Team of the Week: Saints & Stoke men are in England form, but Arsenal & Everton provided the fireworks

Team of the Week

This week saw Arsenal once again reaffirm the notion that they can be title contenders this season, whilst most people’s favourites Manchester City struggled past Norwich. Everton were probably the most impressive side this weekend and have three representatives to show it, whilst Jack Butland continues to knock on Joe Hart’s door for England’s no.1 shirt.

Goalkeeper: Jack Butland (Stoke City)

The Premier League’s goalkeeper of the season just keeps on continuing to impress and must be making a real impression on England manager Roy Hodgson ahead of 2016.

Stoke held on to a 0-0 draw against Newcastle at St. James’ Park, with Butland making a string of impressive saves – six in total.

Moussa Sissoko was denied twice, Georginio Wijnaldum had a free-kick kept out, Ayoze Perez’s long ranger was palmed away and, most impressively, a header from Jamaal Lascelles somehow did not find the back of the net.

Right-back: Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)

Arsenal had a pretty routine afternoon in Wales, but without a superb bit of defending from Hector Bellerin, with some hesitant Bafetimbi Gomis attacking to boot, it could have been a closer contest.

Gomis looked nailed on to make it 1-0 to the Swans in the first-half, but Bellerin turned on the jets and caught up with the Frenchman and made a terrific tackle to deny the striker, making the Spaniard a Vine star in the process.

Centre back: Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

Who would have thought Laurent Koscielny would be a regular source of goals for Arsenal?

His strike against Swansea, albeit a highly controversial one, was his second in a week for Arsene Wenger’s title challengers after he also netted in the 2-1 win over Everton last Saturday.

He also contributed to his side keeping a clean-sheet, Arsenal’s fourth this month from six matches.

Left-back: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)

Chelsea’s miserable run of form shows no sign of ending, while Southampton continue to fly high; the Blues may well regret selling Ryan Bertrand.

Bertrand is doing his utmost to establish himself as England’s first choice left-back with Luke Shaw out injured and Kieran Gibbs being out of sorts, and this display in the south coast win over Bournemouth will do him no harm.

Steven Davis is on an uncharacteristic run of goalscoring currently and he scored again at St. Mary’s after Bertrand’s neat cross. Southampton also kept a clean-sheet with help from Bertrand’s defending.

Right midfielder: Gerard Deulofeu (Everton)

Gerard Deulofeu made himself an instant fans’ favourite at Goodison Park during his loan spell two years ago, but now that he has signed permanently his performances have been inconsistent.

Scoring a goal and assisting another two made his display in the 6-2 thumping of Sunderland very, very impressive though.

Deulofeu opened the scoring against the run of play when he slotted the ball under Costel Pantilimon with 19 minutes played.

Sebastian Coates, formerly of Everton’s fierce rivals Liverpool, scored an own-goal as a result of a superb ball in from Deulofeu and the ex-Barcelona winger also set Romelu Lukaku on his way with a great through-ball on the counter-attack.

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Centre midfielder: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace)

Much has been made of Manchester United’s goal drought, which has now extended to over five hours, but they could easily have lost at Selhurst Park had Yohan Cabaye managed to add to his superb display with a goal.

The 29-year-old, who shocked everyone when he signed for Crystal Palace for £10 million in the summer, caused the Red Devils bother for large periods before he was replaced by Mile Jedinak with ten minutes left.

It looked for all the world that he had scored with just 19 minutes left on the clock, but his shot went agonisingly wide and Palace only managed a point.

Left midfielder: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

Riyad Mahrez’s emergence as one of the finest talents in the league in 2015-16 would perhaps be the story of the season, if Jamie Vardy’s similar story did not outdo him.

Thanks to his two goals at the Hawthorns in Leicester’s 3-2 win against West Brom, he is now joint with the aforementioned Vardy with a combined assist and goals tally of 12.

Leicester needed a comeback win again after going behind and Mahrez levelled the score with a volley and then turned the game on its head as he made it 2-1 with a far post finish.

Centre attacking midfielder: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Early player of the season candidate Mesut Ozil turned on the magic again at the Liberty Stadium as Arsenal smashed Swansea 3-0.

Ozil contributed another two assists, and was involved in the other goal, as the Gunners kept the pressure on league leaders Manchester City.

Oliver Giroud first headed in a corner lofted in from the German, and Ozil also provided the cross that eventually led to Koscielny’s questionable effort, while Joel Campbell’s first Arsenal goal was too set up by Ozil via a low cross across the box.

Striker: Arouna Kone (Everton)

Arouna Kone’s transformation from the butt of Everton fans’ jokes to one of their main men is a bizarre one, but when he is banging in a hat-trick they won’t mind.

Kone made it 2-0 with an incisive goal from the edge of the box and he was back amongst the goals in the second half, first finishing off an easy-on-the-eye move and then nodding in his third after a genius cross from strike partner Lukaku.

His hat-trick goal was the 300th of this Premier League season.

Striker: Odion Ighalo (Watford)

Watford’s march up the table is making a mockery of anyone who tipped them for certain relegation at the start of the season.

Odion Ighalo is far and away the Hornets’ most important player, and his two strikes at home to Wes Ham took his season tally up to seven. He is the only Watford player to score more than one.

Ighalo turned in Nathan Ake’s pass to put the Yellows in the lead and he doubled his, and Watford’s, tally with number two just three minutes after the half-time break.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku (Everton)

Kone was the goalscoring machine at Goodison on Sunday, but Lukaku was impressive too as the pair struck up a superb double act.

Lukaku provided the pass for Kone’s first with a stylish one-two, scored himself when he rounded Pantilimon, and then delivered a world-class cross with the outside of his weaker left foot which Kone headed home.

The big Belgian would have had two goals to his name had Coates not got there in front of him to turn it into his own-goal, as Lukaku would have been left with an easy tap-in.

Read more from Benjamin Wills here.

Follow Ben at @BenjaminWillsSJ


2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Team of the Week: Saints & Stoke men are in England form, but Arsenal & Everton provided the fireworks | UK Business and Sports News
  2. Kone, Coutinho, Koscielny and Ozil in team of the week | UK News!

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