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.
So, without further ado, here are the top performers from Matchday 4 in the Premier League.
1. Evan Ferguson – 100.0 (BRIGHTON vs. Newcastle)
For the third week in a row, a Brighton player leads the way (Solly March vs. Wolves and Pascal Groß vs. West Ham topped the ratings on MD2 and MD3 respectively), and there’s little surprise who it is this time.
Brighton’s ability to spot talent has been well known for a while, and in Evan Ferguson, the hype certainly seems to be justified as the Republic of Ireland striker banged a hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Newcastle.
His first was a typical striker’s finish, taking advantage of Nick Pope spilling Billy Gilmour’s shot from range, while his second was a thing of beauty. He received the ball from Gilmour before placing a shot into the far corner from 25 yards. His third may have taken a significant deflection on its way in, but he walked away as the match winner and with the match ball.
At the age of 18 years and 318 days, Ferguson became the fourth-youngest player to score a Premier League treble, after Michael Owen (three), Robbie Fowler and Chris Bart-Williams.
It was an efficient performance too, with Ferguson attempting just four shots, all of which were on target, with Pope only able to save one. He also completed 17 of 18 passes (94.4%) and won seven of his nine duels (77.8%). The future looks bright for the lad from Bettystown.
2. Son Heung-min – 99.7 (Burnley vs. TOTTENHAM)
For the second week in a row, a player who excels away at Burnley is in second place (Moussa Diaby on MD3), and again, there’s little surprise who it is.
The early weeks of the season had suggested Richarlison might struggle to replace the massive chasm up top left by Harry Kane for Spurs, but Son Heung-min stepped up and then some at Turf Moor.
The new Spurs captain was moved from the left to the middle for this game and scored a delightful chip to equalise after Ange Postecoglou’s men had gone behind early on, before completing a hat-trick in the second half with two more well-taken finishes to kill the game off in Tottenham’s 5-2 victory.
Son so often steps up for his team, which is presumably why he was handed the armband this season. Three of his four Premier League hat-tricks have come in away games (vs. Burnley at Turf Moor, vs. Aston Villa at Villa Park and vs. Southampton at St. Mary’s).
He is also somewhat of a flat-track bully, with five goals in his last three games in the Premier League against newly promoted sides.
3. Erling Haaland – 97.1 (MANCHESTER CITY vs. Fulham)
Erling Haaland also scored a hat-trick on Saturday. Twas ever thus.
The Norwegian goal-bot hit another three in the 5-1 thrashing of Fulham, meaning he reached 50 (and 51) goal involvements (42 goals, 9 assists) in just 39 appearances in the Premier League, which broke the record of former Newcastle and Manchester United man Andrew Cole (43 games) to become the fastest player to reach 50 goals and assists in the competition.
Haaland scored with all three of his shots on target, recording his fifth Premier League hat-trick, with all five coming at the Etihad Stadium. That made him the fifth player to score five or more hat-tricks at a single stadium in the competition, along with Sergio Agüero (nine at the Etihad), Thierry Henry (eight at Highbury), Alan Shearer (seven at Ewood Park), and Robbie Fowler (six at Anfield).
He managed to end the game with three goals despite touching the ball just 17 times, with only four of those touches coming in the Fulham penalty area.
4. Pedro Neto – 93.1 (Crystal Palace vs. WOLVES)
It has been a difficult couple of years for Pedro Neto, recovering from a bad knee injury in 2021 only to suffer an ankle injury the following year. He has understandably struggled for form in the time he has been able to get on the pitch, but he looked sharp at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Sadly for him, it was ultimately for nothing as Wolves went down 3-2 at Crystal Palace, but it was not for a lack of trying. Neto created three chances in the game, and assisted both Wolves goals for Hwang Hee-chan and Matheus Cunha.
Only Palace’s Eberechi Eze (four) created more chances in the game than him, while Neto also attempted the most shots for the visitors (three), and put in eight crosses from open play, comfortably the most in the game.
5. Marcus Rashford – 92.4 (Arsenal vs. MANCHESTER UNITED)
This probably won’t go down well with Arsenal fans, but yes, Marcus Rashford was the highest-rated player on the pitch in Sunday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium.
While Mikel Arteta’s men were good value for their 3-1 win, with Declan Rice and Gabriel Jesus scoring in second-half stoppage time to send the home fans wild (even those who left early and missed both goals), the stats point to Rashford as the game’s standout player.
Although United were on the back foot for much of the game, they utilised Rashford well, with the England international having five of their 10 shots overall, including scoring the opening goal with a neat finish after Christian Eriksen played a sublime pass to him.
He had the most attacking sequence involvements in the game (nine), but was unable to do anything about the defending (or lack thereof) that led to Erik ten Hag’s men losing the game late on.
Top Performers by Game: Matchday 4
Here were the top-performing players across each game in MD 4:
Luton Town vs. West Ham: James Ward-Prowse, 85.1
Sheffield United vs. Everton: Cameron Archer, 90.5
Brentford vs. Bournemouth: Dominic Solanke, 85.3
Burnley vs. Tottenham: Son Heung-min, 99.7
Chelsea vs. Nottingham Forest: Anthony Elanga, 88.4
Manchester City vs. Fulham: Erling Haaland, 97.1
Brighton vs. Newcastle: Evan Ferguson, 100.0
Crystal Palace vs. Wolves: Pedro Neto, 93.1
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa: Dominik Szoboszlai, 92.2
Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Marcus Rashford, 92.4