The top three in the Premier League all failed to pick up maximum points this weekend, meaning wins for Liverpool and Chelsea leave the top of the table looking very tight. Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur all drew their respective matches this weekend while Liverpool and Chelsea won at home which means the top five sides are separated by just one point.
Spurs missed a chance to move top of the pile as they drew on the south coast against Bournemouth in Saturday’s early kick-off while North London rivals Arsenal played out a goalless stalemate on Arsene Wenger’s 67th birthday as Middlesbrough more than held their own at the Emirates. Man City moved into top spot on Sunday, however, had to settle for a point against a Southampton side who took a first-half lead at the Etihad.
Liverpool knew a victory by two clear goals against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday evening would send them top, however, had to settle for a 2-1 win despite being two goals to the good at half-time while Chelsea made it an unhappy Stamford Bridge return for Jose Mourinho as his old side put four past Manchester United without reply.
Elsewhere there were much-needed wins for Leicester City, West Ham United, Burnley and Stoke City while Swansea and Watford played out a goalless draw.
The Premier League team of the week is as follows:
GK: Victor Valdes – Middlesbrough: Either keeper at the Emirates could have made it in this week’s team, however, keeping a clean sheet against an Arsenal side who scored six midweek in the Champions League merits Valdes’ inclusion. The former Manchester United and Barcelona keeper thwarted the Gunners abundance of attacking options, making six saves.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea: The Spanish defender didn’t put a foot wrong as his Chelsea side beat Manchester United 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. He made more tackles than any other Chelsea player (four) as well as the joint most clearances (five), he also supported right-sided midfielder Victor Moses well in attack.
CB: Michael Keane – Burnley: Keane’s form this season hasn’t gone unnoticed for newly promoted side Burnley, however, his performance against Everton – especially Romelu Lukaku – in the Claret’s 2-1 victory might just be his best yet. The former Manchester United man kept the Belgian striker quiet all game and made the most interceptions in the Premier League this weekend with 8.
CB: Winston Reid – West Ham United: The New Zealand international would probably have made it into this week’s team of the week even if he didn’t score the last-minute winner against Sunderland on Saturday. He has been resolute at the back for the Hammers in the past few weeks following their poor start to the campaign and he topped his performance off by driving home from the edge of the area in the final minute.
LB: Christian Fuchs – Leicester City: It’s been quite the week for Leicester’s Austrian left-back. He signed a new three-year deal midweek, keeping him at the King Power until at least 2019 before netting his first goal for the Foxes in a 3-1 home win over Crystal Palace on Saturday. The defender made it 3-0 with a sweetly struck volley 10 minutes from time.
CM: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea: After a slow start N’Golo Kante is finally starting to produce the performances that got him his big money move to Stamford Bridge in the summer transfer window. He controlled the midfield once again and topped it off by scoring the fourth midway through the second half after neat footwork found him one on one with David De Gea.
CM: Harry Arter – Bournemouth: Seems to relish the big games at the Vitality Stadium on the south coast. The box to box midfielder dictated the tempo of the game alongside Jack Wilshere who was also impressive. Arter made 7 tackles in the goalless draw against Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
RM: Xherdan Shaqiri – Stoke City: Due to the brilliance of his opening goal against Hull City on Saturday, his free-kick in the second-half, which was just as good, hardly got a mention. The Swiss forward cut in from the right before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top right corner. He then doubled his side’s lead in the second half with a free-kick which he made look effortless.
CAM: Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool: As expected, Liverpool came out of the blocks flying against Tony Pulis’ West Brom and were 2-0 to the good before half-time, much to the brilliance of Philippe Coutinho. The little Brazilian took two Baggies midfielders out the game with a delightful dummy on the halfway line that led to Liverpool’s opener before Coutinho added a fine second 10 minutes before half-time.
LM: Adama Traore – Middlesbrough: The former Barcelona man was a constant threat against Arsenal and almost ruined Arsene Wenger’s birthday celebrations. On another day he would have bagged himself a couple of goals had it not been for Petr Cech in the Arsenal goal.
CF: Eden Hazard – Chelsea: New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte can’t complain about Eden Hazard downing tools this season, much like he did for the majority of last campaign. The Belgian was always looking to get on the ball and looked a real threat going forward. He put in a good shift and was rewarded when he neatly found the bottom corner to make it 3-0 in the second half.