FA Women’s Super League Striker and Wales international Helen Ward picks her top performing players from the weekend’s Premier League action.
GK – Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield)
Huddersfield have been one of a few surprise packages and their defensive record is pretty impressive for a club who have never been in the Premier League before. Another clean sheet at the weekend and with 10 men against West Brom on Saturday the result was hard earned with a couple of exceptional saves by Lossl in the latter stages of the match that proved to be vital.
DF – Steve Cook (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth have surprisingly struggled in front of goal thus far and so keeping clean sheets will always prove useful. Not only did Cook do his duty defensively in a tough trip up north to Newcastle, but he also popped up at a corner to nick all three points for Eddie Howe’s men. His defensive partner Simon Francis was also exceptional but Cook earns his place in my TOTW due to the importance of his goal.
DF – John Stones (Manchester City)
I have sympathy for Stones and the way that plenty of fans and media alike have criticised him but as they say, he didn’t decide how much City should pay for him and he is just a young man with a lot of talent and potential trying to do his job. On Sunday against Arsenal he did just that. He was involved in all of City’s build up play from the back and I don’t remember seeing him lose possession once. In a Pep Guardiola side, that sort of ability and composure is important and he is really stepping up to the plate.
DF – Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)
A tricky fixture for Spurs at Wembley after their big win over Real Madrid last week as they lined up against a somewhat resurgent Crystal Palace side. Vertonghen and his defensive colleagues had to be on their game to thwart the threat of Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend and he did that with aplomb. Solid as a rock.
DF – Leighton Baines (Everton)
Arguably the third left back in this week’s team but they all deserve their place for different reasons. Baines isn’t necessarily in for his defensive work as he was part of a defence that conceded two against Watford but he was a catalyst for the Toffee’s remarkable comeback in what has been a torrid few weeks for the club. He stung the hands of Heurelho Gomes in the first half and set up Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s equaliser before keeping his cool to score the winner from the spot in added time. A tough season so far for him but he delivered the goods under serious pressure on Sunday.
MF – Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)
It has taken a while for Leicester’s star man to shine this season after what was a disrupted pre-season amid plenty of transfer speculation but he has found his form in the last few games and in turn, the Foxes results have also improved considerably. His touch and finish for Leicester’s second was a bit of a throw-back to their title winning season and he was a constant threat against Stoke on Saturday lunchtime.
MF – Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
He has taken a bit of stick after being shown up a little defensively in Rome last week but for me, he is still one of the best in the business when it comes to finding a team mate with a pass and he does so with frightening regularity. He was brilliant in a tough game against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United and was instrumental in all that was good for Chelsea. Of course, it helps having N’golo Kante beside him but doesn’t every great player need the help of his teammates?
MF – Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield)
Not the first time Mooy has featured in my team of the week and I am pretty sure it won’t be the last. Again he was everywhere for Huddersfield against West Brom and having someone of his talent and his work rate will have made going down to ten men that little bit easier. I wouldn’t be surprised to see bids from ‘bigger’ clubs for this man next summer.
MF – Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke)
A little magician with a wand of a left foot – when he feels like it. His lack of consistency is probably why he didn’t quite set the world alight at one of Europe’s top clubs but when he turns it on, he can be unplayable. His performance on Saturday was superb and he topped it off with a very well taken, and well deserved, goal.
FW – Mo Salah and Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Another two goals for Salah and a fantastic return to the team for Sane means I have to put the two of them in this week. Liverpool have been up and down to say the least but you can be that when they are ‘up’, these two will more often than not be at the heart of their attacking play. They linked up superbly and seem to have put the final nail in Slavan Bilic’s coffin as he left his post at a struggling West Ham on Monday.
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