The ‘Football-Talk Big Six’ Team of the Weekend: Game-Week Two

By on August 28, 2013

Game-week two of the new Premier League season brought with it the first meeting between two of the big boys: Manchester United and Chelsea. While the match was about as explosive as a fireworks night in a monsoon, it held within it so many intricate sub-plots that there was plenty for fans and pundits alike to fill their boots with.

Indeed, it was a low scoring affair overall this weekend, with only Arsenal victorious by more than a one goal margin. The Gunners continued their brisk march towards a recovery from that most shocking of starts last week against Villa, and their 3-1 win away over Fulham was a perfect remedy alongside a resounding 5-0 aggregate win in the Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahçe.

Man City’s 3-2 defeat to Cardiff was undoubtedly the game of the weekend; with Manuel Pellegrini’s new side suffering from a disturbing lack of centre-back cover for the injured Vincent Kompany, and an enormously spirited display from the newly promoted Welsh team.

Here is ‘The Big Six’ Team of the Weekend for Game-Week Two,

Simon Mignolet, Goalkeeper, Liverpool

Mr Mignolet finds himself in a second successive Team of the Weekend after yet another solid display between the sticks for Liverpool. While there was no need for a repeat of his opening day heroics against Stoke, his contributions in the 1-0 win over Aston Villa helped maintain Liverpool’s 100% record in the Premier League. Reina’s exit to Napoli looks less and less damaging as the weeks go by.

Branislav Ivanovic, Defender, Chelsea

The irrepressible Serb is known for his dependability and swashbuckling antics at the back for Chelsea. While always likely to pop up with a goal, it was his solidarity that earns him a place in the Team of the Weekend, with Chelsea coming away from Old Trafford with a hard earned point.

Always ready to aid an aging John Terry at the back, he was quite adept to chasing down Danny Welbeck on the right, and ensuring Jose Mourinho’s famous defensive tactics were shown in full force on Monday night.

Bacary Sagna, Defender, Arsenal

Playing as an emergency centre back due to Laurent Koscielny’s suspension, the French full-back demonstrated his useful malleability at the back with an assured performance in the 3-1 derby win against Fulham. With speculation rife over the possibility of new defensive signings for the Gunners, ‘Bac’ accredited himself well in this unfamiliar role.

Gary Cahill, Defender, Chelsea

Gary Cahill continued his powerful start to the new season with another solid performance against the Champions at Old Trafford. In an all English centre-back pairing, Cahill shone ahead of his esteemed colleague, John Terry, with a series of crucial blocks, interceptions, and tactical defensive plays.

His pile driver from way out was a clear highlight in what was otherwise a rather dismal attacking match-up between the two giants of the game. Cahill’s presence was key in ensuring that 0-0 final score, and with it, a decent point for the Blues.

Jose Enrique, Defender, Liverpool

The bulky left-back sent out a message to new Liverpool signing, Aly Cissokho on the weekend, with an energetic performance, culminating with an assist for Daniel Sturridge for the only goal in the 1-0 win over Aston Villa. Cissokho, a loan signing from Valencia, will not be guaranteed a first team birth with the presence of Enrique, especially if the Spaniard continues to provide such a fluid attacking outlet for the free-flowing Anfield outfit.

Andros Townsend, Midfielder, Tottenham

After keeping his place in the Spurs starting XI following his devilish performance in the first leg Europa League qualifying victory over Dinamo Tbilisi in Georgia, Townsend continued his hot streak, winning a penalty for Roberto Soldado to score the only goal in the win against Swansea.

The match-winning spot-kick was a just reward for the Englishman’s efforts, who this week earned his first call-up to the senior England squad. Townsend tore at the Swansea defence all afternoon; giving Spurs boss further food for thought, as wingers remain the main talking point among the echelons of the North London club.

Aaron Ramsey, Midfielder, Arsenal

The much maligned Welsh midfielder continued his fine start to the 2012-13 season with a solid display away to Fulham. The 22-year-old has been showing his worth at the club amidst the transfer cloud that hangs over the Gunners; and his goal scoring exploits against Fenerbahçe over the two legs have earned him rave reviews. His inadvertent assist for Olivier Giroud’s opener on Saturday was the icing on the cake on the day for the midfield man, who ran the show, and is well on the way to proving his detractors wrong.

Michael Carrick, Midfielder, Manchester United

Carrick’s cultured midfield talents were recognised last year after he was shortlisted for Barclays Premier League Player of the Year; and the England man hasn’t let a summer of relaxation slow his highly tuned, footballing brain. Despite the low entertainment value of United’s draw on Monday against Chelsea, Michael Carrick took the opportunity to show off his passing and overall vision in the largest of stages. His performance earned the praise of former Arsenal defender, Martin Keown, who wrote in the Daily Mail,

Michael Carrick impresses me more and more each time I see him.

“He is punishing with his passing, often playing balls right down the middle of the pitch into feet. Carrick is much more confident these days.

“If there is a pass on, he does not turn his back on it like in the past. He can play passes with his left foot, his right foot, the outside of the foot. He’s got everything.”

Daniel Sturridge, Striker, Liverpool

The man with swagger, Daniel Sturridge, cannot stop scoring. Now with eight goals in his last seven Premier League games, it was he who came up trumps once more on the weekend, with the match-winning strike against Aston Villa. The England man is making his case strongly to national team coach, Roy Hodgson, and it would take a brave man to bet against Sturridge continuing his goal scoring streak, especially with the likes of Coutinho and Gerrard pulling the strings in the Liverpool midfield.

Lukas Podolski, Striker, Arsenal

The German attacker bagged two goals in the win against Fulham on Saturday, ensuring the Gunners returned to form after the previous weekend’s calamities. Easing the pressure off of Arsene Wenger, the 28-year-old was a thorn in the Cottagers’ side all afternoon, showing the Arsenal boss that he is a decent asset for the season to come.

Wayne Rooney, Striker, Manchester United

The man of the moment, Wayne Rooney, put in a consummately professional performance against suitors, Chelsea on Monday. Despite failing to break the deadlock, his was a show of endless running, tireless enthusiasm, and dangerous forward play.

He had the most promising chances for the champions, and his brilliant tackling of speed-demon, Ramires down the left in the second half put paid to any concerns about his fitness, attitude and footballing appetite.

The clock is ticking for Wayne to make his decision; United or Chelsea? Judging by the performance on Monday, and the United fans’ reaction to it, surely the future remains Red for England’s golden boy?

What do we think? Have I missed a crucial cog in the Team of the Weekend? Who is your ‘Big Six’ player of the weekend? Let me know in the comments below!

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10 Comments

  1. SP

    August 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Why are Liverpool included in a Big Six – Everton finished sixth last season, Liverpool didn’t finish in the top six placings.

    Indeed, why is the whole thing done as a ‘Big Six’ in the first place? A Big Five would be understandable, given Spurs have finished n the top 4 twice in the alst four seasons, and only narrowly missed doing so in the other two seasons. But Liverpool were not only not in the top six last season, but were not even close to Spurs in fifth. The whole thing seems to be designed to keep up the fallacy that Liverpool’s position hasn’t sunj so low as it has.

  2. askar

    August 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    wa wa, they are refern d current top six

  3. Dan Yiddo

    August 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I’m agreeance with SP and think Newcastle have more of a right to be considered big 6 than LFC as they at least got 5th place this decade!
    Christ almighty,we could include Leeds Utd or Preston North End with your illogical logic.

  4. Agesin oluwaseun

    August 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Who says liverpool fc will not pull for top four places this season?infact liverpool will be the underdogs or even close to winning the premier league if other top teams sleep up…liverpool are on form now considering the fact that since january,the points earned by liverpool was the second highest behing man utd.rivals,watch out and be careful…

  5. Shesco(r)

    August 28, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Buying players with names doesn’t win u anything these days especially in the premier league but the team work…all the teams that have overspent in this transfer window talking about chelsea,man city and tottenham performed less expected during the weekend.even both tottenham wins so far this season came from penalty spot.stop ridicule liverpool fc,liverpool will pull surprises this season

  6. Santoswezzy

    August 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Mind u Shesco dnt ever include chelsea in ur argument pls after all dis chelsea u are mentioning ar title contendance and by d way liverpool supose nt 2 b listed in dis top 6 of a thing what does d have 2 prove dis season there 2 win in pirmere league and 1 win 4rm league cup are all narrow excape so d should nt even be mentioned when newcastle and tottanham are there.

  7. Sebourn

    August 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I believe you missed the write-up for Gary Cahill. He was amazing at Old Trafford.

  8. Tom Gatehouse

    August 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Sebourn, thanks for the heads up. My bad.

  9. DagunD

    August 29, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Underrate LFC @ your PERIL! Champions league here we come! YNWA!

  10. Bulletproof

    August 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Haha!!! Wat a disgrace? Loserfool won’t make it to e champs league this year

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