PREM TOTW: FULHAM, BURNLEY AND WEST HAM PLAYERS ALL STAR IN THIS WEEKS SQUAD
In the opening weeks of the season, many players haven’t quite hit the standards they set themselves from last season and it could be argued that Nick Pope is one of those names, but he stepped up massively in the win over Crystal Palace.
Pope ensured the Clarets defence remained organised and disciplined throughout the game, with victory moving them up to 17th.
Alongside this, Pope made two crucial saves in the second half, the first was bravely closing down Michy Batshuayi’s effort on goal and was followed up by another sprawl at the feet of a Palace attacker, this time Christian Benteke.
If Pope can continue to make these brave stops then Burnley will undoubtedly be back to their solid best.
After eight games played, Burnley finally have their first win and it was executed in typical Burnley fashion with captain Ben Mee leading by example to spur his side on to three points and a clean sheet.
The early goal from Chris Wood set the tone early on for Sean Dyche’s side and their defence was under pressure immediately.
Mee won four of his five aerial duels, made four interceptions and seven ball recoveries in an impressive 90-minute display which showed exactly what Burnley are best at.
It may not work every week but the Clarets will be happy that there’s still evidence of their style of play working and the defence will take huge confidence from the clean sheet as well.
Many people’s first thought when Eric Dier’s name is mentioned is for his ruthless tackle on Sergio Ramos for England, but after his defensive display against Manchester City, Spurs fans in particular will remember this.
In last season’s home fixture, which Spurs also won 2-0, they were extremely lucky, however this time around the defence was magnificent and Dier was at the heart of it.
City’s forwards were limited to spaces in the Spurs box and Hugo Lloris was only really troubled by a late Ruben Dias header as Mourinho’s side earned their third PL clean sheet of the season.
If Dier can maintain this level of defensive grit, and the injury that forced off his just as impressive centre-back partner Toby Alderweireld isn’t long-term, Spurs are a shoe-in as title challengers.
As the last surviving member of Liverpool’s regular back four, Andy Robertson has an awful lot of pressure on his shoulders at least for the next few weeks, but against Leicester City he played with real class and quality.
The Scottish international didn’t put a foot wrong defensively for Liverpool, an area where some critique his game.
He also provided another assist for his ever-growing tally, crossing precisely onto the head of summer signing Diogo Jota.
With the slightly more defensive James Milner seemingly now playing in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, the attacking responsibilities will be heavily on Robertson, and so far, he is delivering.
After an avoidable red card against Southampton and a poor performance against Manchester United, Lucas Digne looked back to his best following the international break against struggling Fulham.
Carlo Ancelotti set up Everton with a free-flowing back five with Digne on one side and surprisingly Alex Iwobi on the other side and it was to great effect in the first 45.
The French left-back delivered pin-point crosses into the paths of Dominic Calvert-Lewin & Abdoulaye Doucoure respectively.
In the second half it was a different job for Digne as Fulham grew into the game but the 27-year-old stood firm and helped the Toffees to their first win in four games.
A job that often goes under the radar is a holding midfielder who can screen in front of the defence doing all the dirty work and that is exactly what Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is for Tottenham Hotspur.
The Dane arrived in the summer from Southampton for £15m and since moving to North London has played the most minutes of any Spurs player this season.
His job in the game against Manchester City was to nullify the threat of Kevin De Bruyne and while doing that effectively, he also had 94% pass accuracy, seven ball recoveries and made five tackles, the most of any player on the pitch.
Spurs have been crying out for a gritty holding midfielder and now they finally have one who embodies exactly what Mourinho wants from his players: hard-work, commitment and dedication.
Fulham have severely struggled since their promotion to the Premier League, but some of their players have shined in games and this week it was the turn of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Despite only playing for half an hour, the midfielder on-loan from Chelsea did more in that time than any Fulham player that completed the 90 minutes.
Immediately he was a physical force and threat against Everton and combined well with Aleksandr Mitrovic to win a penalty that in typical Cottagers style, was missed.
Loftus-Cheek continued pushing though and got his reward a few minutes later, directing Ademola Lookman’s effort goal wards to drag Fulham back into the game.
Scott Parker’s team fizzled out in the end, but they were much more threatening when the 24-year-old was on the pitch.
With Allan & James Rodriguez getting the higher praise from Everton’s triple swoop of signings in the summer, Abdoulaye Doucoure has gone slightly under the radar, but he showed his quality in the game against Fulham.
Alongside the defensively minded Allan, Doucoure was given the opportunity to roam forward a bit more than normal and he showed his goal-scoring pedigree.
The former Watford man burst into the box to head past Alphonso Areola following a fast break from Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
In the second half, all of the Everton players, including Doucoure, showed the opposite of their first half display and sat back to defend their lead as a cohesive unit.
It’s definitely fair to say Dominic Calvert-Lewin missed playing with Richarlison as the Brazilian’s return to the team following a suspension was greeted by a brace from the Everton frontman.
Just 42 seconds into the game with Fulham, Calvert-Lewin bundled home from Richarlison’s cross with some sharp movement to slip between the defenders.
The 23-year-old then showed his penalty box prowess to convert from Lucas Digne’s cross and would’ve had a first half of hattrick had he remained onside following a pass from James Rodriguez.
Unsurprisingly, Everton’s return to winning ways see’s Calvert-Lewin find the back of the net, two goals that took him to the top of the golden boot standings.
I’m not even sure Harry Kane can be classed as an attacker during the game against Manchester City as the England captain was virtually everywhere.
He was able to assist Giovanni Lo Celso for his first Premier League goal 35 seconds after the Argentine was introduced, but there was so much more to Kane’s game on the day.
Defending for his team one moment, bursting forward to give Spurs a vocal point in attack the next.
In total Kane drew six fouls in the game, most of which were earnt with his back to goal trying to bring his teammates into play.
The way Kane has evolved his game under Jose Mourinho is a huge part of why Spurs have rocketed to the top of the Premier League and how you can now consider him not just a complete striker but a complete footballer.
I have to be honest I didn’t ever think this day would come, but Sebastien Haller was everything West Ham needed him to be in the absence of Michail Antonio.
To say the Ivory Coast international has struggled since his move from Eintracht Frankfurt would be an understatement, but the injury to Antonio has presented a huge opportunity for Haller, one he most certainly took at Brammall Lane.
Ten minutes into the second half, Haller sent a rocket flying past Aaron Ramsdale and into the top corner which secured all three points for the Hammers.
Tomas Soucek should’ve buried his chance in the first half which would’ve given Haller an assist, following a delightful cushioned header.
West Ham are expecting to have Antonio back in the next few weeks but Haller as an option off the bench could now be seen as more threatening than what it once was.
It just had to be him didn’t it, it couldn’t have been anybody else. Jose Mourinho delivered a tactical masterclass against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to fire Spurs to the top of the league.
The low defensive block worked to great effect for Spurs and every single player gave 110% and showed exactly what Mourinho had told them to do.
On top of that, Mourinho made the decision to introduce Giovanni Lo Celso for Tanguy Ndombele for more energy in midfield a decision that an immediate impact.
Lo Celso made a surging run from midfield and scored with his first touch on the ball, another example of a superb decision from Mourinho.
Something that Mourinho seems to have perfectly implemented at Spurs is a precise game-plan for each fixture and the result against City just further echoes that.