It was another engaging Premier League weekend as Manchester United and Manchester City registered convincing wins, while Burnley pulled off the upset of the round by beating high-flying Liverpool at Turf Moor.
The second round of Premier League action started on Friday, with Manchester United hosting Claude Puel’s Southampton at Old Trafford. Another solid performance from Jose Mourinho’s side saw them bag maximum points and maintain their hundred percent record this season.
Elsewhere, giants Chelsea and Manchester City continued their fine run of form with victories over Watford and Stoke City respectively, while Arsenal and defending champions Leicester played out a goalless draw at the King Power Stadium.
The biggest shock of the week came at Turf Moor, as newly-promoted Burnley defied all odds to beat a Liverpool side coming off the back of a 4-3 victory over Arsenal. Hull City continued their miraculous comeback into England’s top flight by beating Swansea away from home.
Here is TheHardTackle’s Team of the Week:
Tom Heaton; Matthew Lowton, Laurent Koscielny, Curtis Davies, Luke Shaw; Chritstian Stuani, Gareth Barry, Cesc Fabregas, Raheem Sterling; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sergio Aguero.
Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Going into a tricky fixture against Liverpool, few expected Burnley to come away with all three points. Recently promoted and of one of the bookmakers’ favourites to be relegated, the Clarets put up a fine showing against the Reds to win the game 2-0.
However, it was due to Burnley keeper Tom Heaton that Sean Dyche’s side came away wiith all three points. In a spirited performance, the former Manchester United stopper made a number of brilliant saves from the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge to ensure the hosts finished the game with a clean sheet.
Matthew Lowton (Burnley)
Heaton’s teammate Matthew Lowton was arguably the best right-back in the league over the weekend. Despite Antonio Valencia’s fabulous performance against Southampton, we have chosen Lowton purely for the way he dealt with the players of an attacking Liverpool side.
Down the right, Lowton was constantly bombarded by Coutinho and James Milner’s runs from his full-back position. Not known to be the best player in that position, Milner was astutely handled by Lowton, who hardly put a foot wrong on the defensive front. Even Coutinho, who was brimming with confidence after his brace against Arsenal, failed to get the better of the Burnley defender.
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)
Playing his first game after an extended lay-off to recuperate from a tedious European Championships run, Laurent Koscielny marshalled the Arsenal back line superbly as he dealt with the likes of Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki.
Laurent Koscielny’s game by numbers vs. Leicester:
93% pass accuracy
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 20, 2016
Partnering Rob Holding at the heart of the Gunners’ defence, Koscielny looked up to the task as he seemed comfortable in dealing with the pacey and physcial Vardy. The English forward tried to get the better of the French defender on a number of occasions, but to no avail. Koscielny stood like a wall in front of Petr Cech’s goal and rarely let anything past him.
Curtis Davies (Hull City)
The Hull City centre-back seems to be enjoying life in the Premier League with the Tigers. After a stellar showing on the opening day against Leicester City, Curtis Davies continued his fine form during Hull’s game against Swansea City.
Curtis Davies’ game by numbers vs. Swansea:
96% pass accuracy
1 tackle pic.twitter.com/M0NjXGEVDX
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 20, 2016
He looked calm and composed on the ball and was rarely dispossessed. He was on his feet throughout the game and often caused breakages in the opposition’s play, which helped Hull play on the counter-attack. Davies was also threatening in the air in what was a solid display by the centre-back.
Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
Manchester United’s left-back Luke Shaw has returned from a horrific leg injury only a few weeks back and has hit the ground running with two superb performances in as many games for the Red Devils.
The English left-back was tireless against Southampton and was effective on both ends of the field. He looked resolute at back and proved to be a constant attacking threat on the left wing. He also won the penalty that led to United’s second goal and played a crucial role in defending his side’s two-goal cushion.
Chritstian Stuani (Middlesbrough)
Christian Stuani probably scored one of the goals of the season as Middlesbrough visited the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland. Before the winger’s goal, it seemed like the hosts had the game under control, but Vito Mannone’s inability to stop Stuani’s strike changed the complexion of the game. He added another to win the game for his side.
Gareth Barry (Everton)
Gareth Barry scored his 51st Premier League goal during Everton’s match against West Brom. With the scored tied at one goal apiece, the Englisman grabbed the headlines with a late winner. It was a rare but much-needed strike by the midfielder, who gave the Toffees their first win of the season.
Even apart from the goal, Barry dominated midfield and dictated the play from the middle of the park. He was accurate with his passing and also put in a solid shift defensively.
Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
Was left on the bench for the second match in a row, but turned the game around after he came on as a second-half substitute. He made a number of creative passes and his presence in the middle of the park saw Chelsea recover from a one goal deficit to win 2-1.
For the Blues’ equaliser, he played a crucial role in the buildup which saw Michy Batshuayi find the back of the net. He then provided one of the assists of the season thus far for Diego Costa’s winner. All in all, it was a solid performance from the former Barcelona star.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
The England international has looked impressive under Pep Guardiola, as was once again the case against Stoke City. With the game pretty cagey at the start, Sterling’s pace and cut-ins took the Potters’ defence by surprise.
Guardiola has brought out the best in the English winger, who has been a disappointment since his move to Manchester. The City fans would hope to see more of the same from the 22-year-old.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic continued to write the headlines for his new side after he grabbed both goals in Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over Southampton. His first was a stupendous header from a Rooney cross, while his second was a coolly converted penalty won by Luke Shaw.
His overall performance was equally impressive as he looks to have settled well into life at Manchester United. He is now the joined-highest top scorer in the league along with Sergio Aguero.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Aguero just can’t stop scoring this season. Despite a slightly shaky start, the Argentine striker got a goal through a penalty, before he added a second with a brilliant header from a Kevin de Bruyne delivery to give Manchester City a comfortable lead. He looked threatening on a number of occasions and was unlucky not to complete his hat-trick.