The big match of the weekend may have ended goal-less, but there were plenty of goals elsewhere. It was a struggle to find forwards for the team of week seven, but the top seven players on this week’s leader board are all attackers, so our 4-3-3 is geared towards goals. But our Premier League Team of week 8 begins with a man whose team didn’t have a great weekend.
Goalkeeper: Alex McCarthy. Southampton 0-3 Chelsea.
McCarthy was given little protection by his teammates on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea had 21 shots, with five of those deemed as clear-cut chances by Opta. McCarthy did well to save two of them – hence his high score – but the Saints were outclassed.
Right-back: Kieran Trippier. Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Cardiff City
The former Burnley man topped the attack chart this week, and as he assisted the only goal of Spurs’ win over the Bluebirds, perhaps deservedly so. However, he was probably fortunate to pick up points for a cross which nearly went out for a throw (see above). Algorithms, eh?
Centre-back: Antonio Rüdiger. Southampton 0-3 Chelsea.
Truth be told, Rüdiger sneaked into the team thanks to having a very high value shot with two minutes to play. But his dashboard also illustrates how he made some important defensive interventions in the Chelsea box too.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire. Leicester City 1-2 Everton.
Maguire seems to have taken James Tarkowski’s regular slot in our weekly team, irrespective of whether Leicester win, lose or draw. It was a defeat this week, thanks to a red card for Wes Morgan and a beauty of a goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson. Maguire did his best to hold things together, as his dashboard attests.
Left-back: Lucas Digne. Leicester City 1-2 Everton.
There’s been a lot of good attacking performances by left-backs so far this season, but this week Digne’s in the side primarily for his defending. The Frenchman was also the top off ball performer in this team.
Midfield: Ross Barkley. Southampton 0-3 Chelsea.
It has taken a long time for the England international to make much of an impression at Chelsea, but Barkley scored his first goal for the Blues on Sunday. He picked up an assist too, so will be very satisfied with his trip to the south coast.
Midfield: Paul Pogba. Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle United.
Social media was awash with glee when it appeared that José Mourinho had moved Paul Pogba to centre-back as United toiled against Newcastle on Saturday. Pogba may have been the best performer in the team for defensive points this week, but in truth he was still able to play further forward as the Magpies tried to see out a lead.
Midfield: Eden Hazard. Southampton 0-3 Chelsea.
This article will soon have to be called ‘ten players alongside Hazard’ each week, as the Belgian is appearing week after week at the moment. Like Barkley, Hazard scored one and assisted another, so his inclusion here is more than deserved.
Forward: Alexandre Lacazette. Fulham 1-5 Arsenal.
Two goals scored and a 5-1 away win; lovely stuff. But don’t ignore Lacazette’s defensive contribution either. Lucas Torreira was the only Gunner who made more ball recoveries than the Frenchman, and only by one at that. His dashboard shows how he came back deeper to chip in defensively.
Forward: Joshua King. Watford 0-4 Bournemouth.
Josh King has had an up and down time of it in the Premier League. After scoring six times in the Cherries’ debut campaign, he bagged 16 in 2016/17. He then dipped to eight last term, but appears to be back on track in 2018/19. King was our player of the week, and topped the shots leader board along the way.
Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Fulham 1-5 Arsenal.
Two goals scored and a 5-1 away win; lovely stuff. Auba may not have matched Laca’s defensive input, but he only had 31 minutes on the pitch. Credit is also due to the former Dortmund man for scoring a brace away from home, as just five of his 23 league goals were on the road last season. Keep this form up, and Arsenal might really go places.