PREM TOTW: WEST BROM, FULHAM AND NEWCASTLE PLAYERS ALL MAKE THE SIDE THIS WEEK
Normally it’s one hell of a challenge to pick a goalkeeper, but for some reason this weekend the clean sheets just wouldn’t end and three shot-stoppers all had a case for being chosen.
Two usually calamitous defenders had stellar weeks which made them easy to select, a strike-force that would’ve been unthinkable this time last year are included and a certain Southampton midfielder that just can’t stop delivering superb set-pieces.
Here is GW10’s PL Team of the week:
On any other week Karl Darlow and Illan Meslier would’ve taken the goalkeeper spot but they’ve been pipped by West Brom’s Sam Johnstone based on the fact that a save he made in the first half was nothing short of world-class.
The Albion shot-stopper was rarely troubled by the Blades mis-firing attack only really having to palm clear a tame Oli McBurnie effort.
However, his leaping fingertip stop in the first half from an Oliver Burke header, that looked destined for the top corner, was extra-ordinary.
The Baggies first clean sheet and victory couldn’t have been achieved without Johnstone’s heroics in goal.
Often described as a disaster waiting to happen, Serge Aurier certainly makes Spurs fans nervous when he’s defending, but since the arrival of Matt Doherty, the 27-year-old has been superb and he kept up those calibre of performances at Stamford Bridge.
Not only was the Ivory Coast international imperious at the back keeping the usually lively Timo Werner and then Christian Pulisic quiet, but he also had Spurs best opportunity with a 25-yard strike that Edouard Mendy palmed away.
For a more in-depth look at his defensive display, Aurier won seven of his nine ground duels, three of his five aerial duels and five tackles, which was the most of any player on the pitch.
He’s certainly not the finished product, but Aurier has undoubtedly proved to Jose Mourinho how valuable he is after it looked as though he was heading for the exit door.
Not many defenders in world football can keep Jamie Vardy quiet but Joachim Andersen can most definitely add his name to that very minuscule list.
Fulham picked up a much-needed three points at the King Power stadium and Andersen, who had the armband in the absence of Tom Cairney, led by example.
Limiting Vardy to just 16 touches, the Danish defender was imperious in the middle of a Cottagers back three.
His display can be best summed up when he tracked the run of the Foxes number nine all the way to the by-line not allowing any cross to occur, leading to Vardy simply running the ball out of play.
Scott Parker’s defensive woes have been abundantly clear this season but if Andersen can deliver consistent performance like the one against Leicester, those problems may just disappear.
The Monaco version of Benjamin Mendy hasn’t quite been showcased very much since his move to the blue side of Manchester, but in the home fixture against Burnley, Mendy had the license to do what he does best, attack.
In the 5-0 triumph over Sean Dyche’s side, Mendy picked up his first City goal and a valuable clean sheet to go along with it.
The French full-back accurately fired home at the back post following an inviting cross from Kevin De Bruyne, of course, for City’s third and he also caused problems all afternoon for Matthew Lowton.
There is no doubt that Mendy is tremendous going forward, but the questions do still remain surrounding his defensive play which meant this was only his 7th appearance this season in all competitions.
With Nuno Espirito Santo seemingly preferring a back four as opposed to a back five, it’s placed Pedro Neto in a much more attacking role, one he is certainly thriving in.
Now playing firmly on the left-hand side of midfield as opposed to being fielded as a wing-back, Neto has two goals in his last two appearances and both are extremely similar goals.
Arriving late in the box, Neto was able to follow in a Leander Dendoncker header to give Wolves the lead against Arsenal.
Neto created three chances in the game and alongside Daniel Podence caused severe problems for the Arsenal backline.
Following the horrific injury to Raul Jimenez, a timeline for his return is unknown, but Nuno will be grateful knowing he has the back-up required to still fire in goals.
At the ninth time of asking, West Bromwich Albion finally earnt their first win of this season against fellow strugglers Sheffield United and they can thank Conor Gallagher for his crucial part in the victory.
The on-loan midfielder side-footed the ball past a wall of bodies from the edge of the area following an uncleared corner from the Blades.
Not only was Gallagher the match-winner but his performance in midfield was heavily influential combining with the creative flair of Matheus Pereira to move the Baggies up the pitch.
Now that Slaven Bilic’s side are out of the relegation zone following their win, he will be hoping they can kick on in their next fixture against Crystal Palace.
At this point conceding a foul around the edge of the box against Southampton basically means James Ward-Prowse will be on the scoresheet, and he was at it again at the weekend.
Although the Saints capitulated in the second half against Manchester United, the skipper once again showed his ability from a dead-ball situation.
In the first half Ward-Prowse planted a corner straight onto the head of Jan Bednarek and then ten minutes later he beat David De Gea with a perfectly placed free-kick.
With his goal contributions increasing alongside his leadership skills as captain, the 26-year-old, if he can remain fit, has to be a shoe-in for a spot in Gareth Southgate’s squad for next summer’s Euros.
Since the beginning of this season we’ve figured out that Ademola Lookman is not very good at taking penalties, but what he is good at is driving runs and finishing, two traits he got to show off at the King Power Stadium.
A powerful run from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa was precisely finished off by Lookman to help Fulham on their way to a 2-1 victory over Leicester City.
Kasper Schmeichel denied the man on-loan from RB Leipzig a second goal later in the game, but he still continued to be a constant threat while also doing his defensive duties when Fulham came under pressure.
The 23-year-old is one of those players that when they get going, they are simply a joy to watch, and if Lookman can turn his fancy dribbling into more goals and assists, Fulham may just stay up.
After some low-scoring performances from Manchester City in the Premier League, they returned to their free-flowing attacking best against Burnley, with Riyad Mahrez at the heart of it.
Netting his first hat-trick since 2015, Mahrez was virtually unstoppable at the Etihad.
The Algerian international got on the scoresheet twice in the first half with his trademark left-footed curling efforts into the far corner, before completing his hat-trick in the second 45 by heading home a Phil Foden cross.
Without question City have the best-attacking depth in the league, but Pep Guardiola certainly likes rotating to his squad, so despite the three goals don’t be surprised if Mahrez is on the bench for the next Premier League fixture.
2020 really is mental. A worldwide pandemic happened, horrific wildfires in Australia, and Joelinton delivering an all-round wonderful performance for Newcastle.
£40m was the fee paid by the Magpies last summer and 494 days later he put in undoubtedly his best performance in a black and white shirt at Selhurst Park on Friday evening.
The 24-year-old used his body magnificently to shield the ball before feeding Callum Wilson to score late on and then in injury-time he added a rare goal of his own via a deflection following a fast break.
It looked as though Joelinton would struggle for game time when Wilson arrived on Tyneside but the pair have linked up well recently and maybe the former Bournemouth man can be the catalyst to turn the Brazilian’s Newcastle career around.
Many people, me included, raised their eyebrows when Edinson Cavani joined Manchester United, but the 33-year-old has brought his goalscoring pedigree to the Red Devils and firmly showed that class is permanent on the South coast.
Despite only playing for one half, Cavani was the game-changer for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side against Southampton, inspiring one hell of a comeback from two goals down.
The Uruguayan forward had a mix-up with his boots before coming on but it was with his head that he found the net twice, while also setting up Bruno Fernandes for United’s first goal in the turnaround.
With Marcus Rashford more effective coming in off the left and both Mason Greenwood & Anthony Martial struggling for form, Cavani has to be a certain starter for United in the next few weeks.
In Fulham’s 3-2 defeat to Everton, Bobby Decordova-Reid played as a lone striker and also scored a sublime goal, yet in the next game against Leicester City he was deployed as a right-wing-back.
An odd decision when the line-ups were first revealed but one that ultimately paid off for Scott Parker as the former Cardiff man put in a great shift.
Parker hasn’t had the best of luck with the back five, conceding first in all but two Premier League games this season before the game against the Foxes.
However, if you can obtain a lead the defence can become a brick wall as the backline were able to keep Leicester off the scoresheet until the 86th minute.
The Fulham boss made the right substitutions at the right time and guided Fulham to a famous victory up north.
Now out of the relegation zone following the win, Fulham faithful will be hoping the players can use this performance to inspire them to more victories with Parker at the helm.