There were several stand-out performers across what has been an enthralling weekend of Premier League action, with Manchester United taking local bragging rights in a fiercely contested Manchester derby and a struggling Everton side being seemingly rejuvenated under the leadership of club great Duncan Ferguson.
Elsewhere Liverpool and Leicester continued their title charges in fine style, and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham bounced back from midweek defeat in style.
It’s that time of the week again and we’ve decided on an uber-attacking 3-4-1-2 formation to a accommodate a wealth of attacking talent, here is The Football Faithful‘s Premier League Team of the Week…
Goalkeeper: Martin Dubravka – Newcastle
Steve Bruce’s Newcastle have quietly climbed the Premier League table in recent weeks, their latest victory over Southampton lifting the club into the top half and making it just one defeat in their past seven fixtures.
Goalkeeper Dubravka was crucial to their latest success, twice denying Nathan Redmond in fine style with the game level, keeping the Magpies in the contest and providing the platform to snatch a late 2-1 win.
Defence: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United
Pigeon-holed into the right-hand side of our back three is Manchester United‘s Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who delivered a display full of maturity and tenacity to help secure derby success for his side.
The young full-back has rarely looked flustered since emerging as a Premier League player and arguably delivered his finest performance in a United shirt so far, in what was a huge Manchester derby victory.
The 21-year-old’s prolific tackling was once again evident as he shackled the threat of Raheem Sterling admirably at the Etihad, no player on the pitch making more tackles than Wan-Bissaka.
See also – Five of the best Manchester Derbies
Centre-back: Mason Holgate – Everton
Holgate has been reintroduced into the Everton first-team this season following a loan spell in the Championship last term and has struggled on occasion, not least the midweek Merseyside derby thrashing to Liverpool, though like many of his teammates rose to the occasion for Duncan Ferguson’s first game in charge as interim manager.
The 23-year-old looked assured as the Toffees secured a precious three points against Chelsea at Goodison Park, coping well with the threat of Tammy Abraham as Ferguson’s tenure got off to a perfect start.
Everton have lacked solidity at the back in opening months of the season, and Holgate will be hoping that this performance can be a turning point for the Merseyside outfit.
Centre-back: Jonny Evans – Leicester
An understated presence in a Leicester City team that is thriving this season, Evans was once again a key figure as Brendan Rodgers’ side secured an eighth successive league victory with a 4-1 thumping of Aston Villa at Villa Park.
The Northern Irishman has not quite received the plaudits of defensive partner Caglar Soyuncu this season so far, but his influence was once again evident at both ends of the pitch.
Evans was defensively sound and his reading of the game was apparent to contain the hulking presence of Wesley, whilst he popped up at the other end with a fine header from James Maddison’s corner to give his side breathing space.
Signed for just £3.5m following West Brom’s relegation in 2018, Evans has been one of the club’s smarter pieces of business in recent years.
Jonny Evans is just 31, a master of the centre-half craft, decent passer, leader, role model, now goalscorer. Cost #lcfc £3.5m last year. How much is he worth now! Fantastic signing. Such a well-run club 🦊👏
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) December 8, 2019
Midfield: Fred – Manchester United
The Brazilian international has been a much-maligned figure since his £52m move from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018, though he has begun to show signs that he is finally adapting to the demands of English football in recent weeks.
The 26-year-old produced his best performance since arriving at the club in the hostility of the Manchester derby, controlling the midfield and nullifying the likes of Kevin De Bruyne with his energy and industry.
The racial abuse the midfielder suffered was a disgusting low point on an otherwise memorable evening, his partnership with Scott McTominay beginning to produce at the heart of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Midfield: Naby Keita – Liverpool
The Guinea international’s struggles since moving to Anfield have been well documented, not least given the hype that surrounded his arrival following a long and patient pursuit by Jurgen Klopp.
Injuries have hampered his progress, though he was given a rare chance to impress from the start having returned to full fitness in recent weeks, the midfielder shining in a comfortable victory at Bournemouth for the league leaders.
The 24-year-old was signed to bring dynamism to an otherwise workman-like midfield for the Reds, his skillset evident as he helped himself to a goal and an assist on the South Coast, while a series of driving runs created constant problems for Eddie Howe’s side.
His pass for Salah’s goal was superb, and he will hope to be given more opportunities in the coming weeks as he bids to establish himself as a fixture for the European champions.
Naby Keita vs. Bournemouth
95% Pass accuracy
3 Chances created
2/3 Shots on target
1/1 Dribble complete
5/7 Ground duels won
3/4 Tackles won
My man of the match. Keita was everywhere. He was incisive. He was instrumental. He is a very good player pic.twitter.com/SwiUvBjP1O
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) December 7, 2019
Right-wing: George Baldock – Sheffield United
Sheffield United’s innovative system has drawn plenty of praise for their overlapping centre-backs so far this season, but the roles of wing-backs George Baldock and Enda Stevens are just as crucial to the success of Chris Wilder’s side.
It was the duo that did the damage as the club returned to winning ways at Norwich this weekend, Baldock providing a fine deep cross for Stevens to head home an equaliser after United had fallen behind at Carrow Road.
Baldock would then prove to be the match-winner with a brilliant piece of skill, twisting and turning inside the box before firing home a powerful drive to seal a vital three points.
The win leaves Sheffield United in eighth, and the momentum in their first season back in the top flight continues.
Left-wing: Son Heung-Min – Tottenham
What a goal!
The South Korea international has arguably been Tottenham‘s finest performer so far this season and was once again at his electric best during the club’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley.
Son would provide the assist for Harry Kane’s opener before playing his part in Lucas Moura’s second, though it was his brilliant individual goal for Spurs’ third that will live long in the memory.
Picking the ball up on the edge of his own box, Son would run, run and then run some more, carrying the ball the entire length of the pitch and past several helpless defenders before firing past Nick Pope.
It was undoubtedly a Goal of the Season contender from the 27-year-old, who has now scored five goals and provided seven assists in the Premier League so far this season.
Attacking midfield: James Maddison – Leicester
Few players enjoyed their weekend as much as Leicester’s James Maddison, who breezed around the pitch at Villa Park to pull the strings in a comfortable 4-1 victory for the surprise title contenders.
Brendan Rodgers opted to utilise a midfield diamond against Villa, allowing Maddison to find himself in pockets of space behind the front two of Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho, the Foxes overloading the centre of the park and allowing Maddison to float into dangerous areas time and time again.
The 23-year-old has featured regularly in this feature throughout the season and makes our side once again, Maddison helping himself to two assists and providing a host of chances for his grateful Leicester teammates.
Forward: Harry Kane – Tottenham
The England captain was at his devastating best during Tottenham’s thrashing of Burnley, scoring twice with a pair of thumping finishes before turning provider for Moussa Sissoko to score the fifth of the afternoon.
The 5-0 victory was a welcome return to winning ways following the midweek defeat at Manchester United, Kane showcasing his faultless technique with a powerful, dipping effort from distance to open the scoring.
His second would leave Pope just as helpless, Kane firing another fierce effort into the top corner after backing Burnley’s defenders into the penalty area and he now has nine league goals for the season.
The 26-year-old and manager Jose Mourinho will hope his double is the start of a prolific run of form, as Spurs look to push towards the Champions League places.
Forward: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Everton
Forward options were perhaps the most difficult area of our team to select this week, with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Diogo Jota and Jamie Vardy all unfortunate to miss out.
We’ve opted for Everton’s Calvert-Lewin to lead our line alongside Tottenham’s Kane, the 22-year-old central to the club’s first win under interim manager Duncan Ferguson.
Calvert-Lewin does not always get the goals that his industry and role tend to deserve, though he got his rewards with a brace against Chelsea, the first time the youngster has netted twice in a Premier League fixture.
The Everton forward is always a handful for opposition defenders and his style is likely to be welcomed by Ferguson, who will hope Calvert-Lewin can get himself on the scoresheet more often as the club look to climb following their difficult start to the season.
2 – Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored his first ever Premier League brace in his 92nd appearance in the competition, and his first league brace overall since October 2015 for Northampton Town against Carlisle in League Two. Scramble. pic.twitter.com/J3GLzAqbeV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 7, 2019