Manchester City duo and Brighton man star in 101’s team of the week
After another Premier League weekend to remember, it is Chelsea that hold the lead heading into the international break, courtesy of a 3-1 win over Southampton that sounds far more routine than it was.
By contrast, Watford and Newcastle continued to struggle, with the Hornets parting ways with Xisco Munoz as a result of their 1-0 defeat to Leeds United.
And, of course, there was blockbuster action in the form of Manchester City’s trip to Anfield, in which a high class game ultimately ended even thanks to some individual brilliance.
But who made 101’s team of the week?
GK: Aaron Ramsdale
Few, if any, expected Arsenal to waltz to victory over Brighton. However, the host sides dominance in a drenched Amex stadium was equally surprising.
The Gunners did not look at the races, with their attacks failing to click and their defence constantly penned back. In those games, it is individual moments of brilliance that pull you out of the fire, and Ramsdale offered several.
Coming up clutch
@AaronRamsdale98 #BHAARS pic.twitter.com/M9OVELdc26
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 3, 2021
The Englishman has fast become Mikel Arteta’s no.1, and the Gunners look much better because of it as he continues to make vital saves. While his distribution was by his own admission poor, his shot-stopping was ultimately what allowed Arsenal to walk away with a point.
DF: Marc Cucurella
From one man saving Arsenal, to a man that constantly posed a threat to the Gunners, Marc Cucurella has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water following his move from Getafe in the summer.
Marc Cucurella’s game by numbers vs. Arsenal:
7 duels contested
6 ball recoveries
5 duels won
4 chances created
Looks to be a smart signing by Graham Potter. pic.twitter.com/fqiZxFSXIb
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 2, 2021
Lining up on the left of Brighton’s defence, Cucurella caused Takehiro Tomiyasu problems for much of the game, and was by far and away Brighton’s most threatening player from open play.
While Brighton fans will be looking at 2 points dropped, they will have been incredibly encouraged by what they saw from their latest addition, and will eagerly await him working in tandem with the returning Tariq Lamptey on the opposite flank.
DF: Diego Llorente
Llorente netted the winner, making him a strong shout for this side even before his defensive contribution is taken into account. In his own box too, however, the Spaniard was immense.
A dominant half for #LUFC against #watfordfc & a first goal of the season for Diego Llorente. @NoMeatLtd pic.twitter.com/jbevRI5p38
— Leeds United StatZone (@lufcsz) October 2, 2021
Returning to the side from injury, Llorente eased the injury crisis that Leeds were suffering in the heart of defence, and continued to look calm and considered in possession.
He was not afraid to go toe-to-toe with Newcastle’s forwards either, and made a marked difference to a Leeds side that finally picked up their first win of the season.
DF: Cristian Romero
In all honesty, this was the man I was least confident of putting into this side, but I have opted for Cristian Romero due to the calming presence he brings to the Tottenham defence.
adjective: stylish and sophisticated.
Also see: Cuti Romero. pic.twitter.com/n50lw3SZFU
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 3, 2021
Winner of the Serie A MVP last season, there are high expectations on the shoulders of Romero, especially as Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga flatter to deceive.
While he was partly at fault for the Villa equaliser, his overall performance was one of style and steel, something that Tottenham have not had since their Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen pairing under Mauricio Pochettino.
MF: Andros Townsend
It takes some balls to mock Cristiano Ronaldo’s celebration in front of the Manchester United fans, however that is exactly what Andros Townsend did.
Andros Townsend does the Siiuuuuuu at Old Trafford!
He enjoys a goal in Manchester! A wonderful flowing move! pic.twitter.com/8DYwq0GdY1
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 2, 2021
He later explained the reasoning behind the celebration, but it did not take away ultimately from the quality of his performance. With fellow summer signing Demarai Gray, the pair have given Everton some real threat from wide areas, and some much-needed composure in front of goal.
Townsend will take the plaudits (in this case) for a brilliant team performance, but he personified everything Rafa Benitez was asking of his side. Dogged in defence, he was able to spring forward and effect the game in a major way for the Toffees, who could have snatched all three points.
As for Manchester United, with a tough run of fixtures coming up, they will need to make a decision on Solskjaer that may not be popular.
MF: Bernardo Silva
The first of three players from this game, Bernardo Silva is once again excelling for Manchester City following an uncertain summer. Thrust into the middle of the park by Pep Guardiola in the absence of Ilkay Gundogan, Silva ran the show for the Citizens in the first half.
🎙️ “It was a magical run, it really was.”
Wonderful work from Bernardo Silva, but Alisson denies Phil Foden!
📺 #LIVMCI on Sky Sports Premier League pic.twitter.com/D7J0dLbsaf
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 3, 2021
Alongside the magical run shown above, Silva was outstanding in ensuring that Liverpool never really got a foothold in the first half of the tie at Anfield. If he can keep his performances up for the duration of the season, he will be a key part of City’s title charge.
MF: Ruben Loftus Cheek
When Saul NIguez joined the club on deadline day as midfield reinforcement, it seemed to signal the end of Loftus-Cheek’s Chelsea career. A brilliant talent always blighted by injuries, he has seized his chance in Chelsea’s midfield during Ngolo Kante’s absence.
An assist, and another overall top performance from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The comeback is upon us. He’s back. pic.twitter.com/aGlNFSalHk
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) October 2, 2021
Excelling against Southampton, it remains to be seen if he can remain injury-free and really make a meaningful contribution to this Chelsea squad. When he plays, however, it is always worth sitting up and taking notice.
MF: Heung-Min Son
As Harry Kane continues to misfire, the form of Heung-Min Son is critical to any chances of Tottenham success in the short term. And it is safe to say that he stepped up for Nuno Espirito Santo and his teammates.
Creating the first goal and scoring the second, the South Korean remains lethal in front of goal as well as when it comes to creating chances for his teammates.
Son Heung-min has been involved in 1️⃣1️⃣ goals in his last 1️⃣2️⃣ #PL matches at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (6 goals, 5 assists) 🎯#TOTAVL | @SpursOfficial pic.twitter.com/nOVhzLPvtW
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 4, 2021
While Nuno Espirito Santo may not be the man for the Spurs job ultimately, if he can keep Heung-Min Son firing until Harry Kane finally begins to click back into gear, he has a chance of keeping his job.
FWD: Phil Foden
The biggest compliment to Phil Foden yesterday is that at 21 years old, it was he that was leading the Manchester City attacks even with Kevin de Bruyne on the pitch.
Different gravy 👌@PhilFoden 🤩
🔷 #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re pic.twitter.com/vb6Dsbjvdt
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 4, 2021
His finish to pull City back into the encounter after Liverpool had pulled ahead was clinical, while James Milner was unable to deal with the pace and trickery of the Englishman, picking up a yellow card in the first half.
Ultimately, the game was a tale of two forwards, with Gary Neville awarding Foden one part of the joint man-of-the-match award with Mohamed Salah (spoiler).
FWD: Hwang Hee-Chan
After Raul Jimenez made it off the mark for the season last weekend, it was new signing Hwang Hee-Chan’s turn to bag his first goals of the campaign for Wolves.
💬 “We’ll give everything to give you as many points as we can.”
Ruben on the impact of Hwang, getting that first home win and yesterday’s performance.
— Wolves (@Wolves) October 3, 2021
Already striking up a great partnership with Jimenez, who assisted both of Chan’s goals, Wolves fans will be hoping the pair can bring the best out of each other as they look to recover from an underwhelming start to the campaign.
FWD: Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah was the only reason that Liverpool walked away from Anfield with anything more than a defeat against the reigning champions.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were well off the pace in the first half, and should have been behind heading into the break on the balance of play. However, they weren’t, and the second half saw Salah remind everyone just how good he continues to be.
Firstly, a perfectly weighted pass allowed Sadio Mane to fire past an onrushing Ederson, before he showed immense skill and composure to beat four Manchester City defenders and find the back of the net for Liverpool’s second.
FROM ALL ANGLES
Take a look at Mo Salah’s incredible goal for Liverpool
Liverpool 2-2 Man City: https://t.co/AtQK1V1D8V pic.twitter.com/SLINpeL8Ba
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) October 3, 2021
With Salah in their side, Liverpool remain a force to be reckoned with for the Premier League title. However, they will have to improve on their first half showing.
Who did we miss?