owner.
With just minutes on the clock, Steve Bruce’s relegation-threatened side broke the deadlock, sparking chaotic scenes in the terraces while the club’s new owners hugged each other.
But the joy soon faded when Tanguy Ndombele netted a superb equaliser, shortly before Harry Kane finally broke his duck for the season with a VAR-assisted finish to give Spurs the lead.
With Kane struggling to score in the Premier League this season, Nuno Espiritio Santo has had Son Heung-min to thank on more than one occasion, with the South Korean stepping up when needed.
Son Heung-min scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season as Spurs beat Newcastle
And he did so again on Sunday, netting Spurs’ third to effectively seal all three points in a 3-2 win over Newcastle.
Son was on hand to finish off a brilliantly-worked move in first-half stoppage-time to take his goal tally to four for the campaign, making him the club’s go-to man in what has been a rollercoaster start.
He was a constant threat against the Magpies and moves up one place in our Power Rankings following a solid display in the north east.
1. Mohamed Salah (non-mover)
With a deft touch, a roll of the ball with his studs, a dummy and then a sublime finish into the bottom corner, Mohamed Salah produced another goal of the season contender to somehow match his effort against City in matchday seven.
The Egyptian rightly deserves to keep his place at the top of our Power Rankings after registering a superb assist and goal to match against the Hornets on Saturday.
On what was a day to forget for Ranieri, Salah delivered almost a replica of his stunning individual goal against City before the international break – and overshadowed Firmino’s hat-trick – to show just why many, including Klopp, are calling him the world’s best player on current form.
‘Come on, we all see it. Who is better than him right now?’ Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. ‘
‘There is always a discussion about this kind of thing. We don’t have to talk about what (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi did for world football, and how long they were really dominant, but in the moment it’s clear there is nobody better than him (Salah).’
Mohamed Salah rightly deserves to keep top spot in Sportsmail’s Power Rankings this week
Salah scored a stunning individual goal as Liverpool beat Watford 5-0 at the weekend
Salah’s 54th-minute solo goal started just inside the area where he was surrounded by three Watford players.
Salah somehow managed to get himself out of the situation with some marvellous footwork – including the foot-roll that was a feature of his goal against City – before cutting back onto his left foot and curling into the far corner.
The Egypt winger was mobbed by his team-mates after his seventh league goal of the season. He has now scored in his last eight games for Liverpool in all competitions.
It will be difficult to knock Salah off our top spot if he continues in this current form.