Another thrilling weekend of English Premier League football and it’s not hard to see why it’s the most watched league in the world or why we love it to bits. Pep Guardiola finally got the welcome to the Premier League a lot of his detractors had been expecting since he announced his move to Manchester City last December. A 2-0 thumping ended the Citizens flying start to the season and reminded any of the Etihad faithful who might have been lulled into a false sense of domination that no one is ever out of reach in the EPL. No one. There was more going on though and a Joe Allen strike (not entirely sure it should be called that but I’ll let it pass) earned the Potters a well deserved draw as Man United struggle to find a decent stretch of form. Sunderland continued their relegation struggles as they could only secure a draw at home to West Brom courtesy of latest talisman Patrick van Anholt and Antonio Conte could breathe easy as Chelsea made lightwork of an overmatched Hull side.

 

An exciting 2-2 draw between Watford and Bournemouth capped a fine Saturday full of goals yet it remains a mystery how Jack Wilshere wasn’t able to snatch all 3 points for the visitors. Leicester’s title defence is off to the bumbling start I expected even if they do have some joy on the continental front. Their 0-0 draw at the King Power to Claude Puel’s Southampton side was the kind of narrow escape that would have been priceless when they were completing their title chase. At the beginning of a season, it only portends a difficult time for the foxes this year. Resurgent Liverpool struggled against Swansea but still went home victors courtesy of a James “Gerrard” Milner penalty – his fourth of the season.

 

There were thrills, spills, chills and goals all around. Pep got his ass handed to him by an another Argentine managerial ace and chants of “Pep is a fraud” can once again ring true all over our timelines.

Here’s my select EPL team of the week courtesy of the 352NG team:

GOALKEEPER 

Lee Grant (Stoke)

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9 shots. 8 saves. All the numbers you need to realize the absolute stormer of a day he had. Stoke City have Butland stand-in Lee Grant to thank for the hard earned point at the Theatre of Dreams. If he continues this way, Butland might have some competition on his hand for that no 1 spot and Stoke might have more protection for their goal than Fort Knox.

FULL BACKS 

Patrick Van Anhonlt (Sunderland).

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So technically, Patrick played midfield today but I simply couldn’t leave him out of this week’s team. He’s been instrumental for relegation bound Sunderland this season and even if his effort hasn’t always paid off with a win, his equalizer off the bench earned David Moyes a crucial point in his fight to avoid the drop.

Kyle Walker (Spurs)

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Kyle Walker is fast! I mean blistering fast and he’s run away with the right back slot in my team of the week. His decision making was excellent in a masterclass performance by the entire Spurs backline and his blistering pace meant that Raheem Sterling posed little threat to the Spurs’ goal. Sterling had an awful afternoon at the Lane and Spurs fans have their lightning quick right back to thank for that.

CENTER  BACKS

Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal)

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Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years at the helm (wow!) with a scrappy 1-0 win over promoted side, Burnley. He’d had been delighted with the win nonetheless though given how his last milestone ended (6-0, Mourinho nightmares). It mattered for little though and Arsene will rest easy just 2 points of the top of the table. Mustafi was a late transfer deal but the Professor deserve a lot of credit for taking his time on this one as the German defender is proving a real gem in the Arsenal defence alongside goalscrorer Koscielny. He made a few slights but recovered quickly and was dominant in the air all game as the Gunners earned a second consecutive clean sheet.

Toby Aldeweireld (Spurs)

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If you think Toby is the Premier League’s best defender at the moment, you wouldn’t be wrong. His partnership with Jan Ventorgen was at the heart of all Spurs managed to accomplish last season and he doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. He hardly put a foot wrong all game against title contenders, City and his display was a professional as it was elegant.

CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS

Bamidele Alli

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PFA Young Player of the Year, big game merchant. Dele Alli is only 20 years old but has started for England and is a key piece in the Poch cog. Another sublime finish to go with the one he scored last year against Man Utd and there are suggestions he has a special liking for the clubs north-west of the country. He got into the right spaces and combined well with Son Hueng-Min as Spurs ran City ragged.

Victor Wanyama (Spurs)

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He had a shaky debut for Spurs but has since found his footing and was instrumental in making sure Tottenham’s high press was not easily found out. He provided adequate cover, made decisive tackles and was very comfortable on the ball. Contender for signing of the season maybe?

WIDE MIDFIELDERS

Dimitri Payet (West Ham)

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His sublime finish was too good not to have earned his team all 3 points but it does earn him a slot in my XI. He was a constant threat at the ‘Boro defence and continues a run of games where’s he played well but West Ham have been unable to get over the hump. There seems to have been no drop off from the Euros (where he was pretty good anyways) and West Ham may need to rely more on him to get back to last season’s heights.

Yannick Bolasie (Everton)

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Ronald Koeman hasn’t had the best of starts at Everton but can take away some positives from their last match in the form of a top Bolasie performance. The winger’s direct style created chances that the Toffees could have converted to give Koeman the win but failed to. A team of the week slot is little consolation though as Everton looks to get into one of those coveted European spots.

FORWARDS

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

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There’s a new fearsome quartet at the Kop this season and leading the line is Firmino. A goal and an assist ensured that Liverpool went home winners and finished the weekend in a Champions League spot (the last time must have been ages ago). Firmino is having a good season and this can only spell good news for the Anfield faithful who watched him struggle last season.

Diego Costa (Chelsea)

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He leads the EPL scoring charts and that underlines the massive influence he’s had in Chelsea’s faltering start to the season. Another goal and an assist to set up Willian for the first goal was enough to overhaul Hull City at the KCOM. No questions of whether he should have been on the pitch this time as he kept a cool head to hand Chelsea a much needed 3 points.

 

That’s my select EPL XI of the week. If you think someone else was more deserving, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll check them out. Another week in the EPL and another weekend well spent by football lovers round the globe.

Article By: Temiloluwa Durojaiye

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