Premier League Week 2: Team of the Week

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484145444 (1)Manchester City, Everton and Leicester were the star performers this weekend but which players also shined?

Goalkeeper: Tim Howard

The Everton man endured an inconsistent season last year as the Toffees struggled. Against Southampton on Saturday though, he and the Everton defence performed admirably to keep their first clean sheet of the season. Howard made 4 saves and looked solid when the Saints did come knocking.

Right Back: Matteo Darmian

The Italian has settled quickly in the United first 11 and looks as though he will solve one of the problem positions of last year. Two clean sheets so far suggest improvement defensively for United and Darmian has no doubt helped by being more defensively aware than the makeshift Antonio Valencia, as evidenced by his 7 tackles he made to keep Aston Villa’s pace filled attack quiet.

Centre Back: Vincent Kompany

The Sky Sports commentary team talked a lot about Kompany’s time in the gym in pre season, whatever it is, Kompany looked world class once more against Chelsea. He and Mangala formed a solid defensive partnership that didn’t allow Chelsea a clear cut chance until deep into the second half and frustrated Diego Costa throughout. The captain also  capped the performance with a deserved goal to seal the win.

Centre Back: Sebastian Bassong

I wouldn’t have predicted putting Bassong into the Team of the Week beforehand but here he is. Norwich picked up three points away from home which is usually crucial for newly promoted teams looking to stay in the division. Their opening weekend performance as well (including Cameron Jerome’s disallowed goal) suggest they have a chance of picking up points and if they can do that they have a chance of staying up. Bassong and the Norwich defence kept quiet the experienced premier league duo of Fletcher and Defoe, yes Sunderland were poor but take nothing away from Norwich they gave a good team performance here. Bassong dominated winning 7 aerial duels and keeping possession for his team with 90% pass completion.

Left Back: Aleksander Kolarov

The left back has not always been first choice under Pellegrini but if he keeps his form up there is no reason he shouldn’t keep Gael Clichy out the squad. Solid against Chelsea although he had little to do defensively with Willian not really offering width and Sterling keeping Ivanovic busy at the other end, Kolarov supported play well going forward and does pose a threat with his long range shooting ability, when called upon defensively he handled it with ease. An all round good display from the 29 year old.

Midfield: Fernandinho

Fernandinho was key in the dismantling of Chelsea this weekend. His positioning and his partnership with Yaya Toure frustrated the Chelsea attack throughout and he provided a great foil for the attack minded Toure to exploit space in behind Matic and Fabregas. It didn’t always pay off last season but this weekend it all worked perfectly for them, hopefully for Manchester City this isn’t simply a one off. Fernandinho broke up play as Chelsea struggled to find rhythm recording 6 tackles and also finishing off the game with a beautiful strike for 3-0.

Midfield: Ross Barkley

Played further up the pitch against Southampton but for the sake of fitting him in he’s central midfield in the team of the week. Barkley has had a great start to the season and hopefully it will continue. The summer break without international football has probably helped his performances which have delivered better end product so far. 2 goals in 2 unfortunately mean, if he continues, it won’t be long before the comparisons with Gascoigne and Rooney dominate the press again in the run up to England fixtures.

Right Attacking Midfield: Riyad Mahrez

What a start to the season for Mahrez. Top of the scoring charts and terrorising full backs Mahrez picked up where he left off against Sunderland last week. He is brave and wants to take players on but he also poses a significant goal threat always looking to shoot as well and he recorded 4 shots at the weekend. If Ranieri can keep his form going than a lot of the people who doubted his appointment will be proven wrong, for Mahrez it will be interesting to see if he can keep this up when/if Leicesters form starts to slide.

Central Attacking Midfield: David Silva

Another masterclass from the Spaniard. Talk beforehand from pundits and journalists of the importance of Yaya Toure overlooked the fact that it is often Silva who provides the goods when it counts, Silva was given time and space by Chelsea and punished them for it. My particular highlight was his through ball to Aguero in the first minute, carving open Chelseas defence, and was a sign of things to come as he dictated proceedings. 2 assists for the Spaniard show why it is so important for him to stay fit throughout City’s title challenge this season.

Left Attacking Midfield: Nathan Redmond

Much the same as Mahrez for Leicester, Redmond finished with a goal and posed a threat constantly going forward, looking to dribble and shoot when possible. With players like Hoolahan and Howson alongside him Redmond provides a much more direct threat and some pace to the attack along with Cameron Jerome. The lack of a proven goalscorer in the team suggests Redmond may need to keep up the contribution for Norwich to succeed this season.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian was unstoppable against Southampton and finished with 2 goals but that does not tell the full story. He dominated in the air, beat players with the ball on the floor, ran the channels, stretched the Southampton defence and overall proved too much to deal with. He has often been compared to the great Didier Drogba and this performance was proof that he has that potential. More performances like this and Lukaku should be challenging for the golden boot come the end of the season.

TOTW 2

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