After another weekend of some great individual performances, theScore puts together a best XI from the latest slate of Premier League fixtures.
GK – Petr Cech
If it wasn’t for Cech, Middlesbrough would’ve recorded its first away league win against Arsenal since a shock 3-0 scalp in 2001. The scrum cap-donner made four saves, including two in quick succession.
CB – Mike van der Hoorn
Van der Hoorn didn’t have the easiest start to his English career until Saturday. The Dutchman continually thwarted Watford’s particularly meaty lot, and helped secure Swansea City’s first clean sheet since the season’s opening day with 12 clearances.
CB – Virgil van Dijk
Southampton’s Van Dijk ensured Sergio Aguero was quiet throughout a 1-1 draw at Manchester City, winning all of his aerial duels, clearing the ball from danger nine times, and winning four tackles. The greatest aspect of the Dutchman’s game, however, is how he strides out of defence with great confidence. A top talent.
CB – Cesar Azpilicueta
Antonio Conte has placed plenty of trust in Azpilicueta in his back three, and the Spaniard is repaying the faith. Manchester United admittedly posed little threat Sunday, but he was solid when called upon and also provided support in attacks.
RM – Adama Traore
Just a week after being eviscerated by Modou Barrow, Nacho Monreal fell victim to Adama Traore’s pace. The former Aston Villa man made his first start for Middlesbrough, with some suggesting he hit 23 mph – a speed unprecedented in Premier League football.
CM – Oriol Romeu
Romeu kept Manchester City’s star-studded midfield quiet by any means, putting in an impressive eight tackles and making three interceptions. The 25-year-old is finally showing the promise evident during his stints at Barcelona and Chelsea, and has a blooming partnership with Steven Davis in the middle of the park.
CM – Mousa Dembele
One of the Premier League’s finest midfielders was at his stingy best in Saturday’s 0-0 at Bournemouth, contributing six tackles, an interception, and two clearances, in addition to a 92.8 passing percentage. Dembele, despite the arrivals of Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama, is arguably Tottenham’s most important player.
LM – Marcos Alonso
Amid all the chaos surrounding David Luiz’s return to Chelsea, Alonso’s arrival fell under the radar. He’s far from the average youngster that turned out for Bolton Wanderers, and developed into a tidy and versatile performer at Fiorentina. A valuable asset for Conte.
FW – Xherdan Shaqiri
Shaqiri’s penchant for scoring a cracker continues as Stoke City’s Swiss maverick pocketed a 30-yard screamer and a free-kick with physics-defying dip and spin. He’s inconsistent, but on occasion – like Saturday at Hull City – he can showcase his creativity and audacity to cataclysmic affect.
FW – Shinji Okazaki
It wasn’t exactly a classic weekend for out-and-out centre-forwards, but Okazaki’s return to the lineup brought unpredictability and – of course – tirelessness to the attack. He blended his directness and sensible use of possession well, and could’ve bagged more than his solitary effort.
FW – Eden Hazard
When Hazard cockily walked with the ball at his feet after an hour of United’s visit, you sensed the Belgian was back to his best. After offloading, he made a smart off-the-ball run, neatly latched onto Nemanja Matic’s pass, sent Chris Smalling to the burger stand, and finished. Any lingering doubts over Hazard’s form were quashed. He’s back in business.