After another weekend of some great individual performances, theScore puts together a best XI from the latest slate of Premier League fixtures.
GK – Lee Grant
That Stoke City escaped Old Trafford with a point – one that could prove vital to Mark Hughes’ job security – is thanks largely to the heroics of a 33-year-old shot-stopper who is on loan from Derby County. Go figure. Lee Grant stood on his head in Sunday’s 1-1 draw, frustrating Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co. by making eight saves in a man-of-the-match showing.
LB – James Milner
Necessitated by Alberto Moreno’s defensive ineptitude, James Milner continues to be shoehorned in at left-back by Jurgen Klopp, and the versatile veteran has certainly helped solidify Liverpool’s main problem area. Finding the net from the spot once again in a slim win over Swansea, Milner remains one of England’s most underappreciated footballers.
CB – Toby Alderweireld
The rock upon which Tottenham’s league-best defence is built, the Belgian helped shackle Manchester City’s potent attack in a 2-0 triumph that left Spurs as the Premier League’s only undefeated side. Alderweireld, 27, is positionally astute, physically gifted, and technically sound, all vital qualities in a high-pressing system that can leave central defenders vulnerable.
CB – Michael Keane
A colossus at the heart of Burnley’s backline in the unfortunate, last-second defeat to Arsenal, Michael Keane put in arguably the best defensive showing of anybody in the top flight this weekend. With the Clarets sitting deep and absorbing constant pressure, Keane’s six clearances were massive in helping the club come within seconds of earning a point.
RB – Joel Ward
Continuing to fly under the radar at Selhurst Park, Joel Ward once again went about his business in his trademark unspectacular style, offering both an attacking outlet and defensive solidity for Crystal Palace in Friday evening’s 1-1 draw against Everton. Ward, 26, racked up his first assist of the campaign by floating in an inviting cross for Christian Benteke.
DM – Victor Wanyama
A one-man wrecking crew at White Hart Lane on Sunday. The Kenyan controlled the middle of the pitch, always seeming to be in the right position as he broke up City attacks at will, and allowed his teammates to get forward while he mopped up behind them. His six successful tackles led all Tottenham players, one of which leading directly to Spurs’ opening goal of the contest when he dispossessed Fernandinho.
RW – Nacer Chadli
Adding some sparkle to an otherwise perennially dull West Brom attack, Nacer Chadli hit his third goal in four matches since moving to the Baggies, the Belgian winger firing home a left-footed laser in the draw with Sunderland. Tony Pulis’ side will never be must-see viewing, but Chadli does offer some attacking intrigue.
CM – N’Golo Kante
In what could be the most important development of Chelsea’s season thus far, N’Golo Kante looked for the first time like the N’Golo Kante of last season, seeming to settle in as he anchored the midfield in the win over Hull City. Though he spurned a great opportunity by blazing it over the bar, the indefatigable Frenchman was at the heart of the action: He completed 70 passes (a personal record since moving to England), made four interceptions, and recovered the ball 13 times.
CM – Dele Alli
A sweeping finish highlighted what was an energetic performance from the young English star, as Alli – along with Christian Eriksen – dictated play in the top-of-the-table clash with Manchester City.
LW – Dimitri Payet
The French dribbling wizard cemented his place on this list with a moment of utter brilliance Saturday, eviscerating a handful of Middlesbrough defenders en route to scoring one of the goals of the season. The labyrinthine run helped put an end to West Ham’s dismal Premier League losing skid.
FW – Diego Costa
Grating as his antics are to watch every week, when Diego Costa keeps the histrionics to a minimum, he remains one of the most intimidating strikers on the planet. The snarling Spaniard solidified Chelsea’s win at Hull City with a sweet curler on Saturday, and now sits atop the league pile with six goals on the campaign.