It won’t surprise anyone to see that Eden Hazard features in the headline, as a hat-trick will always propel a player into our team of the week. Our 3-4-3 formation also contains one of the performances of the season so far, and a TOTW regular earns another cap. But we begin with a goalkeeper who hasn’t had the best time of it over the last few years.
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart. Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Burnley.
Joe Hart was a busy boy on Sunday. He made six saves, including two from clear-cut chances. Most distressingly for Burnley, on our algorithm he was their top player in an attacking sense too. Things are looking bleak for Sean Dyche’s team at present.
Centre-back: Shane Duffy. Southampton 2-2 Brighton.
Duffy recorded the second best performance this week, thanks largely to the key interventions in both penalty areas. Obviously his goal takes the headlines, but he also won Brighton’s crucial last minute penalty. As well as that, he picked up 619 points for a vital block in the six yard box, and that propelled him to the top of our defence leader board for this week. Perhaps surprisingly, Duffy’s efforts at St Marys were the second best performance according to our algorithm this season.
Centre-back: James Tarkowski. Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Burnley.
It seems impossible to keep Tarkowski out of this team, but I can’t help wondering if that’s because Burnley are keeping him so busy rather than thanks to the strength of his own performance. Anyway, he made his usual bevy of defensive interventions, and seeing three in the six yard box is both a) unsual, and b) terrifying if you’re a Clarets fan.
Centre-back: Chris Smalling. Watford 1-2 Manchester United.
Smalling scored what proved to be the winning goal at Vicarage Road on Saturday evening, but he truly earned his corn (if not his dreadful corn rows) in United’s penalty box. He was also the best off-ball performer in our team this week, and the third best overall.
Right Midfield: Andriy Yarmolenko. Everton 1-3 West Ham United.
Arguably the biggest result of the weekend was West Ham’s much needed win at Goodison Park. Yarmolenko made his first start of the campaign, and repaid that honour by scoring twice. He even had the good grace to draw a Hammers logo on his dashboard with diagonal passes to each side of the penalty area. What a guy.
Midfield: Granit Xhaka. Newcastle United 1-2 Arsenal.
Twelve loves Granit Xhaka. Or at least, our algorithm does. The Swiss international was one of the Premier League’s top performers last season, and his goal and assist at St James Park got him a slot in the centre of our team of the week. Actual humans rarely view him so kindly as our soccerbot does though.
Midfield: David Silva. Manchester City 3-0 Fulham.
While algorithms can’t be biased, I can. David Silva has undoubtedly been one of my favourite Premier League players during his time in England. The Spaniard topped the attack rankings this week, and it’s easy to see why on his dashboard, which shows several passes in the Fulham box as well as high value dribble there too.
Left Midfield: Ryan Fraser. Bournemouth 4-2 Leicester City.
Ryan Fraser is on fire this season. Leicester were the latest side to fall under the Scotsman’s spell, as he was directly involved in three of Bournemouth’s four goals on Saturday. Fraser offered little of note defensively, but Eddie Howe is unlikely to care while he’s in such good form going forward.
Forward: Raheem Sterling. Manchester City 3-0 Fulham.
If ever you want evidence of how hard Raheem Sterling works, the above dashboard isn’t a bad place to start. Yes he scored, had a couple of other good chances and played some nice passes into the Fulham box, but he defended the length of the right flank superbly. Pep will have been delighted.
Forward: Danny Ings. Southampton 2-2 Brighton.
Danny Ings had a pretty similar night to Shane Duffy; he scored a goal and won a penalty, and he took the high value shot which earned Duffy so many points for blocking it. As Southampton travel to Liverpool next weekend, Ings will miss the match, but he’s starting to look like he could be a real asset to the Saints.
Forward: Eden Hazard. Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City
We finish with our player of the week, but not only that, but with the performance of the season so far. Sergio Aguero may have been the first player to get a Premier League hat-trick in 2018/19, but Eden Hazard picked up almost 900 points more than the Argentine did. The Chelsea man is becoming a fixture in our team of the week, as this is his third cap in a row, meaning he has featured every time he has started a match. Player of the year, anyone?