Premier League Team of the Week; Match Week 1


With Chelsea’s gauntlet throwing performance against Burnley no officially in the books, the first match week of the 2014/2015 Premier League season has officially come to and end.  My, what a weekend it was!

Manchester United losing in Louis van Gaal’s debut, Arsenal and Liverpool coming through tough tests, and Chelsea and Manchester City are one and to the table (bit of foreshadowing?).  The newly promoted sides all put in good performances (yes, even Burnley looked decent), and S0uthampton squashed the notion that they’ll flirt with relegation.

Cesc Fabregas signalled his return to the Premier League with a brilliant display at Turf Moor against Burnley

But what about the players?  There were an obscene amount of good showings on an individual level this weekend, which makes our first Team of the Week piece rather difficult from the very first go of it.  Naturally not all can make it, but here’s our first bite at the apple.

GK: Allan McGregor (Hull City) – When your side ends up winning their first fixture of the season 1-0 on the road, it’s always a good day for a goalkeeper.  When that performance includes a penalty save to keep the match at 1-0, there’s no way you’re not the keeper of the week.  Well done to the Scotsman.

LB: Gael Clichy (Manchester City) – As an Arsenal supporter, it pains me to have to admit that Clichy is still a viable choice at left-back.  To be fair, while Pablo Zabaleta struggled against Remy Cabella all afternoon, Clichy has his flank on complete lock-down.  I guess the continued competition from Aleksandar Kolarov is doing him some good, even if his hair is not.

CB: James Chester (Hull City) – Though Allan McGregor’s heroics ensured that Hull City left Loftus Road with full three points, James Chester not only played a major hand in Hull keeping the clean-sheet, but it was his headed goal off a corner that ended up as the match winner; doesn’t get any better.

CB: Eric Dier (Tottenham) – He may not have been one of the best center-backs this weekend in over all match rating, but for his Premier League debut at just 20-years old, he was excellent.  Not only did Spurs blank West Ham (though they have Mark Noble to thank for that), but he netted the stoppage time winner.

RB: Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton) – Sure So’ton lost, but Clyne yet again put in a shift that left many wondering just how he is not England’s first choice right-back for the next eight-ten years.  He played well, and scored a cracking goal from inside the area after debutant Dusan Tadic gave him a wonderful flick-through.

CM: Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) – Got himself on the scoresheet against West Brom at the Hawthorns with the equalizer and generally played exceptionally well for the duration of the match.  He wasn’t a hit at Arsenal, but my do they love him at Sunderland; oh, and he won Man of the Match for his efforts.

CM: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City) – Another Scandinavian midfielder to put in an impressive showing to open the league campaign, the Icelandic international was influential for Swansea in their shock 2-1 win at Old Trafford.  He would go on to assist Ki’s opener, net the match winner and be awarded Man of the Match.

CM: Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) – Fabregas yet again showed so many why he is one of the best creative minds in the game today; his two assists (including this beautiful pass to Andre Schurrle which put Chelsea 2-1 up) was good enough for Man of the Match in his return to Premier League football.

LW: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) – What more can be said about Sterling at this rate? He took his goal extreme well after that brilliant ball from Jordan Henderson and his headed assist to Daniel Sturridge for the winner was as perfect as you’re going to get.  He was a threat from start to finish, but was robbed by not being awarded Man of the Match.

ST: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – Yes they did in fact lose in quite hilarious and shocking fashion, but if anyone was going to make anything happen on the day, surely it was Rooney. He scored a wonderful goal to draw United level, and was hungry throughout.  With his likely partnership with Robin van Persie looming on the horizon, he could be brilliant this year.

RW: Saido Berahino (West Brom) – Berahino rounds off the XI as the fifth English youngster to make the Team of the Week.  He bagged the only brace of the first weekend in the Premier League, and if not for Sebastian Larsson, would have had the match winner as well.  After a promising showing last season, Berahino looks set to improve this season, and Alan Irvine is sure to rely on him this season.

Best Team performance of the week – While the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea all played well (under difference circumstances as well), for me this comes in as a draw between Hull City and Swansea City.  Steve Bruce’s men did exceptionally well to kick-start their league campaign (which will have European football added to it) in a spirited display on the road that showed many that they’re prepared to be difficult all season long.  As for the Swans, any opening day win at Old Trafford is rather credible; when it comes during Van Gaal’s managerial debut amidst much expectation, it’s that much better.