Welcome to a new series on Opta Analyst, where each week we use the Opta Player Ratings to review the top-performing players from each Premier League matchday.
The Opta Player Ratings are something we introduced this summer. For a quick primer on how they’re calculated, you can check our explainer here.
In short, the Opta Player Ratings take into account over 100 different metrics for every player to provide an accurate measure of performance for a player over a single match, specific period or whole season. Those metrics power six subcomponents for each player – categories like shooting, passing and defending. Then, those subcomponents are combined to calculate a total score (from 20-100) according to a player’s position in the match.
With that out the way, here are the top performers from MD 2 in the Premier League.
1. Solly March – 97.6 (Wolves vs. BRIGHTON)
With an Opta Player Rating score of 97.6, Brighton’s Solly March now holds the record for the highest individual score this season, surpassing Alexander Isak’s score of 97.5 from last week.
March was electric once more this weekend, playing a central role in Brighton’s demolition of Wolves on Saturday.
He scored two beautiful goals, both from devasting Brighton counter-attacks, as Roberto De Zerbi’s side killed the game early in the second half.
March is yet another one of those players who seems to have taken a leap forward under new manager De Zerbi. The Englishman has been involved in 15 goals in his last 19 Premier League starts for Brighton (10 goals, 5 assists), and his brace against Wolves at the weekend was his second in the competition.
Yes, it’s a painfully small sample size, but across his two games this season, March is averaging 4.4 shots and 0.7 non-penalty expected goals per 90. Both are comfortably his best rates in a season. If he can sustain numbers anywhere close to that we might be looking at a genuine breakout campaign.
After scoring against Luton on MD 1, March now has three Premier League goals this season and sits joint-top of the scoring charts.
2. Phil Foden – 97.1 (MANCHESTER CITY vs. Newcastle)
Phil Foden sparkled as Manchester City overcame Newcastle in a 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
Deployed as a number 10, Foden was a constant menace, receiving the ball in pockets of space in between Newcastle’s midfield and defence.
From there, his technical ability and skill at receiving the ball on the half-turn meant he could run at the Newcastle back four and thread passes through to City’s attackers. His assist for Julian Álvarez’s winner typified his brilliant performance, running off the back of Bruno Guimarães, receiving the ball on the turn before squaring for Álvarez to smash home.
Foden created seven chances from open play for City in this match – his most in a single Premier League game, in what was his 131st appearance in the competition. For context, the next highest figure on the pitch for chances created was two.
Of all City’s outfielders, Foden received the most passes from Rodri (11) and Mateo Kovacic (10), showing just how often he was able to receive centrally, turn and cause havoc.
3. Kaoru Mitoma – 96.1 (Wolves vs. BRIGHTON)
Another player in the Wolves-Brighton game appears in our top five and, shock, it’s someone who played in white and blue. Kaoru Mitoma was at his tricky, mazy best, scoring what may well have been the goal of the matchday.
Picking up the ball just inside the Wolves’ half on the left touchline, Mitoma jinked inside before surging past three defenders to burst into the penalty box. He maintained his composure to slot past the on-rushing José Sá.
Mitoma’s electric pace and ability to carry the ball at such speed make him such a threatening player. Last season, he progressed the ball over 13 metres on average with each ball carry, the highest mark in the Brighton team, while he completed 79 carries that also included a take-on, 20 more than the next-highest Brighton player.
This season, of all wingers in the Premier League, only Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka has completed more progressive carries than Mitoma.
The Japanese international had 10 touches in the opposition box against Wolves, more than any player on the pitch, and a total he only bettered three times last season.
4. Luis Díaz – 89.5 (LIVERPOOL vs. Bournemouth)
After missing a large chunk of last season through injury, Luis Díaz is back fit again. The Colombian has started the campaign in brilliant form, scoring in both of Liverpool’s opening two games.
If his strike against Chelsea owed much to the ingenuity of Mohamed Salah’s threaded assist, his goal against Bournemouth was a piece of individual brilliance, teeing himself up with a neat flick inside the box before acrobatically volleying home.
Díaz has scored in consecutive Premier League games for Liverpool for the first time, while he’s the first player to score the Reds’ first two goals of a league campaign since Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14.
5. Leon Bailey – 89.4 (ASTON VILLA vs. Everton)
Leon Bailey grabbed a goal and an assist as Aston Villa tore Everton apart on Sunday.
The Jamaican’s jinking dribble and deft cross set up John McGinn for Villa’s first, before he ruthlessly punished some sloppy Everton defending to power in Villa’s third. His clever knocked-down header also set up Villa’s penalty.
Bailey’s start to life at Aston Villa has certainly been a mixed bag, but it’s clear that he enjoys the home comforts of Villa Park. All six of his Premier League goals have come at home, the joint-most a player has scored in the competition with 100% coming at the same stadium, alongside Roman Bednár at the Hawthorns, John McGinlay at Burnden Park, and Paul Rogers at Bramall Lane.
Top Performers by Game: Matchday 2
Here were the top-performing players across each game in MD 2:
Nottingham Forest vs. Sheffield United: Taiwo Awoniyi, 88.0
Fulham vs. Brentford: Mathias Jensen, 88.1
Liverpool vs. Bournemouth: Luis Díaz, 89.5
Wolves vs. Brighton: Solly March, 97.6
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United: Pape Matar Sarr, 88.8
Manchester City vs Newcastle United: Phil Foden, 97.1
Aston Villa vs Everton: Leon Bailey, 89.4
West Ham United vs Chelsea: Michail Antonio, 86.5
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal: Thomas Partey, 84.5