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EPL Barometer: The Window Has Closed

Andrew Laird

Andrew Laird

Andrew Laird is the Senior Soccer Editor for RotoWire. He is also the Head of New Writer Training and a fantasy football and college basketball contributor.

The summer transfer window has finally closed, making it a great time to take a look around the Premier League. We've only gotten through three gameweeks, but that doesn't mean we can't take note of some players who came out of the gates hot, those who are struggling to find their best form, and others who are moving in each of those directions.

Hot

Many expected Christian Benteke to be one of the best strikers in the Premier League this season but boy has he started the new campaign with a bang. Three matches in seven days resulted in three goals and 270 minutes played. If you want to pick nits, he did miss a penalty kick against Arsenal in the season opener, although he was instinctive enough to follow it up and head it home. He could be playing the best football in the Premier League right now except for…

Daniel Sturridge. The Liverpool striker has also scored three goals in his first three matches, all of them resulting in 1-0 wins. Sturridge has really stepped it up for the Reds, who were searching for someone to fill the void left by Luis Suarez, who still has three matches left on his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic last season. It'll be interesting to see if Sturridge can keep up the offensive firepower when Suarez returns, but until then, fantasy owners should surely continue to ride the wave. One thing to note is that Sturridge is missing at least one World Cup qualifier for England due to a thigh injury, although it doesn't sound like he will be forced to miss any Premier League matches.

Joining Sturridge and Benteke in the three-goal club is Olivier Giroud, who has taken 13 shots over the three matches he's played. He has been Arsenal's best offensive weapon so far this season, as Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere have both started slowly and Lukas Podolski is now out for up to three months with a torn hamstring.

Heating Up

Romelu Lukaku appeared in two of Chelsea's first three matches, once coming on for Fernando Torres and once for Demba Ba. There was plenty of preseason expectation that Lukaku could become Chelsea's starting striker over the other two, but manager Jose Mourinho never felt comfortable ceding the front line to him. Everything changed on the day the transfer window closed, when Lukaku was sent on loan to Everton for the season. He immediately becomes the club's best offensive player and he could very well make a run at the 17 goals he scored last season while on loan with West Brom.

Alvaro Negredo has yet to start a game for Manchester City, but he's scored two goals in three matches so far and seems poised to unseat Edin Dzeko in the Starting XI. The Spaniard was one of a number of pieces brought in by manager Manuel Pellegrini this summer and he's poised to make the most of his opportunity with City.

Cold

It seemed like Demba Ba may be the beneficiary of Lukaku's loan to Everton, but the situation seems to have gotten worse with Chelsea's acquisition of Samuel Eto'o. Ba was already struggling to find consistent playing time and it's unlikely he'll unseat Torres and Eto'o for a permanent spot in the Starting XI. Ba was linked with a number of clubs near the end of the transfer window, but no move was made and now he'll likely spend the season on the bench, waiting for Mourinho to call his name.

Jermain Defoe's time as a reliable scorer for Tottenham appears to be over, as the club has given its top striker nod to Roberto Soldado, who has scored twice from the spot this season. Soldado knocked in 24 goals last year for Valencia in La Liga action, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him find the net many more times. While that's good news for Spurs fans, it's bad news for Defoe, who has appeared in every match this season for Tottenham but hasn't appeared before the 65 minute mark.

Still Waiting

Yes, it's only three games into the season, but there are a number of high-volume scorers that haven't found the back of the net yet. We certainly wouldn't take any of these guys out of our lineups, but we're still waiting on first goals from the likes of Michu, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, and Dimitar Berbatov, to name a few. Hopefully they all return after the international break ready to score.

Welcome to England

It just wouldn't be right to not mention Arsenal's acquisition of Mesut Ozil on the last day of the transfer window in this look around the Premier League. Arsene Wenger, who was ridiculed throughout the summer for failing miserably to land any of his targets, made the biggest splash of the day by breaking the club record to shell out £42.5 million for the young German. Ozil will be heavily relied upon to guide Arsenal's attack, which should certainly move him up the fantasy ranks quickly.