The ‘Football-Talk’ Team of the Weekend: ‘SAS’ Up Front & Rambo In Midfield
With the London Derby ending in a draw, and Arsenal and Liverpool taking advantage of the Manchester clubs’ shock defeats, here is our team of the weekend.
All things change, and following a weekend of surprise results among the teams at the top of the table, that change may be closer than once thought!
Both Manchester clubs came unstuck against lower sides in the division, once more proving the depth of quality that currently resides throughout the Premier League.
United arguably had the biggest upset, with their 1-2 defeat to West Brom at Old Trafford a real eye-opener, and an equally real kick in the teeth for beleaguered boss, David Moyes. The Scot has barely readjusted the seat in the dugout since the departure of the stalwart Sir Alex Ferguson, and the walls have already started to come crashing down around him. After last week’s abysmal loss to City, this latest defeat will have only increased the enormous pressure on the former Everton man.
Manchester United’s haul of seven points from their opening six matches represents their worst start to a season since 1989-90!
City themselves suffered the ignominy of a shock defeat away to Villa that same Saturday, as a likely win was snatched away from them after some typically poor away day defending from the Citizens.
Spurs and Chelsea shared the spoils at White Hart Lane, after a hotly contested 1-1 draw. Arsenal and Liverpool lead the way at the top, with both sides collecting valuable 3 points away from home.
Here is the ‘Football-talk’ Team of the Weekend: Gameweek 6 – made up of players from the traditional ‘Top 6’:
Hugo Lloris, Goalkeeper, Tottenham
After Spurs took the lead in the first half of the game on Saturday, Chelsea came flying out of the blocks after the restart, and looked much the better side. The Blues could well have come away with all three points were it not for a couple of excellent saves from Hugo Lloris; with his block against Andre Schurrle the pick of the bunch, after the German looked destined to score.
Kolo Toure, Defender, Liverpool
Playing in a less favoured right back role, Toure performed admirably on Sunday, and kept Sunderland’s flying winger, Emanuele Giaccherini in his pocket for most of the game. While the former Juventus man grabbed a goal after a spill from Mignolet, Toure kept pace with the tricky wide-man on the right, and played a vital role in ensuring Brendan Rogers’ men came away with the win.
Jan Vertonghen, Defender, Tottenham
Most will talk about the big Belgian’s unpleasant duel with Fernando Torres following the draw at White Hart Lane; but Vertonghen put in an excellent performance against Chelsea on the Saturday, with a series of interceptions and generally fearless defending highlighting his obvious abilities.
Jose Mourinho was harsh in his depiction of Vertonghen after the game; but this will not affect him, as his displays from a footballing perspective certainly warrant his inclusion in this week’s team of the weekend.
John Terry, Defender, Chelsea
After a torrid few weeks for the Blues, captain Terry showed the fans exactly what to cheer for on Saturday, with a trademark goal and a passionate all-round display. The former England man kept Roberto Soldado quiet, and was an assured head alongside the typically maverick David Luiz at the back for Chelsea.
With three established centre-backs all pushing for a regular starting berth at Chelsea, it will be performances such as these from Terry that will surely keep Gary Cahill or Luiz from snatching his place at the back.
Kieran Gibbs, Defender, Arsenal
The England man showed real physicality and technical ability on Saturday against Swansea. Despite being a fast paced game in Wales, Gibbs was up to the task, shadowing the ghost-like Nathan Dyer throughout, helping the Gunners keep Swansea’s trademark passing game one of pretty patterns rather than of penetrative consistency.
Although behind both Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines in the England national side’s pecking order, Gibbs proved once more that he is a very capable player, and also a dependable one.
Aaron Ramsey, Midfielder, Arsenal
Arsenal’s fantastic winning run to the top of the Premier League is largely due to the sustained efforts of one Aaron Ramsey, whose goal scoring exploits have so far refused to abate, and the Welshman is truly showing his potential as a swashbuckling pacesetter.
After another goal from Ramsey set Arsenal on their way to yet another win, The Gunners are sitting pretty on the top of the league, and the 15 points from their opening six Premier League matches is their best start to a season since 2007-08!
Juan Mata, Midfielder, Chelsea
What on earth is the matter, many have said, with Juan Mata this season? Only in Jose Mourinho’s eyes, it seems, is Mata surplus to the current requirements; and there is much agitation over the Spaniard’s predicament. Saturday’s draw away to local rivals, Spurs, provided Mata with the ideal platform on which to show his unconvinced manager that he is certainly good enough to reclaim his starting berth.
A second half sub with the game in Tottenham’s favour, Mata put in a typical display of guile, thrust and invention which galvanised the Blues, and almost turned the game on its head. An assist to his name, and one of the best players on the pitch, how long can Jose ignore the obvious?
Serge Gnabry, Midfielder, Arsenal
With Theo Walcott continuing to be side-lined with an abdominal injury, the young German, Gnabry has started the last two Premier League games for the Gunners, and has not looked out of place at all. The 18-year-old has been lively in both games for Arsenal, and topped off his latest first team outing with his first senior goal against Swansea.
At 18 years and 76 days old, he becomes Arsenal’s second youngest Premier League goal scorer. Only Cesc Fabregas (17 years and 113 days) has scored a debut Premier League goal for the club at a younger age.
Daniel Sturridge, Striker, Liverpool
Thought of by many as a selfish striker, Sturridge twice turned provider on Sunday against Sunderland, setting up returning striker Suarez for both of his goals in the 3-1 away win.
Not without his almost customary goal, Sturridge showed off so many of his outstanding qualities; speed, touch, technique, vision, and a predatory instinct were all noticeable in the former Chelsea man’s game, and his man-of-the-match award was a just recognition of his display.
Luis Suarez, Striker, Liverpool
He’s back! The eccentric Uruguayan started his first Premier League game of the season on Sunday, having been kept out of the picture due to his lengthy ban; and he certainly showed the Liverpool fans what they’d been missing. With two goals to his name, and further proof of an excellent partnership growing between him and Daniel Sturridge, the Anfield faithful must be rubbing their hands together with glee; Brendan Rogers certainly is.
“I am not sure there are two better in the league,” said Rodgers on Monday,
“Those two are right up there with the best in the country and you saw that against Sunderland.”
Suarez’ return will only increase the growing furore over the potential of a sustained Liverpool assault on the top of the table, and with the two strikers in this form, there will be few who would disagree.
Fernando Torres, Striker, Chelsea
Despite being red carded after a series of silly clashes with Spurs defender, Vertonghen, Torres makes it into the team of the weekend after a decent display of attacking thrust and power. The perennially disappointing Spaniard had a great afternoon, particular in the second half, when he tormented the Tottenham defence with some surging runs and intelligent play.
Creating some of Chelsea’s best chances of the game, he was a contender for man of the match up until his passion got the better of him one too many times, and he was given his marching orders.
What do you think? Missed any stars from the list? Let me know in the comments below!
(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!)
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