As part of his weekly column with Campus.ie, Andrew Ryan has named his Premier League Team of the Week for Gameweek 8.
GK – David de Gea (Manchester United FC)
Despite reaction from their fanbase online, Manchester United’s draw away to Liverpool was a terrific result, especially when you take the overall performance into account. They were flat, negative and were lucky to escape with the draw, and a significant factor as to why they didn’t lose was due to their Spanish number one. Just take a second to go back and watch his save from Joel Matip in the first half. It was the save of the season thus far. Matip could not have connected with the ball much better than he did and De Gea had no right to have the reflexes to save it, but he did.
Is he the best goalkeeper on the planet? Sound off in the comments.
CB – Joel Matip (Liverpool FC)
And speaking of Matip…
A lot has been made of Liverpool’s struggles at the back this season and rightfully so. Their unpredictability and vulnerability in defence have bogged them down far too often this campaign as it did last season. However, the performance on Saturday will give fans hope for the future, and Joel Matip was at the forefront of that. Manchester United did not mount much of an offence all that often at Anfield, but when they did, they found that Romelu Lukaku was put on a leash by the impressive Matip.
CB – Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace FC)
This won’t be the last Crystal Palace player on this team. Roy Hodgson’s side were magnificent on Saturday. They were brave, ambitious and managed to legitimately outplay the Premier League champions Chelsea.
There were many reasons for this, such as Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend’s relentless partnership going forward, with Cabaye’s and Milivojevic’s displays in the middle, and Mamadou Sakho establishing himself as one of the signings of the season. Sakho, stupid back heels aside, was magnificent at Selhurst Park, solid defensively while setting the tone going the other way, such as his set up for Zaha’s brilliant goal.
CB – Phil Jones (Manchester United FC)
Completing the back 3 is a man that is quietly having an outstanding season. Phil Jones was earmarked by Sir Alex Ferguson as a future Manchester United captain. While that probably won’t happen, Jones is showing just how good he is when fit.
He is an old-fashioned central defender. His first, second, third and fourth priority is to win the ball and protect his goal at any cost. He has been exceptionally solid and brave this season. There have been several star performers in the Manchester United team this season, and Phil Jones is certainly up there with them, especially after his performance at Anfield in a game that Liverpool threatened to run rampant.
RWB – Joe Gomez (Liverpool FC)
20-year-old Joe Gomez was outstanding at Anfield and well worthy of his man-of-the-match accolade. It takes a lot to keep Anthony Martial quiet given his early season blistering form, but Gomez achieved just that. He was exceptional at right-back for the Merseysiders, while also supplying plenty of support out wide going forward.
CM – Luka Milivojevic (Crystal Palace FC)
The second Crystal Palace name on this team is the 26-year-old Serbian Luka Milivojevic. While it was tempting to include one of Yohann Cabaye or Tom Cleverley in this spot, I could not possibly look past Milivojevic. He was a rock in the middle of the field for Palace against Chelsea while possessing the composure to keep the ball when required. He dominated Fabregas and Bakayoko in the middle of midfield alongside Cabaye. More performances like this and Palace might just survive after all.
CM – Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City FC)
This guy is other-worldly.
Kevin de Bruyne is having the time of his life in a special Manchester City side, and his performance against Stoke City was just another of a series of world-class displays from the Belgian. His reverse pass to set Leroy Sané free in the build-up to City’s second goal was truly magnificent in execution and encapsulated how much confidence the man has. His pass for the sixth, however, was a completely different beast.
How he managed to slide the ball through to Sané with a pass that was not even on in the first place defies hyperbole. It was that good. Just go back and watch it. It has to be seen to be believed. Garth Crooks described de Bruyne’s display as being in the “Zinedine Zidane class”, which is hard to disagree with.
LWB – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City FC)
THIS is the Raheem Sterling that was earmarked for stardom at Liverpool. The young Englishman has flattered to deceive since arriving at Manchester City last summer. He was inconsistent at best last season and needed to improve this season to justify a place in an increasingly star-studded Manchester City squad. And boy has he improved.
Sterling has been exemplary so far this season. No longer nervous in front of goal and more comfortable his in his role at the Etihad. City have an embarrassment of riches going forward, and it is that intense competition with the likes of Sané and Gabriel Jesus that has driven Sterling on to be the player everybody knows he could be.
RW – Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
The best young talent to come out of Brazil since Neymar, no doubt.
Gabriel Jesus is a wonderful prospect and he is only 20-years-old. If this were any other season since Aguero arrived at Manchester City, his injury would be a major hit to City’s goal scoring potential. However, this being 2017/18, Manchester City have Gabriel Jesus to take the Argentinian’s place and he is most certainly bringing the goods. His pace, positioning, and movement are fantastic to watch, and his chemistry with the rest of his teammates is a joy to behold. He chipped in with two goals on Saturday afternoon, bringing his tally up to six so far in the league, and with service from de Bruyne and others being as good as it is, expect that tally to soar.
ST – Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace FC)
Going into Saturday afternoon at Selhurst Park, Palace had played seven games, scored none, and registered no points. Fast forward 90 exhilarating minutes and Palace had beaten the champions of England 2-1. All thanks to Wilfried Zaha.
Zaha’s work rate on Saturday was second to none. He put everything into the game against Chelsea to kick Palace’s season into gear and it paid dividends. Zaha rinsed the Chelsea back three every chance he got, with his pace proving too hot to handle for the usually reliable defence. The energy he put into the game never ceased from the first minute to the last.
His goal, a brilliant piece of individuality, was the icing on the cake of a terrific first half display. His second half performance was far more workmanlike than the first half as Chelsea sought a way back into the game, but he never let up. It was an example of how to lead from the front and was the total performance.
LW – Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace FC)
That’s right – four Crystal Palace players in my team of the week.
In truth, Wilfried Zaha would have received my Man of the Match against Chelsea, but it is easy to see why Andros Townsend got it instead. Townsend was magnificent and dogged on Saturday afternoon. He worked relentlessly hard for the team to secure the 3 points while giving the Chelsea midfield and defence a nightmare going the other way. His chemistry with Wilfried Zaha was the driving force being the Palace performance as both men put their heart and soul into winning the game.
Usually so stable for the Premier League champions, Marcos Alonso’s dreams are sure to be haunted by Townsend barrelling towards him.
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