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Which trio from Man Utd's 'extraordinary squad' makes Garth's team of the week?


Garth team of the week

Leicester moved to the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Wolves, while Harry Kane scored his 150th Premier League goal as Tottenham climbed to second with a 1-0 victory at West Brom.

Defending champions Liverpool drew 1-1 at Manchester City and Southampton claimed a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle.

Aston Villa bounced back from consecutive defeats to claim an emphatic 3-0 win at Arsenal, while Bruno Fernandes inspired Manchester United to fight back and win 3-1 at Everton.

Crystal Palace cruised to a 4-1 success over Leeds as Chelsea beat bottom club Sheffield United by the same scoreline.

West Ham edged to a narrow 1-0 victory over Fulham and strugglers Brighton and Burnley played out a goalless draw.

But who impressed me in the Premier League this week? Here’s my team. Read about why I selected them below and choose your best XI at the bottom.

Garth's team of the week: Kasper Schmeichel, Harry Maguies, Thiago Silva, Jonny Evans; Hakim Ziyech, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Ross Barkley; Eberechi Eze, Harry Kane, Ollie Watkins

Goalkeeper – Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

Kasper Schmeichel

Kasper Schmeichel: What a save by Kasper Schmeichel from Ruben Neves. The Leicester keeper wasn’t required to do very much throughout this game, but when he was called upon to pull his team out of the fire that’s precisely what he did.

Leicester’s display against Wolves was very different to their performance against Leeds. The Foxes had to dig, battle and bite for this victory and it took them to the top of the table. Leicester have been here before of course – and I wouldn’t bet against them being there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

As for the penalty awarded against Max Kilman for the ball striking his hand, the rule is absurd, unfair and seriously flawed. What was ever wrong with hand to ball?

Did you know? Schmeichel has kept three clean sheets for Leicester this season.

Defenders – Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Jonny Evans (Leicester City)

Harry Maguire, Thiago Silva & Jonny Evans

Harry Maguire: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left Goodison Park with a smile on his face and quite rightly.

The Manchester United manager came away with a victory and seems to have survived the media onslaught around his supposed pending departure – at least for now. One of the reasons the Norwegian has a stay of execution is the faith he has exhibited in his captain, Harry Maguire.

The England defender has recovered from a shaky start to the season and was outstanding against Everton. The central defender completely nullified the aerial threat from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Meanwhile, speculation regarding Solskjaer’s future will have to wait until after the international break. As for Maguire, he is on Three Lions duty. No rest for the wicked.

Did you know? Maguire made seven clearances against Everton, three more than any other player in the game.

Thiago Silva: The ball from Hakim Ziyech was just fabulous but the movement from Thiago Silva was simply brilliant. He went, stopped, checked and went again.

The timing of his run and the way he met the corner was just sensational. We have all seen him do it before and it is a well-known fact that you can’t mark movement; certainly not the way Silva attacks the ball on set-pieces.

The arrival of the Brazilian has steadied the ship at Chelsea, especially in defence. That said, the Blues are some way from the Jose Mourinho days when they took the lead and the game was effectively over. Luckily, the football is far more enjoyable at Stamford Bridge these days.

Did you know? Silva became the sixth-oldest player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League (36 years 46 days), and only Glenn Hoddle (36 years 150 days) was older when he scored his first goal for the Blues.

Jonny Evans: Even for a player who has been around as long as Jonny Evans has, this was still a very challenging game against a very dangerous Wolves side.

The Northern Ireland centre-back found himself constantly in the middle of the action especially defending set plays.

There was even one stage where it was thought he might be suffering from a recurrence of the back injury that had kept him out earlier in the season. Fortunately for his manager, Brendan Rodgers, the Foxes captain saw the game out, albeit a little battered and bruised.

Did you know? Evans won six of his seven duels against Wolves, including all four in the air. No player won a higher percentage.

Midfielders – Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea), Fred (Manchester United), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Ross Barkley (Aston Villa)

Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea), Fred (Manchester United), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Ross Barkley (Aston Villa)

Hakim Ziyech: Frank Lampard has every reason to be satisfied with what his team is producing at the moment. His new additions to what was already a healthy-looking squad are starting to gel.

I said that if Chelsea were to lose Willian then they better have someone ready to replace him. Well, they have and his name is Hakim Ziyech. The Morocco international made my team last week after impressing against Burnley.

He was even better against Sheffield United. The former Ajax player wasn’t on the scoresheet this time, but he provided the impetus and the tempo for a very impressive Chelsea victory. Five teams can win the Premier League title this season – and Chelsea are one of them.

Did you know? Ziyech is creating 3.8 chances per 90 minutes in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, the most of any Blues player.

Fred: When Fred arrived at Old Trafford I couldn’t work out what his role actually was. In fact, I went on record as saying I didn’t think he was a Manchester United player.

Well, if former United midfielders Remi Moses and Gordon Strachan are anything to go by then Fred displays exactly the same grit, endeavour and determination as they had when they played in midfield for the club in the 1980s.

At a time when United have a real issue with consistency – an issue that has put question marks over their manager’s future – Fred provided the support for Bruno Fernandes against Everton that has been absent when Paul Pogba has played in that role. The Brazilian doesn’t possess Pogba’s ability but epitomises the qualities a coach can rely on.

Did you know? Fred completed 61 passes against Everton (of 67 attempted), at least 19 more than any team-mate.

Bruno Fernandes: I don’t know to what extent Bruno Fernandes was aware of media attention surrounding his manager’s long-term prospects at Old Trafford, but the way he played against Everton not only suggested he knew, but was determined to do something about it.

The Portugal international fought for every ball, tried to win every tackle – and got booked as a consequence – scored two goals and laid another on a plate for Edinson Cavani. He was everywhere and made absolutely sure any speculation about Solskjaer’s immediate future was quashed.

United have an extraordinary squad and Solskjaer has carefully put it together. What is needed now is for Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood to display more of what Fernandes is showing and repay some of the faith their manager has placed in them.

Did you know? Fernandes has now scored 10 goals and provided five assists in his first 10 Premier League away games.

Ross Barkley: I thought Jack Grealish gave another masterful performance for Aston Villa at Arsenal, along with Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa.

However, I decided to select Ross Barkley in my team because of his sensational assist for Ollie Watkins’ second goal. The 30-yard ball from Douglas Luiz to Barkley was pretty brilliant, but what then took place was something quite special.

Barkley, without taking his eye off the ball, volleyed the most sensational cross from the byeline for Watkins to head home and seal the game for Villa. The level of skill, not to mention technique, required to perform such a pass takes extraordinary talent, but it also characterised the team’s performance. Without doubt the best display I have seen from a Villa side for years.

Did you know? Barkley created the most chances of any player (three) in Villa’s win at Arsenal.

Forwards – Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

Eberechi Eze: If you’re going to open your goalscoring account for your club then this is the way to do it. The free-kick scored by Eberechi Eze against Leeds was outstanding, but the way the England Under-21 drew Robin Koch towards the ball and slipped it past him leading up to the goal was genuine talent.

QPR wouldn’t have enjoyed letting this lad leave Loftus Road, but it’s clear – at least in the games I have seen him play – that the youngster is developing fast and has a bright future if he can hold it all together.

Patrick Bamford’s disallowed goal epitomised just how ludicrous the video assistant referee (VAR) and its decision making on offside has become. Hardly surprising that 70% of respondents to Gary Lineker’s Match of the Day tweet said VAR should be scrapped. I couldn’t agree more.

Did you know? Eze both scored and assisted in a single league game for the fifth time, and the first time since a goal and assist against Preston in March 2020.

Harry Kane: Premier League goal number 150 for Harry Kane. This was a massive win for Tottenham away at West Brom, bearing in mind their midweek journey to Bulgaria.

Kane scored the opener in the Europa League game against Ludogorets Razgrad and continued where he left off by scoring the only goal of the game against a West Brom side already fighting for survival and whose manager is already under intense media scrutiny.

Spurs would have lost this fixture under previous managers and I wonder to what extent manager Jose Mourinho is responsible for this clean sheet, which put Spurs top of the table for a short while.

Did you know? Only Alan Shearer (212) and Sergio Aguero (217) reached 150 Premier League goals in fewer appearances than Kane (218).

Ollie Watkins: You cannot score two goals away against Arsenal and not get in my team of the week. Ollie Watkins is making a name for himself in the Premier League.

The former Brentford forward opened his league account against Liverpool, of all teams, and it looks like he has now got the taste for it. Watkins has provided Villa with a cutting edge to match the creative work Grealish and Barkley are now producing.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have been brilliant on the road – particularly in Manchester – when they have adopted a counter-attack mentality in games. However, the Gunners have a problem at home, especially when they are played at their own game. Villa didn’t just beat Arsenal them on the counter-attack, they destroyed them.

Did you know? Watkins has scored six goals in seven games for Aston Villa in the Premier League this season. Only Dean Saunders (seven) and Dion Dublin (nine) have ever netted more in their first seven appearances for Villa in the competition.

The Crooks of the Matter

When former BBC Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen said “you win nothing with kids”, he was referring to moments in a game when you are in desperate need of experience and not youth.

The 91st minute of the match between West Ham and Fulham was one of those occasions. The fixture had been full of missed opportunities, so when Ademola Lookman got the chance to equalise for Fulham it didn’t need someone who was chasing glory by taking the penalty but an individual concerned only with getting the job done.

It’s important at this juncture not to confuse the two. Glory is about self; getting the job done is about completing the mission on behalf of the team. What Lookman displayed was hubris.

Lookman’s attempt to reproduce Antonin Panenka’s penalty was not just audacious, it was stupid. The player who introduced this technique to the world in the 1976 European Championship final, when he beat German goalkeeper Sepp Maier with an impudent chip to claim the title for Czechoslovakia, was an experienced professional, not a rookie.

Panenka not only knew what was at stake but he could execute the skill. Lookman could not. The lost point might be the difference between Fulham staying up or going down but, more worryingly, may in the final analysis cost Scott Parker his job as manager.

Lookman does have the talent to come back from this but it won’t be easy. Keep Fulham in the Premier League, however, and no-one will give a fig about the missed penalty.

Pick your team of the week

Pick your XI from our list and share with your friends.

Pick your XI from our list and share with your friends.

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