The ‘Football-Talk’ Team of the Weekend: Gameweek 7
After another enthralling weekend of Premier League action that saw shock results, comebacks and dream debuts, Tom Gatehouse picks his Team of the Weekend.
It was not to be an easy weekend of football for the Premier League elite, as almost every high profile match was hotly contested, and ultimately threw up a few surprise casualties. It is arguably the most competitive league season in recent memory, and with every passing week comes unforeseen changes in ‘the script’; unexpected twists and turns that either delight or destroy the faithful fans.
Tottenham were on the end of a stinging defeat at home to West Ham, while Arsenal had to settle for a point at West Brom. Man Utd had to rely on teenage sensation, Adnan Januzaj, in order to record a win at Sunderland, while Chelsea and City were given a run for their money against Norwich and Everton respectively. Liverpool looked on course to maul Crystal Palace at Anfield after a wonderful opening half, but they themselves were given a scare by Ian Holloway’s team.
Here is the Football-Talk Team of the Weekend: Gameweek 7
David De Gea, Man Utd, Goalkeeper
The young Spaniard grabs his spot in the team thanks to his world class save to deny Sunderland’s Emanuele Giaccherini in Saturday’s 2-1 victory for Utd at the Stadium of Light. Having found themselves a goal down to manageress Sunderland, De Gea’s stunning reflexes denied the former Juventus winger from extending the home side’s lead, and was arguably a catalyst for the Champions to push on and turn the game on its head. Brilliant.
Patrice Evra, Man Utd, Defender
Despite United’s recent troubles, it seems nothing will quell the stubborn passion of the French fullback after another display of defiance in the face of adversity. Evra persisted down the left flank, leading by example as the Reds stared yet another embarrassing defeat in the face. He provided the cross for wunderkind Januzaj to snatch an equaliser, and was an enduring presence wide left for United.
David Luiz, Chelsea, Defender
Chelsea’s enigmatic centre-back had a tough game against a Norwich side which had, until the last ten minutes, threatened to derail the Blues’ recent resurgence in form. Despite being caught flat-footed for the Canaries’ equaliser on Sunday, Luiz put in a strong shift at the back, full of hot-blooded interceptions, and probing ‘sweeper’ play.
Such was the quality of both the delivery from Martin Olsson, and then the knock-down from Ricky van Wolfswinkel, that David Luiz can hardly be blamed for the Norwich goal. Chelsea managed to snatch a couple of goals at the end to secure a 3-1 win, and David Luiz can be happy with his solid performance, which may preserve his spot in the team ahead of Gary Cahill, if Jose sees the Norwich goal the way I do!
Mamadou Sakho, Liverpool, Defender
Signed from PSG in the summer for a cool £15m, Sakho was in commanding form at Anfield on Saturday. Easily snuffing out the danger posed by a limp Crystal Palace in the first half, he was one of the key enablers for Liverpool’s rampant attacking play which saw them go in 3-0 up at the break. Receiving a standing ovation as he came off midway through the second half for Daniel Agger, and the 23-year-old was therefore not on the field when Palace eventually scored. A decent signing so far!
Pablo Zabaleta, Man City, Defender
An all action display from City’s ‘Mr Dependable’, Zabaleta was a strong participant at both ends of the pitch. He won the penalty that led to City’s second goal, and his generally physical and aggressive approach ensured that Everton danger man, Leighton Baines was kept quiet during the game. An impressive 3-1 victory for Pellegrini’s side, and one that will have given them a big lift going into the international break.
Jordan Henderson, Liverpool, Midfielder
Liverpool’s defensive engine, Lucas was suspended for the Palace game on Saturday, and Brendan Rogers’ decision to play Sterling in the fiery Brazilian’s absence meant for added responsibility for Henderson in the middle of the park. He stepped up superbly, and bossed the centre with a combination of stamina and tenacity.
The Reds’ forward line was given the freedom to express itself in the first half, culminating in a devastating three goal haul that took the tie away from the newly promoted side. Henderson’s efforts were real factors in allowing Liverpool’s ‘SAS’ to run riot in the opening 45.
David Silva, Man City, Midfielder
Starting his first game since August, the little Spaniard showed the Etihad crowd what they’d been missing. A performance of guile and vision, his through-ball set Sergio Aguero on his way for City’s second of the afternoon, and Silva continued to provide the Everton defence with all sorts of problems.
His presence will be crucial for City if they are to continue their assault on the current Premier League leaders, and the fans will be pleased to see their man strutting his stuff on an afternoon of success for the club.
Adnan Januzaj, Man Utd, Midfielder
Arguably the man of the moment, Utd’s teenage wonder-slick eases into the team of the week after a crucial brace that not only clawed the Champions back from oblivion against Sunderland, but further highlighted his growing reputation in Manchester as a real star of the future.
His first was a composed, yet powerful finish from the edge of the box, and his second would have made Van Persie proud; a vicious, first time volley that found the bottom left corner, and secured all three points for David Moyes’ side. With shades of Chelsea’s Oscar emanating from the young man, it is fair to say that hype will continue to spread. Watch this space.
Oscar, Chelsea, Midfielder
The little Brazilian maestro has been given licence to roam by Mourinho, and he is thriving on the security afforded to him by the eccentric Portuguese. One of Jose’s new ‘untouchables’, Oscar grabbed his third goal of the season after only three minutes against Norwich; a cracking effort from the left hand side, he caressed a half volley with the outside of his right foot, leaving Ruddy with little chance.
Although not his best all round performance of the season, the 22-year-old still played very well, and continued to justify the faith Mourinho has in him.
Luis Suarez, Liverpool, Striker
Despite sitting out the first 10 games for Liverpool, Suarez has shown no sign of cobwebs in his last two games, and netted the opener for the Reds in what was a blistering first half from his side. Although Liverpool eased off the gas in the second half, something that is becoming an unfortunate habit for Brendan Rogers’ side, they were ultimately successful in ousting Crystal Palace, and are certainly looking good going into the international break.
Demba Ba, Chelsea, Striker
The Senegalese striker has had a disconcerting few months in the blue of Chelsea. With his future in a prolonged state of doubt during the Rooney-rumour-fuelled summer transfer window, Ba ended up staying at Stamford Bridge, albeit as third choice striker. His current situation was to be seen in his performance at Carrow Road, with the 28-year-old busting a gut for the duration, desperate to prove his worth in the absence of Fernando Torres and the benched Samuel Eto’o.
Even though he drew a blank on Sunday, consigning the Blues’ three strikers to yet another week of a collective goal scoring duck, he was monumental in the hotly contested fixture, and induced raw panic amongst the Norwich backline.
He brilliantly assisted Oscar for the first goal inside 10 minutes, and was very unlucky not to have scored himself. Whether his show will have swayed Mourinho remains to be seen, but it can’t have hurt his chances.
Player of the Weekend: Adnan Januzaj
What do we think? Who was your player of the week? Anyone deserve a spot on the team? 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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