Manchester City maintained their 100% win record with a fourth consecutive win, while almost all their rivals stopped and stuttered in an astonishing gameweek in the English Premier League. Here are the 11 players and the manager who were outstanding this weekend.
Goalkeeper – Tim Howard (Everton)
There were other contenders for goalie of the week, but Tim Howard put up a valiant performance helping the Toffees earn a valuable point against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
The North Londoners – who are enduring a frustrating start to the season – were stopped by a resilient and stubborn Howard, who was at hand to thwart star striker Harry Kane in a one-on-one situation. The American has made more saves than any other keeper this season, and he also has much to celebrate with a recall to the national set-up for the friendlies against Brazil and Peru.
Center-Backs – Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham) and Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace)
Keeping a marauding center forward like Benteke quiet for 90 minutes is no easy task, and Ogbonna did just that, helping West Ham to a 3-0 win at Anfield. The Italian played alongside New Zealand international Winston Reid and kept Benteke and co at bay, with their jobs made even easier when the Reds’ playmaker Philippe Coutinho got himself sent off.
Damien Delaney versus Diego Costa seemed like a mismatch from the beginning, but the Irishman did very well to handle the fiery Spaniard throughout the game. Delaney, who termed Costa as a a good old fashioned bruisera , kept his cool as Palace played party poopers on Mourinho’s 200th Premier League game in charge of Chelsea.
Full-Backs – Kyle Naughton (Swansea City) and Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City)
Naughton played a tireless, pivotal role at right back as Swansea came from 1-0 down to beat Manchester United at the Liberty stadium. The Englishman showed pace, composure and courage to ward off Memphis Depay and other United attackers as Gary Monk’s side got their third win in three games against Van Gaal’s United.
Amongst the full-backs who are excellent crossers of the ball, Kolarov in particular has been unstoppable so far this season. He has combined well with Sterling and looks a genuine threat going forward. The Serbian is also a very good defender, helping his team to a fourth consecutive clean sheet. With Gael Clichy’s injury set to rule him out for a long period, Kolarov would love to cement his spot in the team.
Central Midfield – Cheikhou Kouyat (West Ham) and Fernandinho (Manchester City)
Kouyat is proving to be a very important signing for West Ham manager Slaven Bilic this season and his performance against Liverpool at Anfield was nothing short of inspiring, leading the Hammers to a first away win at Anfield in five decades.
The Senegalese powerhouse’s influence was so telling, that the West Ham goalie spent a relaxing afternoon in goal doing having precious little to do. Kouyat , playing alongside Mark Noble, easily thwarted the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Milner, which saw them thrash their hapless opponents 3-0 and break the bubble of the optimistic start to the season on Merseyside.
Fernandinho once again showcased City’s steel in midfield as the Brazilian, alongside Yaya Toure, helped in outclassing Watford at The Etihad. Pellegrini’s side are playing like a well oiled machine, and the central midfielders – especially Fernandinho – have done a stellar job in shielding the defence and helping the attackers as much as possible. With an 8-point lead over defending champions Chelsea, it looks like the blue moon has already begun to rise at Manchester.
Attacking Midfield – DuA?an Tadi (Southampton), Andre Ayew (Swansea City) and Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace)
A fantasy football manager’s dream, Tadi never fails to contribute points. Just when it seemed like Tadi has lost his mojo, the Serbian came out and bagged a brace against the Norwich City. Tadi , as well as his manager Koeman, would be eager to replicate last season’s performances and their first victory of the season should give them the confidence for the upcoming games.
It is safe to say that Andre Ayew has been the signing of the season so far. The Ghanian, who signed on a free transfer from Marseille, has taken the Premier League by storm combining with his ex-rival at Lyon, Bafetimbi Gomis.
Ayew’s performances brings back reminders of Michu, who had a brilliant start to his Swansea career. Ayew was a constant threat to the United defence, running the channels and constantly pressing the United defenders to win the ball. After Gary Monk’s inspired change of formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-1-2, the former Marseille man headed in the equaliser from a delightful Sigurdsson cross, and set up Gomis with a brilliantly weighted pass from the outside of his foot. Swansea ran out 2-1 winners, and Ayew was the man of the match.
In yet another upset this weekend, a fine performance by Bakary Sako helped Palace to a 2-1 defeat of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho`s 200th league game in charge of the Blues. Sako, playing on the left hand side of midfield, tormented Ivanovic throughout the game, registering an assist and a goal to his name. He combined well with the likes of Puncheon and Zaha as Chelsea continued their poor start to the season.
Center Forward- Graziano Pelle (Southampton)
The big Italian must be relieved to finally score after a frustrating start to the Premier League, and of course, the disappointing exit from the Europa League against Midtjylland last Thursday. He had a relatively easy outing after Steven Whittaker had been sent off, with the Italian target-man a constant threat to the Canaries.
Manager – Slaven Bilic (West Ham)
The Croatian coach once again orchestrated a brilliant away performance, where each and every player of his played their role to the utmost perfection. Although it is too early to judge Bilic, one cannot help but say that the decision by the Hammersa owners to replace Allardyce to Bilic has been vindicated. Teams will now be wary of West Ham away from home, especially after their exploits at The Emirates and Anfield, where they claimed six points from six.