PREM TOTW: THIS WEEKENDS STAR PLAYERS
This weekend had a lot of games and even more goals. Here is our Premier League Team Of The Week.
Manager - Dean Smith
This one was quite an easy one, any team that can score seven goals against the Premier League champions deserves this accolade and Dean Smith set up his team superbly.
The free-roaming nature that Smith gives Jack Grealish always causes problems for their opponents and adding the creative spark of Ross Barkley to that, meant Liverpool were having to mark two players who like finding the gaps in the opposition.
Fully knowing that Liverpool would score, Smith didn’t set up Villa to defend, instead making them push forward and play on the counter-attack, taking advantage of Liverpool pressing higher up the pitch to find the gaps and keep scoring. Albeit they were helped by three fluke deflections, but it was a fantastic management display from Smith.
Ederson – GK
This may seem like an odd placement as the Brazilian shot-stopper was the reason City dropped points at Elland Road on Saturday, but it would’ve been way worse had it not been for three tremendous saves.
The first two came in the latter stages of the first half. Ederson stood tall and expertly saved efforts from Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling. Following his mistake for Rodrigo’s equaliser, most keepers would have had their confidence knocked and be more likely to make another mistake, but not Ederson.
Instead, he pulled off a world-class fingertip save from a stooping header by Rodrigo and earned City a hard-fought draw.
Aaron Creswell - LCB
A team changing to a back five isn’t that much of a rarity anymore and normally means a slight change in position for a full-back. They will either be converted into a wing-back or come inside to fill one of the three centre-back spots and for Aaron Creswell it’s the latter and he’s adapted brilliantly.
West Ham put in a superb performance against early-season high-flyers Leicester and Creswell was at the heart of it. First off-putting in a brilliant cross onto the head of Michail Antonio and launching the ball forward for Pablo Fornals to run onto and double the Hammers lead.
Not only was the 30-year-old integral for West Ham going forward, but he also put in a shift at the back, clearing everything that came at him. Leicester, who barely troubled Lukasz Fabianski’s goal, put five past Manchester City in their previous game, highlighting just how well the Irons defended at the weekend.
Yerry Mina – CB
Despite conceding two goals in Everton’s comfortable 4-2 win over Brighton, Mina didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon. The Colombian international has struggled in places at Goodison Park since his move there in 2018, but if he can put in more performances like the one on Saturday, he’ll be a definite starter for the rest of the season.
Alongside his defending, he also got on the end of a James Rodriguez free-kick to head home Everton’s second and late on in the game when the Toffees were comfortably ahead, the 26-year-old put his body on the line twice in quick succession, to deny both Leandro Trossard & Neal Maupay.
With the arrival of Ben Gibson from Norwich, it seems one Everton centre-back will likely have to make way, but after this performance it would be a strange decision to take Mina out of the team.
Kurt Zouma – RCB
Not everything has been plain sailing for Chelsea so far this season despite the millions spent in the transfer window. The problems have mostly been appearing in defence, even with veteran signing Thiago Silva looking shaky and not one of the other four centre-backs have nailed down a guaranteed spot in the starting XI.
Kurt Zouma partnered Silva in Chelsea’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace and barely let Palace near the Premier League debuting Edouard Mendy, limiting Roy Hodgson’s side to just four shots. Zouma was dominant in both boxes, heading just wide from a corner early in the second half, but there was no stopping him seven minutes later. Zouma powerfully rose above countryman Mamdou Sakho to head in Chelsea’s second.
With this performance, Zouma will have given himself a very good chance of being the one to partner Silva going forward for the Blues.
Alan Saint-Maximin – RM
No one can doubt that Allan Saint-Maximin is nothing short of mesmerizing on the ball, his direct dribbling and sheer pace make him Steve Bruce’s most creative player. The only criticism for the Frenchman is his end-product, but against Burnley that was not a problem at all.
Despite Callum Wilson having only been at the club for a few months, it seems he has formed a lethal partnership with Saint-Maximin. The former provided the assist for the Frenchman who twisted the Burnley backline inside out before striking the ball past Nick Pope.
Saint-Maximin got another opportunity to showcase his blistering pace sprinting past Charlie Taylor to cross for a simple tap-in for Wilson. The 23-year-old was virtually unplayable all afternoon and if he can stay fit all season Newcastle will benefit greatly.
James Rodriguez – CM
Carlo Ancelotti has completely rejuvenated Everton this season with three instrumental signings at the core of the team. Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré have brought some much-needed composure to the Everton midfield, while James Rodriguez has added that little dose of quality the Toffees have been crying out for.
Being directly involved in three goals - two goals and one assist - the former Madrid man was at his very best against Brighton causing problems for the Seagulls throughout the game. The Colombian makes up for his lack of pace with his superb dead-ball delivery and eye for a pass making everything he does look so effortless.
If he can avoid injury there is no doubt that Everton can push the big six for a European place, possibly even more.
Pablo Fornals – CM
Following his instrumental performances in the U21 European Championships helping Spain lift the trophy, West Ham looked as though they’d signed the next big thing in 2019, but it hasn’t quite gone that way in East London.
The 24-year old has yet to make a huge impact on Hammers fans and has often been criticised for not delivering the same sort of performances that they saw in the Euros. However, at the King Power on Sunday he delivered and more.
Fornals was part of the hard-working midfield, while also showing his quality going forward. He picked the ball out of the sky with an unreal first touch, before calmly finishing past Kasper Schmeichel for the Irons second and then provided a delightful disguised pass for Jarrod Bowen to get West Ham’s third.
If the Spaniard can keep up performances like this, he may be the creative spark that was last seen by Hammers fans with Dimitri Payet.
Ben Chilwell – LM
Premier League debuts can often go one of two ways and luckily for Ben Chilwell, it went very well. The natural full-back practically played as a winger all afternoon, often being high up the pitch at the back post when the ball was on the other side, or providing an overlapping run when the ball was on his flank.
The English International made three key passes in the game, the most of any player at Stamford Bridge. He opened the scoring early in the second half, running onto the ball and smashing home for a debut goal and then placed a cross directly onto the head of Kurt Zouma, giving the former Leicester man an assist and goal on his Chelsea Premier League debut.
The Blues have missed that attacking threat on the left since Marcos Alonso lost form, but now they may just have it back in one of their summer signings.
Jack Grealish – CAM
There is absolutely no doubt that Jack Grealish is the best player at Aston Villa, practically single-handedly keeping them in the Premier League last season. But now he has players around him just as talented in Watkins and shock new loan signing Ross Barkley.
The Villains skipper was directly involved in five of the seven goals scored against Liverpool, with two goals and three assists. He was in his prime on Sunday evening and finally having other quality players around him, is bringing the absolute best out of the homegrown talent.
If Villa can stop leaking goals at the back, we may just be looking at a team not just content with staying in England’s top flight but really challenging for silverware.
Harry Kane – RS
Harry Kane and Heung Min Son have been running the show for Spurs so far this season, combining for all five goals against Southampton and they ran riot again at Old Trafford each getting a brace and an assist for each other.
Either one could have been in the team of the week, but it was Kane’s intuitive quick thinking that led to Son’s first. A quick free-kick from the England captain released the South Korean who finished calmly past David De Gea. The latter then turned provider, squaring the ball across to Kane for a simple finish and the annihilation was completed when Kane emphatically struck home a penalty for Spurs sixth.
If Mourinho can keep both of them sharp and fit, Spurs will have one hell of an attack on their hands this season and that’s without Gareth Bale in the mix.
Ollie Watkins – LS
The Championships joint top-scorer from last season has yet to truly justify the hefty £33m price tag that Aston Villa paid to Brentford, that was until he scored a perfect hat-trick in 39 minutes against the Premier League Champions.
He was virtually unstoppable the entire time he was on the pitch, firstly capitalising on a Liverpool mistake to get his first goal in the Premier League. His second, definitely the best of his three, picking up the ball on the left before running powerfully at the retreating Joe Gomez and then cutting inside and releasing a cannon into the top corner. To cap it off a free header at the back post following a cut-back from a free-kick, completed the hat trick.
After purchasing two strikers last season who ultimately didn’t deliver it looks as though Dean Smith finally has his goal scorer.