Adam Smith is back with his eagerly anticipated Premier League Team Of The Week. He’s stuck to his favoured 3-5-2 formation again this week, so let’s see who made the cut …
Heurelho Gomes – Watford 2-1 Arsenal 8/10
David De Gea, Hugo Loris and Mat Ryan could all have the number one jersey after producing world class saves at the weekend, but ex-Spurs veteran Heurelho Gomes gets the nod. Arsenal were in total control on Saturday evening, and a second goal would have sealed the victory for the Gunners.
However, the 36-year-old Brazilian produced save after save to keep his side in the game; which led to a Watford equalizer, followed by a last gasp winner to hand The Hornets a dramatic win over an uninspiring Gunners team. This was Watford’s first win over Arsenal for 30 years and moves them up to fourth.
Joe Gomez – Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd 8/10
Disappointed but not surprised, that I am struggling to find a player to have in our team of the week from the biggest game of the weekend after a cowardly display by Man Utd. However, Joe Gomez’s performance stood out for me. The young versatile English player saw off Anthony Martial and later Marcus Rashford.
Gomez stood his ground well and acquitted himself excellently and gave Liverpool options going forward. Mourinho will see this as a point gained, and it could be crucial come the end of the season, but he is ruining one of the biggest games in English football with his tactics. Sean Dyche’s Burnley were even more attacking this season at Anfield and they got slated for their negative tactics.
Mamodou Sahko – Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea 8/10
Jurgen Klopp is desperate for a quality centre-back at Liverpool and yet he let Sakho leave so easily. Surely the big French defender could have done a job for The Red’s until January at least. Sakho’s composure on the ball is one of his best attributes, along with his dominance in the air and all-round aggression that every side in the Premier League needs.
Crystal Palace reverted to a 4-4-2 and went back to basics against a Chelsea side that looked as if they had an international break hangover. Sahko assisted Zaha for Palace’s first goal and inspired the Eagles to their first win of the season. A sloppy backheeled clearance late on almost gifted Chelsea an undeserved equaliser. Keeping Sahko fit is key to Roy Hodgson’s side’s survival hopes.
Lewis Dunk – Brighton 1-1 Everton 8/10
A moment of madness by Bruno in the 90th minute against Everton prevented the Seagulls from getting all 3 points on Sunday. Another fine defensive display from Lewis Dunk and more heroics from goalkeeper Mat Ryan should have given Brighton their third home win of the season.
Dunk kept Rooney quiet all game and was composed at the heart of his defence. The ex-England u21 international will be key to Brighton’s survival this season, but keeping him at the club may be Brighton’s biggest challenge in January, with rumours that Liverpool are set to come calling for his services.
Fernandinho – Man City 7-2 Stoke
The Brazilian international will never get the headlines that his more creative-midfield partners will get, but he is so essential to the way Man City play, it’s him who makes it all function.
The players in front of him are easier on the eye, but the ground that Fernandiho covers to stop City being hit on the counter-attack does not get valued enough. He covered every blade of grass again on Saturday, and rounded off his brilliant performance with a 30-yard-worldy.
Kevin De Bruyne – Man City 7-2 Stoke 10/10
Personally, I think Kevin De Bruyne is the best player in Europe at the moment. It’s been a while since I watched a game in England and was blown away by the level of performance from an individual, and I can only describe it as Football Porn!
It was another performance from De Bruyne that displayed just how crucial he is to City’s attack. He added three more assists to his tally, and he’s now been involved in 18 goals in his last 18 games, scoring three and assisting 15.
Pep Guardiola described his teams win over Stoke as his best performance to date.
Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace 2-1 Chelsea
Chelsea were 2/5 to win this game on Saturday, and Crystal Palace were coupon busters for so many people including myself. The international break couldn’t have come at a better time for Roy Hodgson as it meant he could work with a majority of his players on the training ground for a couple of weeks, and getting Wilfried Zaha back was a huge plus.
Zaha brings much needed quality, energy, goals and assists to the Palace team, and that’s what he provided on his return from injury on Saturday. Crystal Palace have a good run of fixtures coming up, and may look back at this game come the end of May as the turning point of their season. As for Chelsea, the Champions League may now become a priority for Conte, with Man City nine points clear of them already.
Tom Cleverley – Watford 2-1 Arsenal 8/10
The former Manchester United man will be remembered for his last gap winner on Saturday, but his all-round performance was excellent.
A 90% pass accuracy rate meant that Cleverley was at the heart of most of Watford’s attacking play and was a nuisance for the Arsenal midfielders throughout the game. He also provided excellent defensive contributions.
He shouldn’t be blamed for the Arseanl goal; Cleverley, probably the smallest man on the pitch was given the job of marking the giant Per Mertesacker, which ultimately lead to the big German scoring from an Arsenal corner.
Jonjo Shelvey – Southampton 2-2 Newcastle Utd 8/10
Rafa Benitez loves a sitting midfielder that plays the quarter-back roll. A player who controls the tempo of a game, playing all types of penetrating and long-range passes. He had it with Xavi Alonso at Liverpool and Toni Kroos at Real Madrid.
Shelvey has had an up and down season so far but when he plays, is fit, and not serving a suspension, he is a quality player. On Sunday, Shelvey was at the heart of every Newcastle attack and was involved in both their goals. With Eric Dier struggling to play that type of roll for England – Shelvey should be given the chance to add to the cap he got against San Marino a couple of years ago.
Newcastle are starting to find momentum now, and if they keep their most talented-midfielder on the pitch, he will create enough chances for The Geordies to stay up.
Gabriel Jesus – Man City 7-2 Stoke 8/10
Jesus scored his 5th and 6th goals of the season and put in another fearless display. With his unselfish runs to make space for his colleagues, his assists and his goals in every game, the Brazilian youngster is turning into the perfect all-round striker. The way Jesus is performing along with his team-mates, you would have to wonder where Sergio Augero’s future lies when he comes back from injury.
Tommy Abraham – Swansea 2-0 Huddersfield 8/10
A long-hard season is ahead of the England u21 International with the role that Clement wants him to play. He has been asked to play the lone-striker role, and with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson moving on, chances are going to be at a minimum.
Clement critised him early on for not holding up the ball well enough, but he showed a poacher’s instinct, good work-rate and composure in front of goal to grab his 3rd and 4th goals of the season. What he doesn’t lack, is attitude, and because of this I can see him getting 15 goals this season. As for Huddersfield, the honeymoon period is over with no wins now in 5.
Written by Adam Smith.
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