There’s a breath of fresh air about our team of the week in week six. For the first time we’re going with a 4-2-3-1 formation. There’s no sign of regulars like Tarkowski, Pogba or Hazard, and we have a whole host of debutants. The likes of Harry Maguire and Jorginho both win their second TOTW caps of the season, with the latter putting in the performance of the week.
But did he actually contribute all that much at the London Stadium? We’ll come to that in due course, and we’ll begin with a shot stopper who hasn’t received too many positive notices in 2018/19.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech. Arsenal 2-0 Everton.
A 2-0 score line suggests a relatively comfortable victory, but Everton had six shots on target to Arsenal’s five, and two of the Toffee’s Cech-testing efforts were clear-cut chances. The under fire Czech certainly earned his place here, and appears in the top 20 performers of the week which is rare for a goalkeeper. Cech also topped the defence leader board for week six.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool 3-0 Southampton.
Liverpool make good use of their full-backs, as our latest article demonstrates, though while they’re often essentially playing as wingers, Alexander-Arnold had to make four key defensive interventions in the Reds’ box on Saturday. The young Scouser also picked up his first assist of the season, when his corner was headed home by…
Centre-back: Joel Matip. Liverpool 3-0 Southampton
Joel Matip has had a bit of a funny career at Liverpool. He arrived as Mamdou Sakho was being bombed out, and established a spot in the team before injuries started to take their toll. In the meantime, Virgil van Dijk was made the most expensive defender in the world and Joe Gomez took the slot alongside him. So this was a rare start for Matip in recent times, but he certainly made the most of it.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire. Leicester City 3-1 Huddersfield Town.
Considering how goal-shy Huddersfield are, Maguire may have expected to get an easier afternoon than what he ultimately had. His main contribution was to make 11 ball recoveries, which is no mean feat when your team has 62% of the ball; that’s essentially the same as making 17 in a game where possession is split evenly.
Left-back: Ryan Sessegnon. Fulham 1-1 Watford.
Ryan Sessegnon scored 16 goals and assisted a further eight in the Championship last season. The Premier League is obviously a tougher assignment, however, and it’s clear his main contribution is likely to be defensive in 2018/19. He made a high value block among his defensive contributions, and was the top off ball performer in the team this week.
Defensive Midfield: Jorginho. West Ham United 0-0 Chelsea.
Jorginho attempted the most passes since records began. The majority were used to keep Chelsea’s ownership of the ball ticking over, but he also created three chances and completed more passes in the opposition penalty box – five – than the entire West Ham team managed to. Sarri’s midfield general topped the Twelve attack leaderboard for the week as a result.
Defensive Midfield: Etienne Capoue. Fulham 1-1 Watford.
With Watford scoring in just the second minute, their players were always likely to have to put in a shift defensively to try to see the result out. As Capoue’s dashboard illustrates, he made over 20 important defensive actions in pursuit of that goal, and still found time to play a couple of long incisive passes too.
Right Attacking Midfield: Riyad Mahrez. Cardiff City 0-5 Manchester City.
The former Leicester man topped the shot chart this week, and was the second best performer overall. It wasn’t a bad half hour’s work, was it? But it wasn’t all just running wild against tired and demoralised opponents, as Mahrez made some important defensive contributions as his dashboard will attest. He may have to settle for a super sub role more often than not, but there’s worse jobs to have.
Central Attacking Midfield: Fred. Manchester United 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers.
When Fred the Red put United one up inside 18 minutes, the Old Trafford faithful (which included the returning Sir Alex Ferguson) probably assumed they were set for a routine win. Wolves had other ideas though, and kept Fred and co. busy. Toggle the ‘only important actions’ on the Brazilian’s dashboard to see the full extent of the ground he covered and the work he put in.
Left Attacking Midfield: Ilkay Gundogan. Cardiff City 0-5 Manchester City.
Goal of the weekend? They’re all worth 1,000 points in these parts, regardless. Gundogan had already missed a much higher value chance prior to his strike and went on to assist a goal in the second half too, so the City man deserves his place here.
Forward: Aleksandar Mitrovic. Fulham 1-1 Watford.
It’s already starting to feel like the number of goals Mitrovic bags this season will make the difference between whether Fulham stay up or not. But as his chart shows, he’s not incapable of making key interventions in his team’s penalty box either.
So there we are for another week. Garth Crooks’ team only shared two players with ours this week. You’ve got to try harder, Garth.