Team of the Week – Game week 13 | Virgin Media
Team of the Week - Game week 13

Team of the Week - Game week 13

29/11/2016Sport

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With the top flight taking shape it appears that the days of a one-horse race in the Premier League are now a distant memory.

While there is no equivalent – and probably never will be – to Leicester’s achievement last season, a return to competitiveness in the upper reaches are most welcome.

Chelsea appear to be the favourites after they came from behind to beat Tottenham, but victories for both Liverpool and Manchester City kept them in touch with the in-form Blues.

Elsewhere there were much-needed wins for Swansea and Southampton, while Arsenal also beat Bournemouth at the Emirates.

Having picked through the bones of another weekend, here are the top performers. 

 

Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph (West Ham)

It doesn’t take much to rile Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho – and indeed he was already seated in the stands by the time Hammers keeper Randolph turned on cheat mode to deny his side a win.

The Republic of Ireland international made six saves in all on just his second start of the season, keeping out Zlatan Ibrahimovic on more than one occasion, while also preventing Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard from scoring. Randolph pretty much earned his side a vital point.


Right-back: Cedric Soares (Southampton)

It is no coincidence that the Portuguese fullback’s injury coincided with a period of poor form for Southampton. With him back in the side, Saints looked a much better-rounded team in their comfortable 1-0 win over Everton on Sunday.

Cedric banished memories of Cuco Martina’s shaky displays, constantly threatening down the flank, while simultaneously dealing with Everton’s wingers. It was from his accurate delivery that Charlie Austin eventually opened the scoring. Saints fans will be glad to see him back.  


Centre-back: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)

Otamendi hasn’t always looked the £30 million defender he was billed as. But faced with a difficult route-one task at Turf Moor on Saturday he stood up and helped earn his side a valuable three points.

The Argentine made a whopping 18 clearances in all to deal with the barrage from the Clarets and commanded the box. It was a promising performance from a potentially-key player for Pep Guardiola.

 

Centre-back: Gareth McAuley (West Brom)

The fact that McAuley is West Brom’s second-highest goal scorer says a lot about Tony Pulis’ style of play – but it also says a lot about the veteran Northern Ireland international’s ability in the air.

Like he has down so frequently in the past, McAuley rose highest to thump in a set piece for his third league goal of the season during the Baggies’ otherwise fairly bleak 1-1 draw with Hull on Saturday. He also made six interceptions – the most than any other defender on the weekend.

 

Left-back: James Milner (Liverpool)

Mr Reliable did it again on the weekend, stepping up to score yet another penalty. His late striker in the 2-0 win over Sunderland made it five in the league this season, but it’s not just his dead ball consistency that stands out.

Left-back was a real problem spot for Jurgen Klopp. Yet a month on and it doesn’t seem so anymore. That is all down to Milner’s hard work and adaptability. 


Centre-midfield: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

Another dependable Liverpool performer is the captain, who once again ran the show from the middle of the pitch. Henderson racked up over 100 passes again as he dictated the tempo, spread the play and generally conducted traffic from the base of midfield.

The 26-year-old has taken on responsibility and it has had a resoundingly positive effect.
 

Centre-midfield: Leroy Fer (Swansea City)

Fer banged in two goals to make it six for the season and help Swansea win a fairly ridiculous game in South Wales. The Dutchman scored two in as many minutes to send Bob Bradley’s Swans 3-1 up and apparently secure the American’s first win at the club.

As it proved it wasn’t that simple, with a 5-4 score line requiring two injury-time goals from substitute Fernando Llorente. Fer certainly laid the groundwork for a crucial win which lifted his side off bottom spot.

Centre-midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)

Fer’s partner in crime was, as ever, Sigurdsson. The Icelander curled in a customary delicious free-kick to get things rolling and was on hand to provide the bullets in the dying minutes.

Crystal Palace may not be able to defend set pieces, but Sigurdsson’s deliveries, which effectively won the game, were – and are – consistently wonderful.

 

Striker: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

The Chilean is a man on fire. Sanchez has made a habit of dragging Arsenal over the line and the 3-1 win over Bournemouth was no exception.

It was Sanchez who was alert to pounce on Steve Cook’s under-hit back-pass to open the scoring, and with the minutes running out, it was him again who was bursting into the box to tuck in Olivier Giroud’s cut-back. In between those moments he was non-stop.


Striker: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Another two-goal, match-winning striker was Aguero, who pounced twice to help City take three points away from Turf Moor. The Argentine was alert to a loose ball from a corner and in the right place at the right time to nudge in Fernandinho’s cross.

It was a tough game for City and despite a poor performance they got over the line – largely thanks to their goal machine.

 

Striker: Alvaro Negredo (Middlesbrough)

Negredo hadn’t found the net for nearly 10 hours of Premier League football before Boro’s game with Leicester, but as is often the case he broke the duck with a double.

Firstly he benefited from a touch of good fortune to finish from Gaston Ramirez’s cross before running onto a through-ball to power in a left-footed shot to evoke the Negredo of old. A proper centre-forwards performance from ‘The Beast’.

Write-up by Felix Keith for Squawka.com