Chelsea and Manchester United dominate in 101’s Team of the Week
101’s Team of the Week
With 32 goals scored across the ten fixtures, it is safe to say that the opening weekend of the new Premier League season lived up to the hefty expectations. Of course, the major talking point was fans returning to the stadium en masse, and the entertainment matched the gusto from the supporters.
But who stood out in Gameweek one? 101 take a look at the first team of the week of the season.
Alisson, for the most part, was a spectator at Carrow Road, but was strong when called into action. An early save from Teemu Pukki prevented any sniff of an upset, while a late, seemingly impossible save ensured the clean sheet in his chase for the golden glove.
Not one, not two, but boss @AlissonBecker saves! ⛔ pic.twitter.com/OEE1Nuywu6
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 15, 2021
With Virgil van Dijk now restored to the heart of the Liverpool defence, Alisson may not be called into action too much, but will need to continue making outstanding saves when called upon.
What a performance from the young Tottenham defender.
Ravaged by injury last campaign, the 22-year-old was limited to just 6 Premier League appearances last campaign, but was handed a chance against Manchester City.
Given the small task of keeping Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish quiet, Tanganga excelled, although he was perhaps happy not to end up in the book for persistent fouling in the first half.
Japhet Tanganga’s game by numbers vs. Man City:
100% long ball accuracy
90% pass accuracy
4 duels won
4 fouls committed
No way past. ⛔ pic.twitter.com/Xo67Ngrgii
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 15, 2021
Nevertheless, in new manager Nuno Espirito Santo’s first game in charge, Tanganga made the right-back position his own and ensured that he will, if he continues, play a huge part in Tottenham’s upcoming season.
Another young English defender with a bright future, Trevor Chalobah only made his competitive debut for Chelsea in their Super Cup win over Villareal last week. However, his performance deemed him worthy of a Premier League debut in the eyes of Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.
22 year old Chalobah repaid the faith shown in him with a performance of the highest quality, able to move through the lines with the ball as well as looking composed and sharp with his passing.
The icing on the cake, however, was his strike from 30 yards for Chelsea’s third goal, in front of a once again packed Stamford Bridge.
So much emotion from Trevoh Chalobah after scoring his first Premier League goal in his first Premier League match pic.twitter.com/1ywkWFqe9E
— Goal (@goal) August 15, 2021
Truly, it is the stuff that dream debuts are made of.
Another fairytale story this weekend came in the form of Ethan Pinnock. The Brentford defender was a stalwart during their 2-0 defeat of Arsenal on the opening evening of the Premier League season.
Pinnock, now 28 years old, was playing non-league football as recently as four years ago, and only signed for Brentford in 2019.
From 6ft4 midfielder who ‘wasn’t that good in the air’ to an unflappable, man-mountain CB
Helping Forest Green out of National League in 2016-17
Ivan Toney: ‘Hopefully I never have to play against him again’
Ethan Pinnock: non-League to PL in four years
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) August 12, 2021
Nevertheless, his calm persona helped Brentford keep the Gunners from firing, while he also contributed an assist for the opening goal. Well worth his spot.
What a redemption arc this could prove to be. Marcos Alonso was thought to be on the verge of an exit from the club earlier this summer, but has started both the Super Cup victory and the opening day game as Ben Chilwell returns to full fitness.
It was the Spaniard that opened the scoring too, firing a beautiful free-kick past Vicente Guaita, who was unmoved.
Marcos Alonso has scored a goal in every season he has played for Chelsea in the Premier League:
16/17: 31 games, 6 goals
17/18: 33 games, 7 goals
18/19: 31 games, 2 goals
19/20: 18 games, 4 goals
20/21: 13 games, 2 goals
21/22: 1 game, 1 goal
Not bad for a defender. pic.twitter.com/wITfrDJ6mM
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 14, 2021
While Alonso may not be the best defender in a flat back four, as a left wing-back in the three that Tuchel has preferred since taking over, he is one of the best.
So often, Paul Pogba has been questioned about the discrepancy between his performances for Manchester United and those for the French National side. His five years back in Manchester have been punctuated by stellar performances, but they are often few and far between.
If his contribution against Leeds United is anything to go by, however, this could be a fantastic season for the Frenchman.
Deployed on the left-wing, Pogba turned in a performance of the highest class, picking up four assists including a fantastic slide-rule pass to set Mason Greenwood through on goal.
The vision from Pogba
The clinical edge from Greenwood
The perfect response from Man Utd! pic.twitter.com/OIrcsKN4EQ
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 14, 2021
Amid rumours of a move to PSG on a free transfer next summer, if Pogba can continue turning in performances such as that, Manchester United will surely move mountains to keep him.
Fantasy Premier League players around the world were sent into ecstasy with the performance of Bruno Fernandes. Like Paul Pogba, the Portuguese international arrived for a big fee and to much fanfare.
Unlike Pogba however, being inconsistent is certainly not a criticism that could be levelled at Fernandes, with his goal and assist return since joining speaking for itself.
And he continued the new season in the same vein too, netting an impressive hat-trick during the demolition of Leeds, in front of a jubilant Old Trafford.
I was waiting for a full Old Trafford to score my first ever hat trick for this incredible club
Thank you for coming! Football is so much better with you! #mufc pic.twitter.com/2XcadJEzG7
— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) August 14, 2021
If Fernandes and Paul Pogba can link up for the rest of the season as well as they did on Saturday, United may well be considered title challengers.
After a difficult first season, Jesse Lingard’s return to Manchester United could have opened the door for Said Benrahma to step up to the plate. The Algerian joined the Hammers from Brentford last summer but failed to make much of an impression on either David Moyes or the West Ham faithful.
However, with a successful pre-season under his belt, Benrahma hit the ground running against Newcastle United, scoring a goal and providing an assist on the way to a 4-2 win at St James’ Park.
Don’t sleep on Said Benrahma this season. He’s found his feet at West Ham now.
— Sam Inkersole (@Sam_InkersoleTM) August 15, 2021
At the risk of sounding cliche, if Benrahma can continue to produce the goods for West Ham, his addition would be like a new signing.
Mohammed Salah was the standout performer in a disappointing Liverpool season last time out, and continued his scoring form against newly-promoted Norwich. In fact, Salah had a hand in all three goals, providing two assists to help Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino onto the scoresheet too.
Mohamed Salah = 1st player to score on the opening weekend in 5 consecutive Premier League campaigns. ⚽#UCL pic.twitter.com/jpL07B0d3h
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 16, 2021
By scoring, Salah set another record, becoming the first player to score in five successive Premier League opening games. With his impressive record since joining Liverpool, it is hard to look beyond him for yet another golden boot.
Heung Min Son
Ahead of the game, all of the focus was on Harry Kane and his imminent future, with further speculation circulating when he was nowhere to be seen in the Tottenham squad.
Son Heung-min has now scored 7️⃣ times against Manchester City.
Here’s the latest to add to the collection. ⚽️pic.twitter.com/kDoXbP5Xzl
— VBET UK (@VBET_uk) August 16, 2021
On the pitch however, it was Kane’s partner in crime Heung Min Son who stepped up to the mantle, firing in the only goal of the game as the Lilywhites proved that they are more than just the England captain, and the result will surely leave Kane wondering just where his future should lie.
Richarlison must be running on fumes at this point, having played in both the Copa America and the 2020 Olympics this summer. However, in his first game back on Merseyside, he provided a goal and an assist in Rafa Benitez’s opening day victory over Southampton.
There was a special reception at USM Finch Farm today for our returning Brazilian! #EFC @richarlison97 pic.twitter.com/nFvjF8mPY8
— Everton (@Everton) August 11, 2021
With no major transfers having joined the side, it may well fall on Richarlison and Dominic Calvert Lewin to fire Everton up the table.
Who did we miss out?