It’s time to see who made Adam Smith’s Premier League Team Of The Week. He’s sticking to his ”we’ll just outscore the opposition,” philosophy and gone with another 3-5-2 formation absolutely brimming goals …
Joe Hart: Rating 8 (Crystal Palace 2-2 West Ham)
England’s number one has struggled this season, but had a great game on Saturday. A last second goal from Palace made it look as if West Ham were unlucky not to come away with all three points, but it was Palace who were the unlucky ones. The 30-year-old shot-stopper made seven brilliant saves; two more than any other goalkeeper at the weekend, to deny Palace a second home win in a row.
Even though Hart didn’t mention Michail Antonio’s name in his post match interview, he was very critical of the forwards decison not to bring the ball into the corner flag in the dying seconds. Instead Antonio gave the ball away cheaply which lead to Palace’s equaliser with the last kick of the game. Hart was left fuming and described his team-mate as very unprofessional.
David Luiz: Rating 8 (Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea)
A brilliant performacnce from the Brazil international in a must win game for Chelsea after both Manchester clubs won earlier on in the day. Luiz helped Chelsea get a clean sheet against the Cherries with three interceptions and three clearances, more than any other Chelsea defender. Not only was he good at the back, Bournemouth gave Chelsea’s defenders time on the ball which allowed him to play some beautiful balls through to the front men, turning defence into attack.
Sead Kolasinac: Rating 9 (Arsenal 2-1 Swansea)
A suprising stat for Arsenal this season, with all the flair players they have on show; is that Kolasinac has now had a hand in more goals for The Gunners this season than any other player, with three goals and three assists. Kolasinac grabbed a goal and an assist on Saturday against Swansea and was superb going foward and at the back. The Bosnian signed on a free transfer from Schalke, and looks like one of the best signings of the summer.
Phil Jones: Rating 8 (Man Utd 1-0)
I didn’t think any Man Utd player was brilliant on Saturday against Spurs, but the fact that they kept a clean sheet against a Spurs side who were on the front foot throughout most of the game, I have included Phil Jones in The Team of the Week. He was arguably United’s best defender and often the last line of defence on Saturday. Keeping him fit is crucial for United, and his importance was obvious when he went off injured at Huddersfield last weekend.
Ryan Shawcross: Rating 9 (Watford 0-1 Stoke)
Mark Hughes went with a back three against Watford, and although they rode their luck at times, Ryan Shawcross was immence. The Potters captain has struggled since coming back from injury, but was back to his best on Saturday at the heart of the back three.
Shawcross made five blocks, two more than any other player at the weekend, and put in a real captain’s performance which gave Stoke their first clean sheet in seven games since they bet Arsenal 1-0 at home in match day two. A must needed win for Stoke and Manager Mark Hughes as the pressure on him has been growing.
Leroy Sane: Rating 8 (West Brom 2-3 Man City)
West Brom set up to frustrate City, but once the blue half of Manchester got their noses in front, you wondered how many they would get. They needed a little magic, to get in front, and Sane produced a beautiful touch and finish for City’s first goal which was top-class. He later followed that up with a perfect cross to set up Sterling for City’s third and winning goal. Man City weren’t at their very best, but they continue their winning run and are still unbeaten in all competitions this season.
Demarai Gray: Rating 9 (Leicester 2-0 Everton)
The England under-21 international made just his second Premier League start since April, as Puel included the winger in an attacking first line-up since becoming City boss. Gray rewarded his new manager with a man-of-the-match display.
His bursting run from an Everton free kick led to Jamie Vardy’s opening goal and he scored the second after Jonjoe Kenny sliced his shot past Everton keeper Jordan Pickford. Puel said after the game that there is lots more to come from the English youngster, so we should see a lot more of him in an exciting front three for Leicester which also includes Vardy and Mahrez.
Riyad Mahrez: Rating 8 (Leicester 2-0 Everton)
Mahrez was allowed to operate in a more central role by Claude Puel, similar to how he used Hatem Ben Arfa at Nice. However, I think Puel wants him in this position as he doesn’t track back. He got the assist for Jamie Vardys opening goal and seemed to enjoy his new role.
He has been a different player since Shakesphere has left. Interesting to see Puel being a lot more attack minded, which is different to how Southampton played last year. If he finishes eight in the Premier League and reaches a cup final this year, like he did last year with Southampton, the Leicester City board and faithful will be happy.
Wilfried Zaha: Rating 8 (Crystal Palace 2-2 West Ham)
Zaha rescued a point in the 7th minute of injury time on Saturday as Palace came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with London rivals West Ham United at Selhurst Park. It was a frustrating afternoon for large periods for the Eagles talisman, but he kept going and once again popped up when his side needed him, finding a yard of space to earn the Palace a point deep into stoppage time.
Eden Hazard: Rating 8 (Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea)
The best player on the pitch and he was involved in almost every dangerous Chelsea attack. His drive and creativity constantly had Bournemouth on the back foot, and he scored the decisive goal that won the game for Antonio Conte’s side.
Game by game the Belgian is getting fitter and starting to show signs of the form he showed last season. Despite some pressure from Bournemouth late in the game, Chelsea looked much more solid at the back than we have seen in recent times.
Jamie Vardy: Rating 8 (Leicester 2-0 Everton)
Vardy scored his 6th goal of the season on Sunday afternoon and was a real handful for Jagielka and Williams. Claude Puel’s tactics showed that he understands how Leicester operate when at their best, and Vardy is going to enjoy playing under him. He went back to virtually the title winning defence, and used that defensive solidity to spring counters using the pace of Vardy, Mahrez and the brilliant Gray. This formula strangely seemed to have been forgotten over the couple past years.
Written by Adam Smith.
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