Premier League football returned this weekend following the dreaded international break. Chelsea ended the weekend top of the pile as they recorded their sixth straight league victory with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Middlesbrough on Sunday. Liverpool missed an opportunity to stretch their lead at the top of the table as the were involved in a goalless stalemate at Southampton. Meanwhile Manchester City left it late to see off Crystal Palace thanks to a Yaya Toure double on his return to the first team.
Manchester United were denied all three points against Arsenal as Olivier Giroud netted from the bench late on to cancel out Juan Mata’s opening strike. Tottenham Hotspur remain the only unbeaten team in the league as Harry Kane scored a brace right at the death to come from behind and beat West Ham United 3-2 in a thriller at White Hart Lane. Everton and Swansea played out a 1-1 draw keeping the latter at the bottle of the table while reigning champions Leicester City fell to defeat at Watford. Elsewhere there was a much-needed win for Sunderland over Hull City while Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion picked up wins over Stoke City and Burnley respectively. The MUFCLatest team of the week is as follows:
GK: Jordan Pickford – Sunderland: The Black Cats picked up their second league victory in a row with a 3-0 win over relegation threatened Hull City. The England under-21 international made five saves as his Sunderland side ran riot against the Tigers.
RB: Antonio Valencia – Manchester United: The Ecuadorian has been somewhat of an unsung hero for Jose Mourinho this season and picked up the man of the match award in United’s 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Saturday. He’s really made the right back spot at Old Trafford his own.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – Southampton: The Dutch defender put in a solid display in his sides goalless stalemate with title challengers Liverpool, much like he has for the majority of this campaign. His performance was summed up when he made a terrific tackle on former Saints player Sadio Mane when the Liverpool forward looked set to score in the first half.
CB: Joel Matip – Liverpool: At the other end Liverpool had their own defensive rock in the form of former Schalke man Joel Matip. The Cameroonian joined on a free in the summer and has slotted into Jurgen Klopp’s effortlessly. No player made won more aerial challenges (8) than Matip.
LB: Nathan Ake – Bournemouth: On-loan Chelsea defender Nathan Ake was excellent in the Cherries win at Stoke on Saturday and deservedly scored the match winner. He netted midway through the first half to give Bournemouth three points but did his job at the other end, making 15 clearances, more than any other Bournemouth player.
CM: Roberto Pereyra – Watford: The Argentine was a bit of a surprise signing in the summer when he swapped Juventus for the Hornets and has shown glimpses of his quality since joining but the performance against reining champions Leicester on Saturday was his best yet. He scored the hosts second goal in the 2-1 win over Claudio Ranieri’s men.
CM: Yaya Toure – Manchester City: What a statement Yaya Toure made on his return to the first team. Deemed surplus to requirements by City boss Pep Guardiola, the Ivorian was handed a surprise start against Crystal Palace and he reminded every one of his qualities with both goals in a 2-1 victory.
CM: Etienne Capoue – Watford: What a season the former Spurs midfielder is having at Watford. Having gone all last term without finding the net, his opener within the first minute against Leicester on Saturday was his fifth strike this season! Just 33 seconds were on the clock when Capoue volleyed home, the Hornets fastest ever Premier League goal.
CAM: Juan Mata – Manchester United: The Manchester United playmaker was lauded by pundit Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football and rightly so. The Spaniard struck midway through the second half which looked set to give his side all three points, that was until Olivier Giroud netted late on. Mata has been involved in 83 goals (42 goals, 41 assists) since he came to the Premier League in 2011, the most of any midfielder in the same period.
ST: Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane’s late, late brace somehow earned Spurs all three points against a West Ham United side who were leading 2-1 to the good in the 88th minute. He tapped in the equaliser with 1 minute of normal time remaining before keeping his composure in added time with a coolly struck penalty. Spurs remain the only undefeated side this season.
ST: Victor Anichebe – Sunderland: Anichebe’s double helped struggling Sunderland to their second league win in a row with a resounding victory over Hull City. It was his first Premier League brace for almost a decade! The little and large partnership of Jermain Defoe and Anichebe could just be the tonic in helping the Black Cats survive.