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Premier League Team of the Week

Manchester United’s winning run continued with a club record eighth consecutive away Premier League victory this weekend, summer signing Edinson Cavani coming off the bench to complete a comeback victory at Southampton.

Chelsea and Tottenham played out a stalemate at Stamford Bridge in the battle of the in-form London rivals, whilst Liverpool were thwarted late at Brighton following a contentious VAR call.

Elsewhere Manchester City rediscovered their mojo to thrash a hapless Burnley, whilst Arsenal’s disappointing defeat to Wolves confirmed their worst ever start to a Premier League season.

It’s that time of the week again where we compile a dream XI from the weekend’s action, here is the Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week:

Goalkeeper: Sam Johnstone – West Bromwich Albion

West Brom are finally off the mark after emerging victorious from the battle of the winless sides at the bottom, edging Sheffield United 1-0 to secure their first three points since promotion to the Premier League.

Slaven Bilic’s side had goalkeeper Sam Johnstone to thank for a hugely impressive performance in keeping a clean sheet, making a series of smart saves including fine stops to deny both Oliver Burke and Oli McBurnie.

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Johnstone has been his side’s most consistent performer over the opening weeks of the campaign and has spoken of his desire to challenge for an England place, performances of this calibre likely to bring him to Gareth Southgate’s attention with the 27-year-old commanding throughout.

Right-back: Reece James – Chelsea

Has Reece James moved to the front of the queue in England’s right-back pecking order?

It is difficult to envisage any nation having such quality competition for just one position, but with James competing alongside the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Kieran Tripper and Aaron Wan-Bissaka there is a wealth of talent for the Three Lions to choose from.

James has cemented his place in the Chelsea side this season ahead of club captain Cesar Azpilicueta and is looking more accomplished with each passing performance, the 20-year-old a stand-out for his side during their goalless draw with Tottenham this weekend.

The full-back is powerful and dynamic at both ends of the pitch and provided some superb deliveries from the right flank, James only likely to improve further with continued minutes in the Chelsea first team.

Centre-back: Joe Rodon – Tottenham

Tottenham’s summer signing was handed a baptism of fire for his first Premier League start, chosen ahead of the more experienced Davinson Sanchez for a crucial clash against London rivals Chelsea.

It was a significant step up in quality for the 23-year-old who was playing his football for Championship side Swansea last season, though Rodon showed his potential with a mature performance as Spurs held out for a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

The Welsh international endured some shaky moments in possession and will have been relieved to see Olivier Giroud spurn a late chance following a wayward header, though made some vital headed clearances to play his part in securing an important point.

Rodon has stated his case for regular inclusion amid Toby Alderweireld’s injury and will learn from his first experience at this level.

Centre-back: Robin Koch – Leeds

Robin Koch has endured a mixed start to his Leeds career so far but provided a reminder of his quality during the club’s win at Everton, dealing with the threat of Dominic Calvert-Lewin superbly as Marcelo Bielsa’s side returned home from Merseyside with all three points.

Calvert-Lewin is the league’s leading scorer and has been in excellent form so far this season, but struggled to make an impact up against the Germany international.

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Koch read the game superbly to nullify the impact of the England forward, with the centre-back now ranking third in the Premier League for interceptions so far this season, his 22 bettered by only N’Golo Kante and Matty Cash.

Left-back: Benjamin Mendy – Manchester City

Benjamin Mendy’s struggles with form and fitness have been a major source of frustration for Manchester City, though the full-back made his second successive start since returning from injury to impress at left-back this weekend.

The France international has seen Joao Cancelo thrive in his absence but stated his case to be a fixture in Pep Guardiola’s side during the 5-0 win over Burnley, stretching the play in an encouraging performance full of attacking intent.

Mendy’s left-footed ability adds a different dimension to the City side when operating at full fitness, with the 26-year-old scoring his first goal for the club in fine fashion with a brilliant finish from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross.

Midfield: Kalvin Phillips – Leeds

Leeds’ season so far has seen brilliant performances mixed with inconsistent displays, though their 1-0 win at Everton showcased the threat of Marcelo Bielsa’s side as they continually carved out opportunities at Goodison Park.

Central to securing three points on Merseyside was the performance of Kalvin Phillips, who oozed class as the centre-piece of the Leeds side, offering protection to the pack four and demonstrating his fine passing range.

Phillips remarkably completed 79 of his 84 passes including several superb switches of play, whilst he often filled in for his full-backs defensively as they marauded forward with intent.

It was a fine display from the midfielder who helped relieve the pressure on his side from the hosts in an end-to-end fixture, a display unlikely to have gone unnoticed by Gareth Southgate and England.

Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

Manchester City rediscovered their goalscoring touch this weekend and it was no surprise a fine team performance coincided with Kevin De Bruyne looking back to his brilliant best, the midfielder at the heart of his side’s best play.

The Belgian international took his assist tally to the season for five with only Harry Kane having managed more across the division, playing in Riyad Mahrez for the opening goal of the game before a superb back-post cross picked out Benjamin Mendy.

Burnley simply couldn’t cope with the 29-year-old who remains the man who makes Pep Guardiola’s side tick, De Bruyne’s destruction of Burnley seeing the Clarets beaten 5-0 at the Etihad for the fourth consecutive campaign.

Right-wing: Riyad Mahrez – Burnley

Riyad Mahrez has struggled to sparkle for Manchester City on a consistent basis but when on-song there are few more devastating wide players in the Premier League.

The Algerian international was certainly in the mood against Burnley this weekend and helped himself to a first league hat-trick in almost five years, putting City firmly in control with two confident finishes before the break.

Mahrez’s flawless first touch was once more on show and his masterclass was complete with a rare headed effort in the second half, continuing his impressive goalscoring record against Burnley who must be sick of the sight of the winger.

Left-wing: Raphinha – Leeds

Leeds’ late window signing has made an impressive start to life in the Premier League and looks tailor-made for the demands of Marcelo Bielsa, the winger starring during the club’s 1-0 win at Everton this weekend.

Raphinha was a threat throughout with his movement causing all kinds of problems for the home side’s defence, his pace and energy seemingly perfectly suited to a vibrant Leeds attack which continues to create chance after chance.

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The winger proved the difference in a bizarre game at Goodison Park with his first goal in English football, a driven effort from distance proving the match winner and getting the Brazilian up-and-running in the Premier League.

Forward: Joelinton – Newcastle

Joelinton joins the likes of Robin Koch and Benjamin Mendy in bouncing back from difficult periods to earn their inclusion in our Team of the Week, the forward answering his critics with a much-improved display in Newcastle’s 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.

The Brazilian – quite rightly – has come in for some serious flack following his poor performances since a £40m move from Hoffenheim last summer, but showed at Selhurst Park there is a player within who could yet prove a valuable asset to the Magpies.

The 24-year-old was a handful throughout and was rewarded for his work-ethic late in the game, providing an assist for Callum Wilson with a clever pass before turning home a deflected effort for a much-needed goal just moments later.

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Steve Bruce will hope his display can lead to an increase in confidence for the record signing, who will be keen to build on this promising performance in the coming weeks.

Forward: Edinson Cavani – Manchester United

Edinson Cavani may have scored his first Premier League goal against Everton earlier this month, but this weekend was the moment ‘El Matador’ announced himself to English football in style.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side needed a hero after finding themselves two goals down to Southampton at the break and found one in their summer signing, Cavani coming off the bench to turn the tie around and complete a stunning comeback.

The Uruguay international crossed for Bruno Fernandes to pull a goal back at St Mary’s, before brilliantly throwing himself at the same player’s shot to head home an equaliser.

The best was yet to come, however, as the 34-year-old glanced in Marcus Rashford’s cross in stoppage-time to spark wild celebrations, a vintage Cavani performance and a reminder of the predatory qualities the veteran can bring to the Red Devils this season.

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