The Premier League season is just two weeks old but already there has been much to talk about. Red cards, missed penalties, teams who simply can’t defend – I’ve tried to take the best and worst of the weekend to bring you Team of the Weekend. With that intro safely in the bank, let’s get stuck in. Old school 4-3-3 this week and a manager to guide them through the good times and bad.
Neil Etheridge – Two from two! Not many goalkeepers can claim to have saved penalties in each of their first two matches at Premier League level and a real columnist would research such a stat, but I’m happy to just let this all be about Neil. It was an awful penalty from Kenedy, who we’ll get on to later, but all the keeper can do is save what is fired at him. Well done, you’ve made Neil Warnock very happy. I hope you are pleased with yourself.
Kieran Trippier – Ahhh the World Cup. Remember the World Cup? It’s coming home! It didn’t come home, but the England players are now respected again and isn’t that like winning? Like, morally winning? Anyway, KTrips as he is now known in this new “everybody is cool” universe curled in a beauty of a free kick to help Spurs to a win over Fulham. The rules about scoring a free kick securing inclusion in the team of the weekend have long been known so his inclusion should be of no surprise. It’s the best free kick Trippier has taken since that semi-final effort against Croatia. Precious memories.
Matt Doherty – Beautiful own goal. Something so very satisfying about a defender meeting an opposition cross crisply with his forehead and bulleting it beyond his own goalkeeper. It’s actually not his fault, the cross took aflick on the way over but still, an own goal for the ages. Welcome aboard.
Marcos Alonso – A goal and an assist in open play for the Chelsea man as fears that Alonso would be less of an attacking threat in a back 4 were ruthlessly dismissed. Granted, playing against Hector Bellerin is like playing against fresh air, but his unselfishness in setting up Pedro was refreshing and, of course, the football karma overlords repaid him with a goal. Or something. Sarriball is off to a wonderful start at Stamford Bridge.
Eric Bailly – Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem like the type of man you want to get on the wrong side of. Ask Martial, Shaw and others down the years. Bailly’s performance on Sunday was akin to the likes of Jean-Alain Boumsong at his absolute worst, giving away set pieces at will and eventually a penalty.
Kenedy – Give me strength. One of the oddest performances you will ever see came on Saturday lunchtime in Cardiff, where despite Neil Warnock being in the dugout the odd performance came from an opposition player. Kenedy failed to complete a single pass in the first half, though he did connect beautifully with Carmaso’s leg in a brutal kick out that was somehow missed by king clown Craig Pawson. After that lucky escape, Kenedy stepped up in the 95th minute to hit one of the worst penalties I have ever seen that was easily saved. Time is a great healer, which is just as well as it might be over a month before Newcastle fans see Kenedy again.
Theo Walcott – A goal and an assist for the former Arsenal man. Walcott has been somewhat overlooked with the ludicrous price tag on Richarlison but if Silva can get consistent performances out of Walcott he has a history of being a “streaky” player. Everton fans will hope this is the start of one such streak.
David Silva – Remarkably, this was the first free kick Silva has scored for Man City. He’s just too good. Even though the free kick secured his spot in the team, the truth is the little magician had done more than enough in his overall performance to secure a spot – which I’m sure was at the forefront of his mind before the game. Obviously, De Bruyne will be missed by Pep but as long as this fella is on form, I don’t think they have much to worry about.
Jamie Vardy – When they made the rules for what qualified as a red card, this is what they meant by out of control. You won’t change the way Vardy plays the game but I’m sure his manager will question his wisdom for going in for a tackle in such a manner with the score at 2-0. Three games off means a lot of Blue WKD.
Sergio Aguero – Yet another hat-trick for the Argentinian as Man City ran over Huddersfield on Sunday. He made Ben Hamer look particularly stupid which he was capable of doing all by himself, but when Aguero is in the mood and City are purring like they were on Sunday afternoon there is no stopping them. They look scarily good, though I suppose Huddersfield didn’t really help themselves.
Andre Gray – Not only did Gray score on his return to Turf Moor but it was Watford’s first away goal since JANUARY. Their first away goal under Javi Gracia. This seems like an odd statistic to me but hey, they’ve arrested that particular slide and in some style. It was feared that playing Thursday-Sunday would catch up with Burnley and it would be taking something away from Watford to say that is the case already, but let’s do that anyway.
Chris Hughton – One of the nicest men in football and doing such a great job at Brighton. Traditionally the 2nd season in the top flight has been the ceiling for Hughton but I hope it is different for him this time. Brighton’s win over Man Utd was thoroughly deserved and despite creeping into some people’s list of relegation candidates, Sunday showed they still love a big occasion on the south coast.