Manchester United transfer target Ibrahim Sangare showed Red Devils fans what they're missing with a commanding goalscoring display in PSV Eindhoven's Champions League playoff victory over Rangers, while Taiwo Awoniyi launched Nottingham Forest's Nigerian era this weekend as he secured the club's first Premier League victory since 1999.
Sangare gives PSV Champions League advantage
It's been a brilliant start to the season for Ibrahim Sangare and PSV Eindhoven, with the midfielder signing a new contract with the club last week before opening the scoring in their 2-2 away draw at Rangers in their Champions League playoff first leg.
Sangare's 37th-minute scooped effort gave PSV a brief lead in Tuesday's fixture, only for Antonio Colak to equalise three minutes later. Tom Lawrence then gave the visitors the advantage 20 minutes from time before Armando Obispo equalised for Ruud van Nistelrooy's side.
24-year-old Sangare has been the subject of transfer speculation during the offseason, with Manchester United, Chelsea and West Ham United linked with a move for the ex-Toulouse man.
However, a combination of his new contract signing and the Red Devils appearing to turn their attention to other targets indicate that he's primed to stick in the Eredivisie for the campaign ahead rather than bolster Erik ten Hag's midfield.
PSV will be richer for his presence, with Sangare demonstrating against the Rangers midfield-beyond his goal - his ability to dominate the contest in the heart of the park and stamp his authority on a contest.
His use of the ball -- tidy and controlled -- has come on significantly since his time in France with Toulouse, when various European heavyweights were linked to his signature, and his creativity can unlock PSV's bright attacking options.
Moving forward, a midfield pairing of Sangare and Joey Veerman, committed and inventive, should allow PSV to make a mark against some of Europe's bigger dogs in the UCL proper this season, and they are certainly favourites to progress past a Rangers side who have struggled to replace the departed Joe Aribo.
As the Nigeria international came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal and inspire Southampton past Leeds United this weekend, he was hardly missed by Rangers, who romped to a 4-0 victory over St. Johnstone.
However, against tougher opponents such as PSV, his absence is felt.
His replacement at Rangers - on-loan USA international Malik Tillman - doesn't yet have Aribo's poise and menace in dangerous areas, certainly leaving the defeated Europa League finalists weaker for the Nigerian's exit.
Domestically, PSV and Ajax remain the pace-setters in the Eredivisie, with the former smashing Go Ahead Eagles 5-2 at the weekend.
For Ajax new boy Brian Brobbey, there were perhaps some mixed emotions as his run of scoring in consecutive Dutch top flight matches came to an end.
The wonderkid became the youngest player since Rafael van der Vaart in 2002 to score in consecutive Eredivisie games when he bagged against Fortuna Sittard last weekend, but was unable to make it five in a row after failing to find the net with any of his three attempts against Groningen.
However, it was a sensational weekend for Ajax, who routed their opponents 6-1, with Brobbey contributing an assist for Kenneth Taylor's 66th-minute effort during a devastating display.
Forest's Nigerian era begins
Watford became the neutral's favourites in Nigeria last season, as the Hornets piled into talent from the West African country in their bid to avoid Premier League relegation.
Four Nigerians were part of the side that ultimately failed to avoid a swift return to the Championship, but one of this year's favourites for the drop -- Nottingham Forest -- appear to have also drawn the conclusion that investing in Super Eagles is their best way of evading the bottom three.
Awoniyi and Emmanuel Dennis are among the (so far) 15 new arrivals at the City Ground during the course of the campaign, with Steve Cooper building something of a dream Nigeria forward line in a bid to bag the goals required for safety.
The pressure is on Awoniyi upon his return to English football following his permanent departure from Liverpool 12 months ago, with the 24-year-old the most expensive of the Tricky Trees' signings.
They parted with €20.50 million to bring him back to the Prem from Union Berlin, with Cooper then setting out to devise a strategy which would help Awoniyi match the 15-goal haul he registered in the Bundesliga last term.
The attacker broke his duck in the English game - seven years after he first moved to England -- with the winner in Forest's 1-0 victory over West Ham United on Sunday, their first triumph in the Premier League in 23 years.
Of course, the main headline from their triumph at raucous City Ground was Forest finally ending their wait for three points in the top tier following their extended absence, but one compelling subplot of the encounter was Awoniyi's convincing forward display.
Admittedly, his goal wasn't a thing of beauty, nor will it compete for any Goal of the Month awards, but it hardly mattered as he scuffed the ball beyond Lukasz Fabianski after Jesse Lingard's effort had been blocked by Ben Johnson.
Awoniyi -- all fist pumping and chest thumping -- hardly cared, as he opened his account in the top tier and capped off a committed, unified Forest display.
Newly promoted teams need this kind of early-season showing to convince players and supporters that they can hang at the higher level and even take points from some of the Prem's stronger teams, and during the course of the campaign, Awoniyi's scruffy winner could prove invaluable.
His display, more broadly, offered confidence that Forest will carry a goal threat this term, with Awoniyi marrying an appetite for a battle with defenders with intelligent off-the-ball movement and a dangerous turn of pace.
Right from the early stages against West Ham, Awoniyi pressurised the opposition backline into giving away a corner, and even if he's not finding the net, his intensity, physicality and hunger will lead to aggregate returns for Forest.
"I'm really happy with the goal because it took me a long journey to get back to the Premier League," Awoniyi told BBC's Match of the Day. "That's why I'm very, very proud of myself, and of course I am grateful to God about it."
The attacker will surely cause problems for defenders, and has the opportunistic streak to capitalise -- as he demonstrated against the Hammers - on the chances that fall his way.
And now, Cooper has added Dennis to the mix, a forward who, like Awoniyi, has a point to prove in the top flight, but - unlike his new teammate -- had already shown before 22-23 that he knows how to find the net in the Premier League.
The attacker scored 10 goals and registered six assists last term, and at €14.80 million, has the potential to be one of the most astute signings of the summer.
Indeed, if he can repeat last season's efforts and keep Forest's heads above water, then the outlay will have been repaid emphatically.
Cooper will be hoping that Dennis returns to the Prem with the drive and tenacity he displayed last term, with Watford not appearing to experience the petulant side of a talent who once stormed off the team bus at Club Brugge after another player sat in his seat on the team bus.
Watford's attempts to lean on Nigerian talent to escape the drop ultimately ended in disappointment, but could Forest enjoy improved fortunes with a similar strategy this time around?
The East Midlanders have also picked up experienced free agent Cheikhou Kouyate, only six months after he played an influential role in Senegal's Africa Cup of Nations triumph.
The 82-cap midfielder arrives at the City Ground on the back of eight years in the Premier League with West Ham United and Crystal Palace, and his tenacity and presence could be valuable midfield assets this season.
Koulibaly - Senegal's latest Premier League scoring sensation?
Sadio Mane netted 111 goals in the Premier League before departing for Bayern Munich this summer, although he won't have bagged too many as spectacular as Koulibaly's debut goal for Chelsea in their tempestuous 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
Of course, the centre-back has been primarily recruited for his contribution at the other end of the pitch, but the magnificent technique he displayed in sending a right-footed volley beyond Hugo Lloris was evidence of the player's class.
"There can't be many defenders in the world who can score a goal like he did," ex-Tottenham striker Garth Crooks told BBC Sport. "This was a good home debut for Koulibaly, even though his side did concede two goals.
"Chelsea needed someone a little bit special to replace Antonio Rudiger and I think they may have found him."
The Nations Cup winner has certainly settled quickly at Stamford Bridge following his £34 million arrival from Napoli, forging an encouraging partnership with Thiago Silva even though they shipped two against Spurs in Sunday's London Derby.
Despite his display, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel -- perhaps still ruffled after his clash with Antonio Conte -- was encouraged by his centre-back's display.
"I was happy with everybody and Kali had some difficult and dangerous moments in the beginning, in the build-up, because I think the pitch was a bit dry," the German head coach told Chelsea TV, "but after that, in general, he's a top, top player and you see it."