Team of the Week: Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United stars hit top form

This week there were goals galore in the Premier League and plenty of attacking players stood out as a result, but Benjamin Wills’ team of the week would back itself to outscore any opponent with that sort of firepower on the pitch.


Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)

This weekend’s Premier League action saw goals, goals and…more goals. Only one goalkeeper kept a clean-sheet in the eight games played on Saturday – David de Gea, as Manchester United leapfrogged rivals Manchester City to go top of the table.

De Gea, who has finally left seemingly endless stories of his proposed move to Real Madrid behind, is now making headlines for events on the pitch.

He made three saves to keep struggling Sunderland at bay for his first league clean-sheet of the season. Romero, his replacement earlier on in the campaign, has two more after the same amount of games.

Right-back: Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)

Arsenal’s resounding 5-2 win over Leicester will not be remembered for the defensive display of either side, but Arsenal’s full backs played like wingers.

Bellerin, on the Gunners’ right hand side, set up the first of Alexis Sanchez’s three goals with a squared ball across the box.

He also played a key role in the Chilean’s second as he rampaged down the right and picked out Mesut Ozil, who set up Sanchez with a wonderful floated pass.

Centre back: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)

With 36 goals scored this weekend, defenders have not been the talk of the tabloids. Van Dijk, however, was impressive and even managed to get on the scoresheet himself.

Van Dijk joined the Saints from Celtic for £11.5 million on transfer deadline day and went some way to paying back the fee Southampton invested in him.

He turned in a corner just 11 minutes into the match and was decent defensively as Swansea only managed to score one – a penalty.

Left-back: Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)

What Bellerin did as a marauding wing-back down Arsenal’s right side on Saturday, Nacho Monreal did twice as well over on the left.

Monreal got two assists to Bellerin’s one – the first of which being a low, inviting ball to Oliver Giroud who swept home with consummate ease.

The Spaniard then teed up Sanchez for his hat-trick goal from a simple throw-in. It was Nacho average display from the defender.

Right midfielder: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Believe it or not, before Saturday afternoon Sanchez had not yet scored this season. He now has three.

The tireless winger was sensational at the King Power Stadium, netting a triple as he became the first player in history to score a hat-trick in Serie A (for Udinese), La Liga (Barcelona) and now the Premier League.

He tapped in a low Bellerin cross for 1-0, got ahead of Kasper Schmeichel to nod in a second and, finally, he rounded up his flawless performance in front of goal with a long-range effort that beat Schmeichel at his near post.

Centre midfielder: James Milner (Liverpool)

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Being an established Premier league and England international, James Milner’s free transfer to Liverpool is arguably the most astute bit of business we saw this transfer window.

His display in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over former club Aston Villa demonstrated that, as he notched a goal and an assist in a much-needed victory for manager Brendan Rodgers and his side.

The goal was a tidy half-volley from the edge of the area that gave Brad Guzan no chance, and he was even more hopeless in his attempts to keep Daniel Sturridge’s first goal out, which Milner assisted with an intelligent lofted through-ball on the bounce.

Left midfielder: Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)

It is not unfair to say that Erik Lamela has been a let-down since his £30 million move to Tottenham Hotspur from Roma back in the summer of 2013, but his Saturday performance showed what he can be capable of.

Lamela provided the assist to Toby Alderweireld’s header via a free-kick and then scored himself with 11 minutes to go to complete the scoring at 4-1.

He scored from close range, but for a while it looked like he had overdone it, twisting and turning away from City defenders to work some space and finally fire in. Spurs fans could be forgiven for thinking he wouldn’t score.

Centre attacking midfielder: Juan Mata (Manchester United)

In another week in which Chelsea struggled, a player once cast aside by manager Jose Mourinho shone at Old Trafford as Manchester United rose to the top of the table.

Juan Mata had an assist to his name as the game entered first half stoppage time when a trademark defence splitting through-ball from Daley Blind picked out the 27-year-old on a sixpence, who then had the simple yet crucial task of laying the ball back to Memphis Depay, who could not miss.

Mata then got on the score sheet himself with an equally as simple finish, tapping in after Ashley Young assisted the assister from before.

Striker: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

Back with a bang is an overused saying, but an applicable one this week as Sturridge returned from his long-term injury with two goals against Aston Villa.

A well-timed volley past a despairing Guzan saw him get goal number one and a clever move with Philippe Coutinho ended with the striker grabbing his second of the match.

It might have even been three had Guzan not got fingertips to an effort right at the death. Sturridge has now scored in four consecutive Premier League games against Aston Villa.

Striker: Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa)

Aston Villa had a day to forget at Anfield, going down to a resurgent Liverpool, but Rudy Gestede might just look back on this one rather fondly, for purely selfish reasons.

The Benin-born forward scored a tap-in after some lackadaisical defending from Rodgers’ Reds with just under 25 minutes to play.

Sturridge restored Liverpool’s two goal cushion just 70 seconds after Gestede’s first, but a bullet header from the ex-Blackburn Rover with 20 minutes left set up a nervy finish.

Striker: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Leicester’s 2-5 humbling at the hands of Arsenal was a tad harsh on them and, on another day, Jamie Vardy would have been the star man, not hat-trick hero Sanchez.

The hottest striker in English football currently added another two goals to his ever-increasing tally to keep him well in Roy Hodgson’s plans.

Goal number one put the Foxes in front after 13 minutes – a well taken finish it was too – curling in off the post from a narrow angle and his second was rather similar, unfortunately this one only reduced the deficit slightly and did not earn any points for Claudio Ranieri’s side.

Vardy has now scored in four successive league games for the first time in his career.

Follow Ben at @BenjaminWillsSJ

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  1. Sanchez, Mata, Sturridge and Lamela in team of the week » Rent in London

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