The Premier League returned at the weekend after the dreaded international break and it didn’t disappoint. 27 goals were scored on Saturday and Sunday and that was before Liverpool hosted Manchester United in the Monday Night Football.
League leaders Manchester City failed to pick up three points at home to Everton despite being awarded a spot-kick in either half. Nolito canceled out Romelu Lukaku’s opener after Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero both saw their penalties pushed away by Toffee’s keeper Maarten Stekelenburg. Arsenal took full advantage of City’s slip up to move level on points with Pep Guardiola’s side with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Swansea City at the Emirates. Tottenham Hotspur missed a chance to top the table as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns as Dele Alli scored late on to secure a point following Nacer Chadli’s 82nd-minute opener against his former side.
The game of the weekend (on paper) came at Anfield when Manchester United thwarted Liverpool’s attacking threat to leave with a hard-fought point. Saturday’s early kick-off saw the champions of the previous two seasons go head to head as Chelsea beat reigning champions Leicester 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. Bournemouth hit Hull City for 6 as Mike Phelan’s reign as full-time Tigers boss got off to the worst possible start.
Elsewhere there were home wins for Stoke City and Southampton while West Ham United and Watford recorded away victories against Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough respectively.
The Premier League team of the week is as follows:
GK: Maarten Stekelenburg – Everton: There was a shout for David De Gea’s heroics at Anfield or Ben Foster’s solid display against Spurs but it’s hard to go against two penalty saves in one game, especially at the home of the title favourites. The Dutch keeper saved from Kevin De Bruyne in the first half with the scores goalless before pushing away Aguero’s attempt in the second period.
RB: Antonio Valencia – Manchester United: The Ecuadorian put in a solid shift in the 0-0 stalemate at Anfield on Monday evening however his last-ditch tackle on Roberto Firmino in the final few minutes cemented his place in this week’s team of the week.
CB: David Luiz – Chelsea: The Brazilian defender seems to have matured since his return to Stamford Bridge from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. He seems less concerned about going forward and what he can do on the ball and looks to be concentrating on stopping such balls coming his way. Leicester’s top scorer last season Jamie Vardy didn’t have a sniff against Luiz as Chelsea ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.
CB: Winston Reid – West Ham United: The Hammers entered the weekend in the bottom three and the three points they collected in the London derby against Crystal Palace were much-needed. New Zealand international Reid was pivotal in West Ham securing maximum points. He made 15 clearances against Palace, more than any other West Ham player on the pitch.
LB: Charlie Daniels – Bournemouth: Daniels had a fantastic match marauding up and down the left flank as the Cherries saw off Hull City with ease. It was the left-back who got the scoring underway with a tidy finish inside the opening five minutes. He also had a part to play in the final goal of the game as he set up Dan Gosling to score Bournemouth’s sixth of the afternoon.
CM: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea: The central midfielder faced his former side for the first time following his move from the Premier League champions to Chelsea during the summer transfer window. He didn’t give his ex-employer’s a chance as he covered every blade of grass as his new Chelsea side inflicted a devastating 3-0 defeat against Claudio Ranieri’s men.
CM: Joe Allen – Stoke City: Four goals in three games for the ‘Welsh Pirlo’ suggests that he is enjoying his new lease of life at Stoke City. The former Liverpool midfielder netted the equaliser at Old Trafford last time out before hitting a double at the weekend to cement David Moyes’ Sunderland to the foot of the table.
CM: Ander Herrera – Manchester United: In a match that lacked quality throughout, Ander Herrera was outstanding. He controlled the midfield from start to finish and topped the list in terms of tackles won (eight), take-ons completed (five), interceptions (11) and passes (50). The Spaniard showed true grit and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in, as the stats show.
RM: Theo Walcott – Arsenal: The England international struck twice against Swansea City as Arsenal made hard work of Bob Bradley’s men on Saturday afternoon. It was Walcott’s second brace in as many home games for the Gunners and he has been directly involved in seven goals (five goals, two assists) in his last five games for the joint league leaders.
LM: Junior Stanislas – Bournemouth: The Englishman has only made five appearances for the Cherries this season, however, has been involved in five goals (three goals, two assists) in his last three outings, including his brace in the 6-1 demolition against Hull City at the weekend. He also claimed an assist as he set up Steve Cook to give the home side the lead just before the half-time interval.
ST: Charlie Austin – Southampton: The former Queens Park Rangers and Burnley man has been in impressive form this season. His brace on Sunday took him to seven goals in his last six games for the Saints as Claude Puel’s side moved into the top half with the victory over Burnley.