Team of the Week: Manchester City stars run riot, Everton impress, whilst Manchester United defender shines again

The opening week of the season saw some interesting and unexpected names take the headlines, but this weekend saw some of the Premier League’s biggest names guide their respective sides to victory. Whilst there a few standout performers further down the league, it was Mesut Ozil, Sergio Aguero and co who looked the most impressive on Sunday afternoon.

TOTW

Goalkeeper: Jack Butland (Stoke City)

This season is going to be huge for the England U21 international, with the chance to claim the No1 shirt at Stoke City, as well as putting himself in contention for a Euro 2016 spot for the national side.

A few good saves at White Hart Lane appeared to be immaterial until Stoke came back from 2-0 down, making his earlier contributions in the match crucial to Butland and his team-mates walking away with a well-earned point.

Right-back: Steven Whittaker (Norwich City)

Whilst Manchester United’s Matteo Darmian made every case to keep his spot in the TOTW line-up on Friday night, Steven Whittaker was a standout performer both offensively and defensively against Sunderland on Saturday.

Whittaker dealt with the pace and trickery of Jeremain Lens well at the Stadium of Light, and topped his performance off with a rare goal to put the Canaries 2-0 up, and well on their way to a Premier League victory.

Centre-back: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

The only man who does keep his spot is Chris Smalling, who, once again, put in an excellent shift at Villa Park on Friday night. He got his head to every cross, and made several big tackles and interceptions on the odd occasion Villa threatened Sergio Romero’s goal.

Since his red card at the Etihad late in 2014, Smalling has turned into United’s best defender and is surely putting himself in the box seat for a starting spot at Euro 2016 for England.

Centre-back: John Stones (Everton)

Whilst certain other Premier League players are busy training with the reserves due to a potential move away, John Stones put in a commanding performance at Southampton to remind Everton fans why he’s so valuable – and Jose Mourinho as to why he needs to stump up the extra cash.

Against one of the more physical strikers in the league, Stones gave Graziano Pelle no quarter and never looked in any sort of trouble as the Toffees ran away with their first victory of the season at St Mary’s.

Left-back: Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City)

With no outstanding performances at left-back on Saturday, Serbian star Kolarov left it late to put his name forward for a spot in this week’s team. He defended excellently, nullifying any threat from Chelsea down the left-hand side, and attacked excellently with City in complete control.

His deadly set-piece deliveries caused Chelsea plenty of issues, and he linked excellently with their new signing Raheem Sterling, as it clicked into place for City throughout the entire team on Sunday.

Centre midfield: Fernandinho (Manchester City)

The Brazilian was lucky to make it to half-time after an ugly elbow on Diego Costa saw him get away with just a yellow card. But Fernandinho was excellent alongside Yaya Toure, marshalling the Chelsea threat down the middle, controlling Cesc Fabregas, and ensuring a difficult afternoon for the usually calm Nemanja Matic. He topped it off with a fine strike for City’s third of the afternoon.

Defensive midfield: Etienne Capoue (Watford)

Whilst it never really happened for him at Tottenham Hotspur, Capoue reminded everyone of the talent he showed at Toulouse when making his home debut for Watford on Saturday.

Whilst the Hornets’ attacking stars failed to fire in a 0-0 draw with West Brom, Capoue was the general in the midfield, controlling the action and proving to his new supporters why Watford paid so much to bring him from White Hart Lane last month.

Centre midfield: Ross Barkley (Everton)

The promising England attacker has already matched his goal tally from last season, and looks to be on for another solid season with Euro 2016 looming on the horizon.

Barkley was influential as Everton were gifted plenty of room on the counter attack; he started the move for Lukaku’s opener before rounding the performance off with a cool finish, as Southampton toiled in the remaining minutes of the game. If he keeps that form up, he’ll make England’s squad for France next summer with ease.

Attacking midfield: Mesut Özil (Arsenal)

Nobody quite polarises opinion among football fans like Germany’s Mesut Özil has since arriving in England two years ago. Has he performed well at times? Yes. Has he lived up to his price? Debatable.

On Sunday at Crystal Palace, he showed more wizardry than Harry Potter after a Butterbeer, as the Gunners gained their first points of the season. He got one assist to his name, but could have had three or four had it not been for some poor finishing by his team-mates.

Striker: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Considering he was the league’s top scorer last season despite several injuries, it’s scary to think just how many he might get this campaign – unless you’re a Man City fan.

Aguero tortured a usually steady Chelsea defence, only to be thwarted on several occasions by the impressive Asmir Begovic. But some typical Aguero footwork did eventually lead to the opening goal, and the little Argentine continued to be a problem for Chelsea’s defenders all afternoon. He even ensured John Terry was subbed at half-time for the first time under boss Mourinho.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku (Everton)

Last week, another Everton striker took his place in the eleven, and Arouna Kone put in another solid performance this week, as the Toffees ran out 3-0 winners in an impressive performance against Southampton.

But it was the big Belgian Romelu Lukaku who shone, scoring the opening two goals and causing constant problems for a Southampton defence that was nowhere near as impressive as last season. Lukaku is now the top scoring Belgian in Premier League history, and supporters will be hoping for more consistency.

Who would be in your team of the week?

 

Follow @richjlaverty

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