The weekend’s action saw VAR rear its increasingly ugly head once more, with several sides being left aggrieved and confused following the technology’s latest interventions.
In terms of results, Liverpool‘s perfect start came to an end at arch-rivals Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s struggling side preventing the league leaders from equalling the division’s record for consecutive wins.
Elsewhere, Tottenham’s struggles continued, whilst there were important wins for the likes of Manchester City, Everton and Aston Villa.
Here, in a 3-5-2 formation, is The Football Faithful‘s Premier League Team of the Week…
Goalkeeper: Ederson – Manchester City
Simply put, the Man City goalkeeper is one of the very best in the business.
The Brazilian international is often lauded for his pinpoint passing and ability to play from the back, though he so often produces big saves when it matters for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Such is the champion’s dominance, the 26-year-old is rarely called into action, though he once again proved that he remains alert and concentrated during their 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.
City dominated at Selhurst Park for much of the contest, but had Ederson to thank for their clean sheet following two brilliant saves. The first stop to turn Christian Benteke’s powerful header away was nothing short of superb, before beating away a fierce drive from Wilfried Zaha late on.
Teammate Fernandinho has described the shot-stopper as the complete package, and it is difficult to argue on this display.
Ederson Appreciation Tweet: ? pic.twitter.com/ULeoP6sdFx
— City Chief (@City_Chief) October 19, 2019
Centre-back: Christian Kabasele – Watford
Watford came just minutes away from finally registering their first league win of the season, Dele Alli’s controversial late equaliser ultimately salvaging a point for Tottenham.
Quique Flores Sanchez’s side were much improved from recent showings, and can perhaps count themselves unlucky not to have emerged with three points following a positive display.
Central to their display was a fine defensive performance, with centre-back Kabasele impressing alongside Craig Dawson and Craig Cathcart as Watford lined up with a back five.
Watford have improved defensively since their 8-0 mauling at Manchester City last month, and will need to continue to show further defensive resilience if they are to move away from danger.
Centre-back: Fernandinho – Manchester City
Many feared the worst when Manchester City lined up at Crystal Palace without a recognised central defender in their starting XI, though Fernandinho’s performance quickly allayed those fears as the champions secured a vital win and clean sheet.
The Brazilian was superb at Selhurst Park, his tactical intelligence allowing him to thrive in an unorthodox role alongside fellow midfielder Rodri.
With City dominating possession, the duo’s ability to pass out from the back helped Guardiola’s side to assert control, securing a vital win to close the gap on Liverpool in the title race.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire – Manchester United
The world’s most expensive defender led the Manchester United backline with authority, helping to nullify the threat posed by the likes of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane during the draw with league leaders Liverpool.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to change to three central defenders for the clash, though his preparations were disrupted by the international break and late injury to Axel Tuanzebe.
However, both Maguire and his defensive partners coped admirably as the formation change restricted Liverpool to few clear cut chances, their tactical approach almost delivering three points before the conceding of a late equaliser.
Harry Maguire made 10 clearances against Liverpool, twice as many as any other player on the pitch.
Solid. ???? pic.twitter.com/YSWNEZuEFX
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 20, 2019
Midfield: Andre Gomes – Everton
Everton have endured a disappointing start to the new campaign, with much of their side – including injury-hit midfielder Gomes – having performed well below expectations in the opening weeks of the new season.
Marco Silva’s side produced an improved performance to beat West Ham on Saturday lunchtime, their midfield dominant to secure a much needed three points at Goodison Park.
Gomes was central to most of Everton’s best play, the Portuguese international at the heartbeat of an impressive win alongside midfield partner Tom Davies.
The former Barcelona star is yet to hit the heights of his impressive loan spell last season, and the club will hope he can produce performances like this on a more regular basis as they look to climb the table.
Midfield: Abdoulaye Doucoure – Watford
Watford’s winless run continued into a ninth fixture, but they will have left the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium knowing they should perhaps have their first three points of the season.
The Premier League’s bottom side caused struggling Spurs all sorts of problems throughout the afternoon, Doucoure opening the scoring early on and producing a dominant performance in midfield.
A dynamic presence, Doucoure drove forward in support of counter-attacks, whilst he showcased his ability as a complete midfielder by winning the ball back 12 times – more than any other teammate.
Keep Fighting always ? pic.twitter.com/UOxQTbI2yO
— Abdoulaye Doucouré (@abdoudoucoure16) October 19, 2019
Midfield: David Silva – Manchester City
The Manchester City midfielder continues to be one of the most influential talents in the Premier League, with the diminutive Spaniard at his very best during his side’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Silva’s effortless ability to influence proceedings continues despite his advancing years, his performance rewarded with a brilliantly created goal that showcased all of his faultless technique.
Arguably the club’s greatest ever player will leave the Etihad at the end of the season, and City fans should enjoy the man known as El Mago whilst they still can.
CITY AT THEIR BEST! ?
A devastating counter attack from @ManCity is finished expertly by David Silva ?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 19, 2019
Right-wing: Jack Grealish – Aston Villa
The Jack Grealish for England cries continue to get louder, not least from the Aston Villa fans who saw their captain produce an outstanding performance in their 2-1 win over 10-man Brighton.
Given a licence to roam in advanced positions, Grealish was at his creative best, tormenting Brighton’s defence down both flanks as Villa secured a vital late win.
The 24-year-old’s lack of productivity has often been used as a criticism, but having registered a goal and an assist this weekend Grealish now has five goal involvements in nine fixtures so far this season.
Gareth Southgate is likely to be monitoring the midfielder, with a potential inclusion looming ahead of November’s international break.
"He's played tremendously well." ?
"He's so unique in comparison to other players we've got in the international team." ???????
"Could he play for one of the top four? 100%" ?
Danny Murphy says Jack Grealish's price tag has trebled after his fine start to the season. ? pic.twitter.com/c5CdoTTDwm
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) October 21, 2019
Left-wing: Callum Hudson-Odoi – Chelsea
The winger’s return from a long-term Achilles injury has been a welcome boost for Frank Lampard and Chelsea, the teenager having shone since being reintroduced to the first-team at Stamford Bridge.
It is now three assists in three league appearances for the 18-year-old, whose remarkable record extends to a goal or assist in every appearance for club and country since returning from his lay-off.
Hudson-Odoi was a constant menace to Newcastle‘s defenders as Chelsea edged a 1-0 win against Steve Bruce’s struggling side, and looks likely to continue flourishing alongside Chelsea’s emerging young talent under Lampard this season.
See also – Premier League Weekend: Heroes and Villains
Forward: Marcus Rashford – Manchester United
It has been a difficult start to the season both Manchester United and Rashford, though optimism will have increased at Old Trafford following their spirited display in ending Liverpool’s winning streak this weekend.
Rashford would lead the line alongside Daniel James as United looked to utilise the duo’s pace on the counter-attack, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plan would pay dividends as the two combined to open the scoring.
The goal was Rashford’s fourth in the Premier League this season and was reward for a positive display, the 21-year-old enhancing his reputation as a big-game player with an 11th career goal against top-six opposition.
Marcus Rashford's career record against the 'Big Six':
⚽️⚽️⚽️ vs. Chelsea
⚽️⚽️⚽️ vs. Liverpool
⚽️⚽️ vs. Arsenal
⚽️⚽️ vs. Man City
⚽️ vs. Spurs
More controversy… pic.twitter.com/Cm5pUuWNJD
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 20, 2019
Forward: Daniel James – Manchester United
Alongside Rashford, James’ lightning pace was a constant threat to the Liverpool backline as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to utilise the duo as a forward pair on the counter-attack.
The Welsh international has quickly become a favourite at Old Trafford since his summer arrival with his willingness to work hard and chase seemingly lost causes.
The 21-year-old again ran his socks off in the 1-1 draw and continued to come again despite receiving some heavy knocks, whilst also showing his quality with a fine delivery across the box to assist Rashford’s opener.