Team of the Week - Game week 12

Team of the Week - Game week 12

22/11/2016Sport

Related

The Premier League returned to wake up fans after they were allowed a two-week long snooze during the international break.

Manchester United kicked off the weekend with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal as Olivier Giroud rescued the Gunners.

But the real winners of the weekend were Chelsea, whose 1-0 win over Middlesbrough sent them top of the Premier League following Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Southampton.

Manchester City and Tottenham both won to stay in touch at the top, while Sunderland thrashed Hull City 3-0 to make it back-to-back league wins after none in their opening 10 matches.

Here are the stand-out performers from gameweek 12:

 

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (Sunderland)

The young England goalkeeper continues to impress on every occasion for his side. Against Hull he made five saves to finally keep his first clean sheet of the season.

No goalkeeper has been forced to work as hard for their plaudits as Pickford, who has continually bombarded with shots due to his side’s struggles in the league. He already looks a good bet to be a future England regular.

 

Right-back: Billy Jones (Sunderland)

Another factor in Sunderland’s first shut-out of the season was their fullbacks, with Jones particularly good on the right-hand side. The former West Brom man created two of his side’s eight chances against Hull while getting up and down the touchline.

He is a no nonsense type of defender but not fit and settled into the side he should help David Moyes’ side as they attempt to climb out of trouble.

Could you take Sunderland to safety? Pick your line-up here.

 

Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)

Southampton fans must have mixed feelings about Van Dijk. On the one hand they love watching him perform consistently well and sure up the back line, but on the other they must fear his displays are catching the eye of other teams.

Keeping Liverpool quiet is no easy task, but the big Dutchman led the Saints’ efforts, using his intelligence and sensing of danger to snuff out several opportunities.

 

Centre-back: Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)

Ake has been forced to remain patient for chances at Bournemouth this season, but the Chelsea loanee certainly grabbed it when it came, scoring the winner on his first start for the club with a well-timed header.

The youngster was also composed and solid in defence, dealing well with the aerial threat of Peter Crouch, and Eddie Howe now must be tempted to keep in the side permanently.

 

Left-back: Danny Rose (Tottenham)

Rose definitely has a claim to be one of the most improved players in the league this season. The Spurs and England fullback has been consistently excellent and against West Ham it was no different.

He created three chances against the Hammers - more than any other defender in the Premier League over the weekend – and was one of Spurs’ greatest threats throughout.

 

Right-wing: Michail Antonio (West Ham)

Antonio’s knack of popping up in the right place at the right time and invariably sticking the ball in the net with his head is getting ridiculous.

The recent England international scored his fifth header of the season against Spurs and the 11th of the year to level header specialist Tim Cahill's Premier League’s record. Considering none of West Ham’s strikers has scored a goal yet, Antonio, who has six – twice as many as any other Hammers player – should perhaps try his hand up front.

 

Centre-midfield: Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Toure came in from the cold to score twice and recall his City performances of old in the win against Palace.

The Ivorian scored with both of his attempts against on his first Premier League appearance of the season and pretty much dragged his side over the line. Pep Guardiola was suitably impressive and in one fell swoop it seems Toure has given himself a chance of returning to the team on a more permanent basis.

Think you know better than Poch? Choose Spurs’ XI here

 

Centre-midfield: Harry Winks (Tottenham)

Fairy tales do exist. Winks, a Tottenham academy graduate, made his first Premier League start for his boyhood club and marked it with a first goal.

The way he ran over and celebrated with his manager was another suggestion that Mauricio Pochettino is once again getting the best out of his talented young players. Expect Winks to be given further chances in the centre of the pitch.

 

Left-wing: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Hazard wasn’t even at his best against Middlesbrough and yet he still created six of Chelsea’s 10 chances, while also beating seven players. Now freed from his defensive responsibilities his influence is huge.

The Belgian’s consistency this season is one of the major factors behind the Blues’ form.

 

Striker: Victor Anichebe (Sunderland)

Anichebe didn’t look like the most exciting summer signing, but David Moyes clearly knew what he’d get from his former Everton player.

The big strong striker is excellent at holding the ball up, but has added goals to his game of late, scoring three in the last two matches – including two against Hull. His strike-partnership with the sharp Jermain Defoe could well keep the Black Cats up. 

Is this the best use of Conte’s 3-4-3? Pick the lineup here

 

Striker: Diego Costa (Chelsea)

Costa is simply the best striker in the league at present. Against Boro he scored with his only shot on target and created four chances, while also running the channels well and harrying the opposition’s defence.

His 10th goal of the season came from pure goal scoring instincts and made all the difference for Conte’s side. If he can stay fit and motivated for a whole season, the Blues, unburdened by European football, have a real chance of winning the title.

Write-up by Felix Keith for Squawka.com