Team of the Week: Southampton and Manchester City steal the headlines, West Ham crush Liverpool and Pardew’s Palace punish Chelsea
There are only two representatives from last year’s top four in our Team of the Week, as West Ham and Crystal Palace pulled off eye-catching results, Swansea continue to impress, and West Brom and Southampton earned their first wins of the season.
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (Everton)
Saturday’s evening kick-off was by no means a thriller, as Tottenham and Everton ground out a 0-0 draw, largely down to Tim Howard showing his 2014 World Cup form for the first time in a long while.
Everton’s American goalkeeper made eight saves at White Hart Lane to prevent Tottenham from picking up their first win of the campaign.
Unfortunately for Howard, the Toffees were not up to scratch at the other end, settling for another share of the spoils.
Right-back: Bacary Sagna (Manchester City)
Manchester City recorded their fourth win from four matches on Saturday, while also keeping their fourth clean sheet of the season.
Bacary Sagna kept Watford at bay for the whole 90 minutes, with the Hornets still to score following their Premier League return, and the French full-back also teed up Raheem Sterling for his first Manchester City goal.
Centre-back: Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion)
Despite Stoke City being reduced to nine men in the first half with two early red cards, they still managed 13 shots on goal. West Brom have just acquired Jonny Evans from Manchester United, but could look closer to home for a solid centre-back, as Olsson managed to ensure that only five of Stoke’s 13 shots were on target.
Solomon Rondon’s first goal for the club helped them to their first win of the season, while Olsson’s performance helped Tony Pulis’ Baggies get their second clean sheet of the season.
Left-back: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United)
Liverpool were not at the races during their 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the Hammers at Anfield this weekend, with Cresswell keeping them quiet for long spells. The full-back also had licence to roam forward, and his shot-cum-cross led to Manuel Lanzini’s goal after just three minutes.
West Ham’s ‘Hammer of the Year’ last season, Cresswell also bothered Simon Mignolet with a shot of his own, and was involved in numerous build-ups that could easily have led to even more goals for the east London outfit.
Right midfield: Sadio Mane (Southampton)
Southampton’s long-awaited first win of the season finally came on Sunday, with Sadio Mane putting in a stunning performance.
The Saints’ Senegalese midfielder, who has attracted interest from Manchester United this summer, contributed two assists, and also provided the cross that led to Dusan Tadic bundling in Graziano Pelle’s saved header.
With three goals for Ronald Koeman’s side, and Mane involved in all of them, there could be a lot more attention on him between now and Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Centre midfield: Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United)
West Ham’s first win at Liverpool since the Beatles were at top of the charts will go down in history, and it will be particularly remembered for a 22-year-old Italian on loan from Al Jazira, who was instrumental throughout.
Lanzini broke the deadlock with just three minutes on the clock in front of the Kop to shock all on Merseyside. Shock then turned into despair; Lanzini pounced on a dawdling Dejan Lovren and put a dangerous ball into the box that was poorly cleared into the path of Mark Noble, who made it 2-0 just before the half-hour mark.
Lanzini continued to pose a threat, and when Diafra Sakho made it 3-0 in injury time, West Ham fans had plenty to twist and shout about.
Centre midfield: Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa)
Scott Sinclair took all the spoils from Villa’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland, but Idrissa Gueye was the one who made the Villans tick. It was Gueye, in fact, who started the move that ended with Sinclair’s second of the afternoon. Gueye swept the play to the left-hand side after winning the battle in midfield, and Jordan Amavi’s low cross found the ex-Swansea winger, who tapped in for 2-1.
It was a similar story in the second half; Gueye, again, was pulling the strings in the heart of the midfield and found Sinclair on the left, whose cross should have been turned in by Micah Richards – only he will know how he missed.
Left midfield: Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace’s 2-1 win over champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was undoubtedly the story of the weekend, and Bakary Sako was the star of that show.
Sako scored Palace’s first and set up the second as Alan Pardew beat Jose Mourinho for the third time in his career, more than any other manager.
Cesar Azpilicueta initially cut out Sako’s chance before his goal, but the former Wolves winger steadied himself to make it 1-0. Radamel Falcao made it 1-1 soon after, but Sako cut Yannick Bolasie’s cross back across goal to Joel Ward, who put the Eagles back in the lead – one Chelsea would not recover from.Embed from Getty Images
Centre attacking midfield: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Raheem Sterling has wasted little time in proving his doubters wrong that he is worth the £49million City paid for his services. This weekend saw him net his first goal for his new club after causing newly-promoted Watford trouble all afternoon.
His goal came after being switched from the left of Man City’s attacking three midfielders to the central ‘number 10’ role behind Sergio Aguero, in a clever tactical manoeuvre from Manuel Pellegrini.
Striker: Graziano Pelle (Southampton)
While Mane did all the dog work making the goals at St Mary’s on Sunday, Pelle was instrumental in the chances ending up in the back of the net.
The Italian stallion opened the scoring with a finish from an acute angle to sweep Southampton in front just before half-time.
That was his only goal; however, the game’s third came from Tadic, who scored the rebound after Pelle’s initial header was saved by John Ruddy.
Striker: Andre Ayew (Swansea City)
Swansea’s quick-fire turnaround against Manchester United at Sunday tea time could, in simple terms, be put down to one man.
Obviously, it was a team effort, but as Andre Ayew headed in the leveller with just over an hour gone, and then wonderfully assisted strike partner Bafetimbi Gomis with an incredibly intelligent pass five minutes later, it is little wonder why he gets the plaudits here.
Sergio Romero had no chance with the nodded equaliser and could not keep out Gomis’ neat effort soon after, as Swansea kept up their impressive recent record against United.
Read more from Benjamin Wills here.
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