Team of the week

There was a total of 30 goals scored in the Premier League this weekend. It was not just strikers who stepped up to the plate, many defenders – while maintaining clean sheets – proved themselves to be just as productive in front of goal. These are this week’s standout players.


Goalkeeper

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Bernd Leno (Arsenal)

Bernd Leno secured his second clean sheet of the season in Arsenal’s game against Manchester United. In a week in which ex-Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez conceded four goals, Leno’s first clean sheet since the opening match of the season seems more impressive and even more timely. Blocking shots from Mason Greenwood and Donny van de Beek, the keeper helped secure Arsenal’s first Premier League victory at Old Trafford since 2006.


Defenders

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Rayan Ait-Nouri (Wolves)

Teenage left-back Rayan Ait-Nouri netted the first goal for Wolves against Crystal Palace on his Premier League debut. His left-footed volley led the way to a 2-0 victory which pushed Wolves right up into the battle for top four. While he might still be learning, Ait-Nouri is certainly already showing a lot of confidence.

Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Kurt Zouma might be a defender but his goal tally this season is on par with Chelsea forward Timo Werner and midfielder Jorginho, who have each scored three Premier League goals this season. He netted the second of the Blues’ three goals against Burnley with a powerful header from a set piece in the 63rd minute

Gabriel (Arsenal)

Gabriel played an indisputable role in Arsenal’s victory over Manchester United. Never afraid of risk, he put himself in harms way to secure all three points and a clean sheet. Even after having received a yellow card and having been warned that another dangerous challenge would see him off the pitch, Gabriel remained clinical in the box in late moments of the game.

Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

A well-known figure in Manchester City’s defence, Kyle Walker marked his 100th Premier League appearance for the club by scoring the winning goal against Sheffield United. From his dominance in the right-hand side of the pitch to his successful shot from outside the 18-yard box, Walker is in top form.


Midfielders

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James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

James Ward-Prowse claimed two goals and one assist in Southampton’s 4-3 victory over Aston Villa. All eyes were on the birthday boy as he whipped in both his goals from free kicks outside of the penalty area. With age comes responsibility, and he did not shy away from that.

Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)

Youri Tieleman’s netted two of Leicester’s four goals against Leeds. He slotted in Vardy’s rebounded header and converted a penalty in stoppage time. Tieleman’s confident display quietened the noise that had been surrounding Patrick Bamford at the start of the match.

Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool)

Xherdan Shaqiri came onto the pitch in the 70th minute as a substitute in Liverpool’s game against West Ham. Shaqiri soon helped to break the 1-1 deadlock, assisting Diogo Jota in scoring the winning goal of the match with a pass through the Hammers’ line of defence.


Forwards

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Diogo Jota (Liverpool)

Diogo Jota was an impactful substitute alongside his Liverpool teammate Shaqiri. He made a great run into the box to net a winner for Jürgen Klopp’s team within 15 minutes of being on the pitch. This crucial goal moved Liverpool to the top of the table and allowed the team to equal a club record of 63 games unbeaten at Anfield.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

Jamie Vardy’s reputation must have proceeded him as Leeds feared leaving their own half in the first 45 minutes of the match. The 33-year-old was relentless all evening, taking advantage of a defensive error in the second minute of the match and grabbing an assist for the opener. He also committed to a diving header in the build up to the second, before eventually netting a goal for himself in the second half.

Callum Wilson (Newcastle)

Two goals from Callum Wilson secured Newcastle’s first win since the start of October. Everton, who were heading towards the top of the table, were stopped in their tracks. Wilson has now scored as many goals as Harry Kane and just three points now separates the Magpies from second-place Tottenham.

Follow Amarachi on Twitter @iamarachii

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