Premier League Team of the Weekend – Nov 19-20

Chelsea continued their impressive run of form to jump to the top of the league and take advantage of Liverpool’s draw against Southampton. See who performed the best in our EPL Team of the Week…

Keeper
Jordan Pickford (Sunderland)

The young Englishman kept the Black Cats in the match against Hull in the first 20 minutes with three outstanding saves. Those three crucial moments meant David Moyes’ side survived the early pressure to go on and win the match comfortably. In particular, the stops from Sam Clucas and Dieumerci Mbokani demonstrated why he has been called up to Gareth Southgate’s last two England squads.

Defenders

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Valencia was a constant menace down the right-hand side for Manchester United all afternoon against Arsenal in the early kick-off on Saturday and has possibly been the Red Devils’ best player all season. Returning from a broken nose, the Ecuadorian was not only dangerous going forward but solid defensively, too. He could have arguably had a penalty awarded to him as well when he was challenged by Nacho Monreal in the area.

After the match, Juan Mata praised Valencia: “He is a beast. He is a great player and very important for us, defending and going forward. He gives us a lot on the right flank.”

Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)

Adam Smith’s suspension forced Eddie Howe into a defensive reshuffle for the Premier League match against Stoke, with Simon Francis moving to right-back and Ake joining Steve Cook in the centre of defence. The new-look backline were impressive against the Potters, with Ake not putting a foot wrong all match. The Dutch-born centre-back grabbed the all-important goal in the 1-0 away win with a header from a Junior Stanislas cross.

Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)

The Dutch international helped Southampton keep a clean sheet against the Premier League’s most dangerous attack by marshalling his fellow defenders when they could have been overwhelmed. There was one shaky moment for Van Dijk when he appeared to pull Roberto Firmino’s shirt when he was through on goal, but luckily for him Mark Clattenburg wasn’t interested. That incident aside, the defender was immaculate and a block on former team-mate Sadio Mane was a particular highlight for the 25-year-old.

Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)

As one of the wing-backs in Antonio Conte’s new 3-4-3 formation, Alonso is one of a number of players thriving in the new system. Against Middlesbrough, the Spaniard demonstrated his fantastic ability to get in to useful forward positions and provide an outlet for Chelsea. And although he made a couple of poor decisions in possession, he worked well to create chances and had a shot saved himself.

Midfielders

Harry Winks (Tottenham)

Winks made his first Premier League start for Tottenham on Saturday after four substitute cameos this season. The 20-year-old did not look out of place as he was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up for the London derby against West Ham. Neat and tidy on the ball, Winks was rewarded for getting into some good positions with goal to cancel out Michail Antonio’s opener for the Hammers. His direct approach will have pleased Spurs fans, who went home happy after Harry Kane’s late double made it a full debut to remember for the youngster.

On his debut Tottenham goal, Winks said: “For me after I scored it was just a blur. It was brilliant. I thought all the lads were brilliant today but for me I am just over the moon still.”

Ander Herrera (Manchester United)

Along with Juan Mata, the Spaniard produced a brilliant midfield performance against Arsenal in the early kick-off on Saturday. Herrera laid the goal on for Mata by showing superb awareness to pull it back before his team-mate executed an exquisite finish. Not only did Herrera get an assist but he was effective in breaking up several promising looking Arsenal moves.

Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

What a return for Toure! Having been seemingly frozen out by Pep Guardiola over the summer and with only a single Champions League appearance to his name this season, you could have been forgiven for thinking it was the end of the line for Toure at City. Maybe not anymore. The Ivory Coast international hammered in two goals on his first Premier League start of the campaign to deliver a narrow victory over Crystal Palace.

Guardiola praised Toure’s performance after the match and insisted he is still part of his plans at the club.

“Yaya is an important part of this club,” Guardiola said. “He is so so important. In the years the club won the Premier League he was a huge personality and his team-mates appreciate him a lot.

“For me it’s a gift because we have another player to compete in the squad. We need all the players and Yaya is one of them.”

Roberto Pereyra (Watford)

Pereyra set up one goal and scored another as Watford downed defending champions Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday. The Argentine looked a threat all game for the Hornets, supplying a delicious cross for Etienne Capoue’s opening goal before curling in the match-winning goal into the top corner.

“The way Roberto Pereyra played, not just the goal he scored, he ran the whole game and I am very happy with him,” Watford manager Walter Mazzarri said after the game.

Strikers

Diego Costa (Chelsea)

The controversial striker is letting his goals speak for themselves this season as his strike against Middlesbrough meant he became the first player to reach double figures in the Premier League this campaign. His goal certainly wasn’t like the blockbuster at Hull last month but it was just as crucial. Boro failed to deal with a corner from Eden Hazard and there was Costa to react quickest and stab the ball home from close range. Not only did the Brazilian-born striker score, he also set up chances for his team-mates and held the ball up superbly throughout.

Victor Anichebe (Sunderland)

Anichebe has been thriving since being given a new lease of life under David Moyes at Sunderland. After inspiring the Black Cats to a win over Bournemouth before the international break, the powerfully built striker was at it again, this time against Hull. His physical presence alongside Jermain Defoe seems to have transformed Sunderland’s fortunes with another two goals against the Tigers. His first was a slick low finish past David Marshall before he hammered home his second off the post late on. He could be turning Sunderland’s season around.

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