Two Villans join England keeper in Premier League opening weekend’s worst XI

Ian Watson
Anass Zaroury, Jordan Pickford and Brennan Johnson in action for Burnley, Everton and Nottingham Forest.
An opening weekend to forget for Anass Zaroury, Jordan Pickford and Brennan Johnson.

It was a baptism of fire for the promoted clubs, with Burnley most heavily represented in the Premier League weekend’s worst XI. Four Clarets are join by two Villa defenders.

Here is the worst XI from the opening weekend, according to WhoScored ratings


GK: Jordan Pickford (Everton) – 6.03
Not the No.1 we expected in the sticks after the opening weekend. Apparently, things would have been worse for Villa were it not for Emiliano Martinez (6.37) while Thomas Kaminski rated even higher (7.01) despite conceding four on his Premier League debut for Luton. Neto rated the same as Pickford, but the Everton stopper takes the gloves after making just one save in the defeat to Fulham. Pickford perhaps wasn’t helped by the contrast with Bernd Leno at the opposite end, with the German being the highest-rated keeper (9.11) this weekend.


RB: Matty Cash (Aston Villa) – 5.64
There were reports last week that Unai Emery didn’t much fancy Cash and the Poland international didn’t help his cause at Newcastle on Saturday evening. Few Villa players did, in fairness, but Cash earned the second-lowest rating during a performance best remembered for missing an open goal when his side desperately needed it at 3-1 down. Not helped down the right by Leon Bailey, it should be said.


CB: Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa) – 5.38
Like Cash, Villa’s worst-rated player at St James’ Park had one particular moment to forget. Konsa, not unreasonably, tried to dribble out of danger while the game was still in the balance at 2-1. Only, he forgot to take the ball, leaving it for Alexander Isak to score his second.


CB: Lewis Dunk (Brighton) – 5.85
Dunk might be considered an odd inclusion since he helped Brighton beat Luton 4-1 while making 110 accurate passes with 127 touches. But the concession of a frankly ridiculous penalty means the centre-back takes his place alongside Konsa. That’ll teach him for having arms.


LB: Vitinho (Burnley) – 5.83
Three of Vincent Kompany’s back five earned sub-six scores on their return to the Premier League but the first Brazilian to represent Burnley was rated marginally lower than Connor Roberts and Dara O’Shea. Vitinho struggled to get into the game on the rare occasions Burnley attacked but he can’t be blamed for being cautious against the champions is and he won’t have many tougher assignments all season than dealing with Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker.


RM: Luca Koleosho  (Burnley) – 5.71
In an hour against City, the Burnley wideman managed only 24 touches, half of which resulted in a turnover. The Italian, signed from Espanyol recently, won none of his five duels before being hooked on his Clarets debut.


CM: Sander Berge (Burnley) – 5.79
The Burnley new boy managed 33 touches overall but we were taken aback by a stat just before half-time that showed, up to that point, Berge had made only six. In all the time he wasn’t touching a football, he wasn’t making a tackle either.


CM: Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton) – 5.06
Mpanzu completed his remarkable journey with Luton from non-league to the Premier League when he faced Brighton on Saturday, becoming the first player to complete that journey. And that’s what should be remembered rather than his error that led to the Seagulls’ third goal, moments after Luton had given themselves a life-line late on.

Luton Town midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu protests against Brighton.

LM: Anass Zaroury (Burnley) – 6.15
We normally spare substitutes from selection for the worst XI but we can’t excuse the Morocco international after he was sent off in added time while 3-0 down for a horror challenge on Kyle Walker.  “It’s a striker trying to make a tactical foul,” said Kompany afterwards, which may be the case but a shocker nonetheless.


CF: Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest) – 5.79
The Forest striker’s pre-season was hampered by injury and he certainly looked rusty when racing through, one-on-one with Aaron Ramsdale early on. Instead of putting Forest ahead and prompting an outbreak of the jitters at the Emirates, Johnson shanked his shot high and wide. Not long after, he gave the ball away in the left-back spot moments before Bukayo Saka bent in a brilliant second for Arsenal.


CF: William Osula (Sheffield United) – 5.61
The Sheffield United striker managed just five accurate passes in 90 minutes against Crystal Palace, giving possession away 11 times. Osula competed in 22 duels and won only four.

Read more: Premier League sack race: Opening weekend provides a new favourite but Moyes still in strife