Welcome to Team of the Weekend, our weekly look back at the best and worst performers of the Premier League weekend. Saturday was full of goals…Sunday, less so. 3-5-2 then and a manager to keep them in check. Shall we?
Lukasz Fabianski – In the absence of penalty saves I once again have to pick a goalkeeper on merit alone. Some would say this is the real way to pick a team, but that’s a debate I won’t indulge. I’ve gone for Fabianski for keeping a clean sheet against Chelsea, not least for saving a Morata shot with his face as well as a string of other decent stops. He’s a good purchase for West Ham and will have more days like this throughout the season.
Daryl Janmaat – Far be it from me to criticise International footballers, but if Janmaat had been eased off the ball by a Mitrovic type, you’d shrug and say it’s unfortunate. When little old Vietto is sending you flying you’re either a small boy or not good enough. I’ll let you decide which one Janmaat is.
Wesley Hoedt – I’m sure he’s not as bad as I think he is, but every time I see Hoedt play he’s absolutely atrocious. Maybe that’s harsh, perhaps bad luck just follows him around. This week, it was a deflected Shaqiri cross that hit him and went in. When you’re playing Liverpool you need some luck but Southampton lost to this own goal, a header from a corner and a rebound from a free kick. I’m sure Wesley will be back to his best soon.
Mamadou Sakho – Do you think Mamadou Sakho ever wonders how he ended up at Crystal Palace? Once regarded as the best up and coming centre half in Europe, Sakho went from PSG to Liverpool where things…weren’t great. Now he’s at Palace where he lives a normal existence but centre half or not, what a miss! Sakho had the chance to give Palace all three points from Saturday’s turgid game with Newcastle but he contrived to head a great chance wide with the goal gaping.
Ilkay Gundogan – It’s just not fair really. Pep’s famous wheel of rotation landed on David Silva this week, so whilst this would neuter most teams it just allowed Ilkay Gundogan to have his turn as the main man in Man City’s midfield. His goal found the postage stamp – always a beautiful sight – but he was impressive in his general all round contribution to their handsome win. Maybe Neil Warnock will have to re-think his favourite player now.
Aaron Lennon – What year is it? Former England man Lennon rolled back the years against Bournemouth, displaying the pace we became accustomed to seeing during his Spurs days but crucially adding goals and assists to his performance. Burnley desperately needed this win and to win it so handsomely will only help their cause. If Lennon and his opposite number Gudmundsson can continue this form in weeks to come Burnley will be away from the lower echelons of the table in no time.
James Maddison – The rule is still in place. You score a free kick, you’re in the team. The problem with this rule is that you might be seeing a lot of the likes of James Maddison in the much celebrated Team of the Weekend as he curled in an absolute peach against Huddersfield. Leicester are the most inexplicable team in the league. Everything about them suggests they should be better than they are but they eventually got the job done on Saturday and that’s all you can ask.
Joao Moutinho – Well, that was some hit. Wolves continue to pass these tests of whether they are able to mix it as an established Premier League club despite being 6 games into their Premier League return. Having Portugese Internationals like Moutinho will obviously help, the quality he showed on hitting Wolves’ equaliser at Old Trafford is just one of the reasons Wolves will be absolutely fine.
Anthony Knockeart – I’ve included Knockeart (remember to pronounce the K) for two reasons. Firstly, he had a rather eventful evening against Tottenham, being at the heart of any good Brighton offered, shooting straight at Gazzaniga at 1-0 down before finally pulling one back in injury time. My main reason for including him though is his brave interview this week about mental health issues. It’s something that needs to be addressed, not just in sport, and to have somebody of Knockeart’s stature opening up about it will hopefully lead to others doing the same. It’s good to talk.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Finally there are some signs that Iheanacho will live up to his promise that commanded such a hefty fee. Paired with Jamie Vardy, both came away from Saturday’s win with a goal and an assist as the signs of a partnership showed some green shoots. Claude Puel has tinkered a lot with his team as he tries to find the winning formula, if his front two can break like they did on Saturday there’s every chance he’ll keep his job for a long time to come.
Alexandre Lacazette – Lacazette is included for scoring the first (and only legit) goal of Super Sunday and ending a drought that went over a match and a half and had me genuinely concerned for a goalless day. It was some finish though, we all love it when it goes in off the woodwork. Lacazette seems to have the central striking position nailed down at the moment, with Aubameyang nominally operating from the left and it seems to be a formula that has worked well for Unai Emery.
Jurgen Klopp – Six out of six for Jurgen which, as he would say, is very cool. Everything he does works out at the moment, such as playing Shaqiri in a 4-3-3 and then subbing him at half time. No idea. Bigger tests lie ahead and many of those questions will be answered this coming week, with two matches against Chelsea that will probably feature two entirely different sets of teams. Let’s see if Jurgen is still smiling this time next weekend.
That’s it from me this week but I’ll be back next Monday with more.