Another weekend of pulsating Premier League action is done. Cardiff vs Newcastle happened too. But who made it into Twelve’s team of the week? Two players who were included last week made it in again, even though their teams lost. As a wise sage once opined, ‘it’s a funny old game.’
But of course we’re focusing on player performances here, and not team ones. It’s not Paul Pogba’s fault he plays for Manchester United, is it? Anyway, after matching four of Garth Crooks’ selections last week, we have just two in common this time around. Sorry, Garth.
Goalkeeper: Neil Etheridge. Cardiff City 0-0 Newcastle United
If Twelve ever introduce bonus points for context, then saving a 96th minute penalty should be near the top of the list for worthy additions. As well as doing that, Etheridge made five more saves including one from a clear-cut chance, and he was the seventh best attacking performer in this match too. That says more about how poor these two sides are, but there we are.
Right-back: Kieran Trippier. Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham
The Tottenham defender has picked up where he left off at the World Cup, not least by scoring from a free-kick. But he also continued his fine passing and crossing into the box, and contributed defensively too.
Centre-back: James Tarkowski. Burnley 1-3 Watford
The first player from last week who retains his place, and with an improved score too. Tarkowski’s goal obviously made the most impact there, but he also made three more incisive passes than last week.
Centre-back: Vincent Kompany. Manchester City 6-1 Huddersfield Town
Kompany is a centre-back. Yet as Huddersfield were so under the cosh, he was effectively a midfielder; just 13 of his 114 attempted passes were in City’s defensive third. By playing so many passes in the central zone, the Belgian amassed the second most attacking points on our system this weekend. Way to game the algorithm, Vincent!
Left-back: Marcos Alonso. Chelsea 3-2 Arsenal
A goalscorer took the left-back slot last week, and the same has happened in week two. Alonso put in an excellent performance, with an assist to go with his goal, nine important defensive actions in his own box, and some pressing in midfield too. Since the start of 2017/18, Mohamed Salah is the only player to score more goals than the Spaniard in Premier League league games among the big six.
Midfield: Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Chelsea 3-2 Arsenal
By firing over the bar with the goal at his mercy, Mkhitaryan should hang his head in shame. He made it up for it though, as we can see here, with a goal and an assist in the space of four minutes.
Midfield: Paul Pogba. Brighton 3-2 Manchester United.
Pogba isn’t the only player here to scrape in thanks to scoring a penalty, but he was the best of a bad bunch for United at Brighton, and features in the team of the week for the second time in a row. Three passes into the Brighton box and defensive actions across the width of the pitch proves the World Cup winner wasn’t hiding when plenty of his colleagues were.
Midfield: James Milner. Crystal Palace 0-2 Liverpool.
Like Pogba, Milner probably wouldn’t have made the cut this week without a penalty. However, some Liverpool fans think he has been their best player over their opening pair of matches. The veteran put in a top shift defensively, and made some impressive long passes to team mates in the Palace box.
Forward: Theo Walcott. Everton 2-1 Southampton.
A goal and an assist in a 2-1 win is usually enough to pick up the man of the match award, and Walcott’s efforts against Southampton were no exception. Three of his six important defensive actions occurred in the final 15 minutes, so the former Gunner certainly helped his side see out the result.
Forward: Sergio Aguero. Manchester City 6-1 Huddersfield Town
You just know Aguero will run riot against some hapless cannon fodder at least once a season, and the Argentine got his fix in early in 2018/19. As his dashboard shows, he didn’t make many decisive contributions beyond scoring a hat-trick, but I’d say that’s pretty darn decisive, wouldn’t you? Aguero is our player of the week.
Forward: Gabriel Jesus. Manchester City 6-1 Huddersfield Town
In chance quality terms, Jesus missed far better chances than the one he scored. The Brazilian was second in the shots chart this week, behind his strike partner unsurprisingly, and his manager will have no doubt enjoyed his defensive contributions too.
What do you think? Did the Twelve algorithm work it’s magic this week, or blaze over the crossbar like Mkhitaryan? Let us know in the comments below. Aguero’s a cert though, right?