Team of the Weekend: Suarez & Torres Feature In Attack-Minded XI
With goals aplenty this weekend, Tom Gatehouse picks his striker-heavy ‘Team of the Weekend’ for Gameweek 9. Do you agree with the selections? Have a look here
It was a weekend to savour for the majority of the top clubs in the country, with goals aplenty for some of the Premier League’s most feared marksmen. Clean sheets were scarce commodities, as strikers up and down the country ran riot; just another day for one of the greatest football leagues in the world.
The story of the weekend came from Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea beat the formidable Man City 2-1, thanks to a fortuitous late goal from recent goal-machine, Fernando Torres. A mix-up at the back from the City defenders allowed the Spaniard to nip in and steal all three of the points for the Blues, sending reverberations around the Premier League. A potentially critical result in the grand scheme of things; one that may come back to play a big part come the business end of the season.
The red half of Manchester had a little more luck, but just barely, having fought back to win 3-2, after being behind twice at Old Trafford against a stubborn Stoke side. Arsenal maintained their lead at the top of the EPL with a hard fought 2-0 win over manager-less Crystal Palace; with the Gunners playing with ten men for the best part of half an hour at Selhurst Park.
Luis Suarez continued his rich vein of form, smashing three past a bewildered West Brom, on the way to a thumping 4-1 win; and Spurs snatched a 1-0 win over Premier League new boys, Hull thanks to a late penalty from big money man, Roberto Soldado.
Here is the ‘Football-Talk’ Team of the Weekend: Gameweek 9,
Wojciech Szczęsny, Goalkeeper, Arsenal
With such a difficult name to spell, the big Pole must have been quite spectacular this weekend for me to pop him in the team! Szczesny’s performance was no joke however, as the Arsenal number one pulled off two fantastic saves at a delicate stage in the game, with the Gunners having Mikel Arteta dismissed. His brilliance between the sticks gave Arsenal the impetus to push on, defend strongly, and bag the crucial second goal to earn them a valuable 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Ashley Cole, Defender, Chelsea
Chelsea’s evergreen fullback had a super game on Sunday, having recovered from a rib injury that has kept him out of the last few fixtures. With Man City a free-flowing outfit under Pellegrini, it was up to the likes of Cole to keep their flair players quiet while the Blues did the damage up front, and despite Aguero’s brilliant strike, they did just that. Bristling with energy even in stoppage time at the end of the match, Cole’s reappearance will be of real significance to Chelsea’s continued assault on the Premier League.
Michael Dawson, Defender, Tottenham
Spurs’ England defender has come a long way from having almost been sold to QPR in the 2012 summer transfer window! Now a stable presence at the back for Tottenham, he has formed quite a partnership with the Belgian, Jan Vertonghen, and it was their combined effort along with impressive youngster Vlad Chiriches that kept Hull City at arms-length in their closely fought 1-0 win. A natural leader in the mould of Chelsea’s John Terry, while Tottenham continue to struggle to bag goals, their rear-guard is amply protected by Dawson and co.
Kolo Toure, Defender, Liverpool
His summer move to the red of Liverpool has been a good one for the Ivorian, who has performed admirably in Brendan Rogers’ new-look defensive triumvirate. On Saturday, he was solid, composed, and also creative, having provided the pass for Luis Suarez first goal. The 32-year-old looks in no mood to wind things down as he enters the last stages in his career, and he is a firm favourite in Liverpool’s inventively attacking line-up.
Bacary Sagna, Defender, Arsenal
Yet another inclusion in the Team of the Week, Sagna has had a great start of the season. Having scored a rare goal against Stoke a few weeks ago, Sagna has continued to go from strength to strength, and quite literally against Palace on Saturday. The Frenchman was rock solid in the early kick-off, and was a key cog in the besieged Arsenal back-line. The 2-0 away win was one befitting of champions; can Arsenal keep it going?
Ramires, Midfielder, Chelsea
While having been occasionally guilty of some haphazard play over the last few years, Ramires was at his swashbuckling best in the crucial 2-1 win against City on Sunday. Ghosting around the pitch, showing off his inhuman athleticism and guile, the Brazilian was at the forefront of many of the Blues most promising moves. Often an ice cube in comparison to Yaya Toure’s iceberg physicality, Ramires was unperturbed on Sunday, ran the show from the centre, and was the engine that spurred his side to an excellent three points.
Aaron Ramsey, Midfielder, Arsenal
Arsenal’s man of the moment really came of age in the win over Palace at the weekend. I often wax lyrical about the Welshman’s rich goal scoring form, and fabulous interlinking with his teammates; but Saturday’s performance was both self-sacrificing and mature on a level which definitively proves the magnificent ability of the youngster.
Having dropped into a more defensive role after the injury to Mathieu Flamini, Ramsey was left to run the show solo after the departure of Arteta for a straight red. Intelligent, containing and deft, his football was a veritable smorgasbord of styles over the course of the game; and true to his form, Ramsey still broke his shackles and supplied a delicious cross for Giroud to net the all-important second goal. Fantastic.
Robin Van Persie, Striker, Man Utd
The Dutchman has not hit the heights of last season yet for new boss David Moyes, but his contribution on Saturday was vital in securing a stuttering Utd the win they so sorely needed against Stoke. Van Persie tucked away the equaliser after a super Nani cross, and then supplied an excellent assist of his own for Wayne Rooney as the Red Devils clawed their way back, in true ‘Sir Alex’ style, to stem a winless run. Moyes and his side will savour what is a valuable win, both statistically and mentally.
Sergio Aguero, Striker, Man City
Despite being on the losing side in the crunch match on Sunday, Aguero ran the Chelsea centre backs ragged with an aggressive, penetrative performance of striking tenacity. His goal typified his ability to expertly beat the offside trap, and his sudden strike left Petr Cech clawing thin air. The Argentine’s goal-scoring form continues, and few would bet against him bagging the ‘Premier League Golden Boot’ come the end of the season after outings such as this.
Luis Suarez, Striker, Liverpool
Liverpool’s ‘SAS’ is quite something, isn’t it? With Sturridge scoring almost every game, as if by some divine right; and with his Uruguayan partner in crime back to his devastating best, it’s a shame I can’t just pair the two together for one spot in the Team of the Week!
Suarez gets the nod this time, quite clearly after a sensational hat trick against a shell-shocked West Brom on Saturday. His first was a spell-binding slalom through the heart of the defence; his second a barnstorming header from just inside the area; and lastly a subtle flick from a Gerrard free-kick. Is there anything he can’t do?!
Fernando Torres, Striker, Chelsea
Halfway through the first half against City, Torres missed a sitter. Groans rang out around Stamford Bridge, and the sight of Frank Lampard hanging his head in his hands arguably summed up the feeling of depressed familiarity that hung around the stadium. But then a funny thing happened. Torres came to life! After setting up Schurrle for the opening goal having barrelled down the flank, the Spaniard nearly shattered the bar with a terrific turn and shot.
It was just reward for his tireless industry and sheer willingness to succeed after such a horrendous miss that he snatched the winning goal right at the death. The question of whether the old Torres is back still rightly remains; but the 29-year-old’s show of defiance in the face of failure must bode well for both his and his club’s season.
Player of the Weekend: Luis Suarez
What do you think? Disagree with any of the selected stars? 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!)