The ‘Football-Talk Big Six’ Team of the Weekend: Game-Week 5
With Man City’s victory over Utd the pick of the games, we selects our Team of the Week which includes players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham.
After experiencing the trauma of missing a week’s worth of Premier League action last week, having been stranded in Thailand, I am glad to be back in the thick of the games again; and boy, have we had some crackers!
The big story comes from the Etihad, where Man City opened up their bitter rivals Manchester United like a bag of crisps. Such was the cohesion between almost every position on the pitch, that Utd were powerless for long periods of the game. The Champions were totally undone by two devastating goals in five minutes just after the restart on Sunday, with ‘the noisy neighbours’ running out 4-1 winners.
Elsewhere, Chelsea stuttered to a 2-0 victory over London rivals Fulham on Saturday afternoon. The Blues flattered to decisive for most of the match, failing to convincingly show off their true talent, and were somewhat fortunate to come away from the game unscathed. Jon Obi Mikel netted the deciding second, his first goal in 185 Premier League games for the club.
Liverpool’s superb start to the season was brought to an abrupt end by Southampton at Anfield, with defender Dejan Lovren scoring the only goal in the 1-0 win on Saturday.
Tottenham meanwhile needed every second of their match against Cardiff on Sunday, with Paulinho scoring a last grasp winner deep into stoppage time, earning them a 1-0 win.
The Premier League top spot belongs to Arsenal for the time being, as Mesut Ozil continued to prove that he is indeed the king of assists, after setting up all three of the Gunners’ goals in their 3-1 home win over Mark Hughes’ Stoke side.
Here is the ‘Football-Talk Big Six’ Team of the Weekend: Game-Week 5:
(Football-talk.co.uk covers six of the top teams in England; Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Man Utd, and Man City. The fact that these six teams are the only English clubs covered by the site does not necessarily make them the best six teams in the league. Just to be clear!)
Petr Cech, Goalkeeper, Chelsea
Despite experiencing a wholly comfortable afternoon, the big Czech gets the nod this week after a display of alertness and awareness. Being out of the game for long stretches can be detrimental to a player’s alert levels and feel of the game, but Cech stood up strong on the few times he was needed; convincingly beating away corners (once a problematic area for him), and stifling Darren Bent in the first half when the England striker was clean through on goal.
The Bent save was a catalyst for Chelsea, however sluggishly, to push on and earn the three points.
Bacary Sagna, Defender, Arsenal
Playing Stoke City is never easy, especially for full-backs, who are expected to win aerial duels just as much as the centre-backs during games so often riddled with long balls over the top and hotly contested set-pieces. Bacary Sagna had a decent game at right back, and topped it off with a goal from an Arsenal set-piece; one of three Ozil dead ball specials that resulted in the Gunners’ goals. Quite a turn of events for the Gunners to beat Stoke at their own game, and Sagna’s recent experience at centre-back undoubtedly helped him at both ends of the pitch.
John Terry, Defender, Chelsea
The former England skipper was recalled for the game against Fulham on Saturday after the Blues suffered consecutive defeats to Everton and Basel; and Terry provided some much needed solidarity at the back for Chelsea.
Playing alongside the continually impressive Gary Cahill, Terry helped soak up the fast paced counter-attacks made by their London rivals, despite his aging legs. Excluding the one Darren Bent chance in the first half, Terry was solid throughout, and made a strong case for his continued inclusion in the Chelsea back-line.
Vincent Kompany, Defender, Man City
City’s tank-at-the back put in an imperious display against the Champions, and once more demonstrated why there is no better central defender in the Premier League today. Looking decidedly comfortable the entire afternoon, Kompany read the game brilliantly, and lead with both his towering physique and expertly tuned mind. His ambitious running played merry hell on an overrun Utd defence, and despite Rooney’s brilliant free kick at the end, dominated the United striker from start to finish. Awesome.
Aleksandar Kolarov, Defender, Man City
The Serbian international is enjoying a new lease of life under new boss, Manuel Pellegrini, and he was pivotal to City’s consistent success down the left flank in the match on Sunday. He and Samir Nasri submitted Chris Smalling to a barrage of intelligent running and quick overlapping, culminating in the opening goal of the game for City.
Antonio Valencia, so often a brilliant defensive winger, was all over the place in the first half, with Kolarov’s devilish runs causing panic in the Utd backline. More displays such as this will surely consolidate his place ahead of Gael Clichy at left back at the club.
Yaya Toure, Midfielder, Man City
Like his centre-back colleague, Toure had a barnstorming game, putting United to the sword, and grabbing the crucial second goal on the stroke of half-time. Yaya Toure’s unique blend of power, pace, and precision makes him on of the hardest players to play against; and the likes of Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini just couldn’t contain him. The big Ivorian continues to be one of City’s most important players, and he will have a big say on the club’s title ambitions.
Paulinho, Midfield, Tottenham
The Brazilian summer signing provided the moment of quality in a match typified by woeful finishing from both sides. Getting on the end of a cutback from fellow new signing, Erik Lamela, Paulinho exquisitely finished the move off with his heel, dramatically earning his side three valuable points over a stubborn Cardiff.
Oscar, Midfield, Chelsea
Chelsea’s Brazilian youngster is in the eye of the storm at Stamford Bridge, with Jose Mourinho’s perplexing lack of faith in Juan Mata affording Oscar an extended run in the side as the number 10; and he is performing admirably. The perennially sad-looking 22-year-old bagged the first goal in the win over Fulham on Saturday, but it was his all-round performance that sees him ushered into the Team of the Weekend.
His tenacity, endless running, and overall tireless performance were obvious highlights in what was otherwise a drab London derby. Oscar wants the ball, and is not one to disappear in games. While Mata’s no-show remains the obvious talking point for many, one hopes that Oscar’s performances so far this season are not lost in the sea of befuddlement.
Mesut Ozil, Midfield, Arsenal
The £43m blockbuster signing made his home debut on the weekend, and his strengths were obviously highlighted in a performance of attacking vision, and effortless poise. Providing the three set pieces for his new club’s three goals against Stoke, he firmly emphasized his unofficial title of ‘King of the Assist’.
With four assists in two games already for Arsenal, you can expect many more gems from the little German, and the Gunners will continue to thrive on the ammunition Ozil can provide.
Sergio Aguero, Striker, Man City
The Argentine hit man had a stunning game against the Champions on Sunday, banging in a brace of goals, and continuing his ‘renaissance of sorts’ under his new Chilean boss. Aguero is clearly a world class act, and this was further underlined with yet more goals to add to his growing tally of Manchester derby strikes. Full of running and invention, he dovetailed the equally effective Negredo, and showed real predatory instincts for both of his goals.
The pick of his two strikes was the first; an over the head volley with his weaker foot to give City a precious lead. Utd couldn’t handle their rivals on the weekend, and were on the end of a mauling from Aguero and his fellow attacking colleagues.
Alvaro Negredo, Striker, Man City
Such was Man City’s dominance in the Manchester Derby on Sunday that Negredo is the fifth Man City player to make it into the Team of the Weekend. Along with Aguero, the Spanish striker had a brilliant game against Utd; he was a superb target man and foil for his teammates, and set up two of the goals with instinctive vision.
He has so far ousted Edin Dzeko in the starting line-up, and his performance on Sunday will further highlight his obvious talent, and how well he can adapt to City’s free-flowing attacking style. Unlucky not to get on the score sheet himself, his was just one of many fine performances by Pelligrini’s side on what was a day of real intent from the club.
What do you reckon? Missed anyone crucial? Disagree with my formation? Let me know in the comments below!
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