Team of the Weekend

The Premier League is back! That means you have to put up with me every Monday bringing you the good, the bad and the damn right ugly from the weekend just gone. It’s like we’ve hardly been away as the Premier League slipped serenely back into action with goals, red cards and ridiculous celebrations. Who made the cut?

Goalkeepers

Neil Etheridge – If you’re only joining us for the new season you may not know but there are some criteria that a player can meet to guarantee themselves a spot in TOTW. Etheridge saved a penalty, securing himself a spot in this illustrious squad but as he’s the first Filipino to play in the Premier League, there’s every chance he would have got in anyway. Forget the fact they lost 2-0, nobody can take that save away from him.

Defenders

Luke Shaw – Tough love or borderline bullying? Whatever you want to call Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw, you can’t knock Shaw’s determination to make this work for him. With Ashley Young only just back in training, Shaw has been given the chance to impress and he responded with his first ever senior goal on Friday night. The real test now will be what happens when Young & Valencia return to full fitness and perhaps more telling will be how Mourinho reacts if Shaw makes a mistake. For now though, Luke is king.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – The chosen Wan as he has been dubbed in the FPL Community due to his low price and points potential. Wan-Bissaka gave a very impressive performance at Fulham on Saturday and topped it off with an assist for Wilfried Zaha.

Phil Jagielka – Oh Jags. When your club signs two centre-halves on deadline day the last thing you should do is get yourself a three-match ban. You might not get that place back for a while Phil. It was definitely a red as well, in my humble opinion.

Benjamin Mendy – Mendy has become a bit of a running joke through no fault of his own, as he’s collected a number of medals recently without playing a whole load of minutes. That is of course down to the horrendous injury that decimated his 2017/18 season, but now we have a worry on our hands. With Mendy fit and firing again, it is very possible that Man City will be even better than they were last season. That theory was underlined by Mendy getting a pair of assists in City’s 2-0 win at Arsenal. No disrespect to Fabian Delph but Mendy is a natural left back with all the attributes to dominate the Premier League.

Midfielders

Paul Pogba – You can’t keep Paul Pogba out of the headlines and you can’t keep him out of this team. Nobody expected to see Pogba’s name on the teamsheet on Friday after winning the World Cup less than 4 weeks ago and even fewer people expected him to be named captain after all the speculation over his relationship with Mourinho. Yet when Man Utd were awarded a penalty 90 seconds into the season, everybody knew who was going to step up. Don’t get me started on that run-up, but a well-taken penalty in the end. A big season ahead for Pogba and Man Utd and they just about got off to a good start.

Roberto Pereyra – The World Cup showed us the importance of practicing set pieces and Watford have obviously put in some hours over the summer as they basically re-designed the Beckham-Scholes corner of 20ish years ago. Pereyra struck the volley sweetly and it ended up in the top corner via the goalkeeper, but that’s not the point. He also cracked out the “daddy shark” celebration which if you haven’t seen yet, get it on YouTube and you’ll have a new found respect for Bobby P (and a song stuck in your head forever).

Jorginho – Sarri-ball got off to a great start at Huddersfield. Reports of Chelsea’s demise seem to have been greatly exaggerated as they barely had to get out of second gear to beat David Wagner’s side, but Jorginho’s inclusion is down to a petty reason. Did you see his penalty? What is that technique? I’ve watched it about six times and he sort of jumps before he places it calmly past the keeper. I’ve no idea but I’m sure somebody will make a fool of themselves trying it this week.

Ruben Neves – Another rule we live by is scoring a direct free-kick guaranteeing a selection in the team. Ignore the fact that a) the kick was taken about 10 yards further forward than it should have been and b) Pickford made a bit of an error, it was still sweetly hit and Wolves’ worst kept secret is out of the bag. Ruben Neves is rather good. He’ll be back.

Forwards

Richarlison – The man Paul Merson blamed for the transfer window. Yep. The £50m man went some way to paying back his fee by scoring twice on debut and he already seems to have developed a partnership with Cenk Tosun. Everton’s fixture list appears relatively kind to start the season so it’ll be interesting to see if they can make hay whilst the sun shines…so to speak.

Dan Sturridge – Liverpool didn’t miss a beat on Sunday and I probably should include Mane for his goals but instead I’m going with Dan Sturridge. With the score at 3-0, Sturridge arrived on the pitch on 87 minutes and seconds later knocked in their fourth goal from a corner with his first touch. You’ve got to love it when that happens. Having scored six times in pre-season he’s obviously hungry for goals but whilst he will find it hard to get a place in Liverpool’s first choice 11, he can still be an important squad player.

Manager

Mauricio Pochettino – I’ve opted to put Poch in the dugout this week as I feel he’s done a great job this week of deflecting criticism. Tottenham became the first club in Premier League history to buy nobody at all in the summer transfer window, as well as having a large number of their squad involved in the latter stages of the World Cup. Pochettino was brave in picking a number of players who had had little to no pre-season but was rewarded with goals from two of them and three points. It wasn’t always pretty but they got the job done.

That’s all from me this week but I’ll be back next week with more of the same. Bye for now.