It has rained goals in the opening weeks of the new Premier League season and the latest action was yet another thoroughly entertaining round of fixtures, Leicester stunning Manchester City at the Etihad in the headline result of the weekend.
Elsewhere champions Liverpool looked back to their best with a dominant victory over Arsenal at Anfield, whilst there were dramatic finishes at both Brighton and Tottenham as late, late penalties secured results for Manchester United and Newcastle.
It’s that time of the week again where we delve into the weekend’s action and compile our dream XI, here is the Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week:
Goalkeeper: Illan Meslier – Leeds
Leeds have been a fascinating watch following their pulsating return to the Premier League, Marcelo Bielsa’s side participating in two seven-goal thrillers in their opening two fixtures.
After the madness of those clashes against Liverpool and Fulham came a hard-fought victory at Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, where a resilient defensive display was key to Leeds making it back-to-back top-flight victories.
⛔️ Massive save from Illan Meslier! ⛔️
The 20-year-old Frenchman denies John Lundstram from close range!
Superb reactions 👏 pic.twitter.com/Fc7Ddi1WDU
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 27, 2020
Young goalkeeper Illan Meslier has come under some scrutiny after conceding seven goals to date, but was central to Leeds’ success in keeping a clean sheet at Bramall Lane, including a stunning stop to deny John Lundstram from close range and another effort to keep out George Baldock’s fiercely struck drive.
It was a brilliant performance from the 20-year-old who will surely now grow in confidence, Meslier demonstrating he has the talent to thrive at the very highest level.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Trent Alexander-Arnold has struggled to produce his best form over the opening fixtures of the campaign but bounced back with a hugely impressive performance for Liverpool on Monday night, the right-back running the show in signature style from his position in the backline.
The England international’s delivery was superb as the champions dominated the contest against the Gunners, whilst he was unfortunate not to find himself on the scoresheet after striking the bar with a deflected effort from distance that had Bernd Leno stranded.
Trent Alexander Arnold has now provided 27 Premier League assists, the same number as Dirk Kuyt manged in his entire Liverpool career.
He's done it in 111 fewer games too. pic.twitter.com/yjOgC3QvKb
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 28, 2020
After breaking his own single-season assist record for a defender last term, the full-back also got himself up and running for the new season, another fine delivery from the flank picking out Andy Robertson to put Liverpool ahead after Arsenal had earlier taken the lead on Merseyside.
Arsenal’s more pragmatic style under Mikel Arteta had led many to suggest the Gunners could get another result against the Reds, but this was a timely reminder of the champion’s strengths and Alexander-Arnold was typically at the heart of a display which squeezed the life out of the visitors.
Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
Mikel Arteta lavished praise on Virgil van Dijk and the impact the defender has on this Liverpool side, though it was not just the Dutchman’s defensive skills that saw him shine against Arsenal at Anfield.
Van Dijk’s range of passing is fundamental to the Reds’ attacking play with his accurate long balls forward essential to breaking the press, a tactic not lost on Arteta who saw the Gunners pinned back for long periods by the champions on Merseyside.
Virgil van Dijk completed 117 passes vs. Arsenal, *71* more than any Arsenal player.
Excellent range from the Liverpool skipper on the night. 👌 pic.twitter.com/6nclEap8p5
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 28, 2020
The centre-back also made more passes than any other player on the pitch as Liverpool dominated possession, completing a record-breaking 77 passes in the first half to break the all-time Premier League landmark set by teammate Thiago Alcantara against Chelsea just last weekend.
Van Dijk finished the evening with 117 completed passes, remarkably 71 more than any Arsenal player throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Centre-back: Tyrone Mings – Aston Villa
The leader in the backline for an Aston Villa side which has made a hugely positive start to the new season, winning back-to-back league fixtures with successive clean sheets against Sheffield United and Fulham.
Villa cruised to victory against a Fulham side that look out of their depth at this level at present, with Mings a vocal presence at the heart of the backline in a performance that will increase his hopes of maintaining an England place ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
The centre-back capped a faultless display with a goal as he slid home Conor Hourihane’s free-kick unchallenged, putting the gloss on a second consecutive victory as Villa continued their 100% start to the season.
Left-back: Arthur Masuaku – West Ham
West Ham‘s season was kickstarted in sensational style with a thumping victory over Wolves at the London Stadium, David Moyes’ side running riot to secure their first three points of the campaign.
Amongst the stars of the show was Masuaku, who thrived in a wing-back role to produce an all-action performance down the left-hand side, nullifying the threat of both Adama Traore and Nelson Semedo in addition to contributing plenty in attack.
King Arthur 👑
— West Ham United (@WestHam) September 28, 2020
The 26-year-old made four key passes and created two key chances for his side, including a pinpoint delivery for Sebastien Haller to head home West Ham’s fourth on a memorable evening in the capital.
Midfield: Youri Tielemans – Leicester
The best midfielder on the pitch as Leicester secured a huge victory at Manchester City, a hat-trick of penalties helping the Foxes to a 5-2 thrashing of Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad.
Tielemans was outstanding in a complete midfield performance for Brendan Rodgers side, his passing through the lines exceptional as he completed 100% of his passes in the final third, including a brilliantly weighted pass for Timothy Castagne in the build-up to Jamie Vardy’s second goal of the game.
Vardy will get the headlines but that was pure class from Youri Tielemans. Outstanding performance and a reminder, if needed, why he is Leicester’s record signing. Castagne is also a player #lcfc
— John Percy (@JPercyTelegraph) September 27, 2020
The Belgian international was also diligent defensively in the absence of Wilfred Ndidi, whilst he capped an impressive individual performance with a goal from the penalty spot, slamming home Leicester’s third spot-kick in emphatic fashion after Vardy had been withdrawn.
Midfield: Jack Grealish – Aston Villa
Tucked inside into our midfield is Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, who edges out the likes of teammate John McGinn, West Ham’s Tomas Soucek and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes to play a central role in our Team of the Week.
Grealish was typically influential in a roaming position for Dean Smith’s side at Fulham, drifting inside with devastating consequences as Villa secured a comprehensive victory at Craven Cottage.
Jack Grealish for Aston Villa vs. Fulham:
⬢ Most touches (64)
⬢ Most touches in opp. box (6)
⬢ Most take-ons completed (3)
⬢ Most ball recoveries (12)
⬢ Most duels won (14)
⬢ Most fouls won (6)
⬢ Most shots (3)
And he got the night started with a goal. © pic.twitter.com/B12YMGjBF2
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 28, 2020
The newly-capped England international opened the scoring after ghosting forwards into the box, whilst his influence was backed up by statistics, the 25-year-old completing more touches, more take-ons and having more shots than any other player on the pitch.
After ending speculation over his future by signing a new long-term contract, Grealish can now focus on leading his boyhood side upwards as their ambitious owners look to revive Villa’s fortunes.
Right-wing: Jarrod Bowen – West Ham
West Ham’s 4-0 thrashing of Wolves was littered with impressive showings and the likes of the aforementioned Soucek and Michail Antonio are unfortunate to miss out on our side, but we’ve opted for the inclusion of Jarrod Bowen in our Team of the Week following his two-goal display.
Bowen has quickly become a fans’ favourite at the London Stadium since signing from Hull in January, but has so far struggled to replicate his previous goalscoring exploits despite his positive performances.
That changed with a clinical display against Wolves this weekend, the winger scoring twice to set his side on their way to a first win of the season.
A wonderful finish by Jarrod Bowen for West Ham! ⚒️
Excellent quick-thinking from Pablo Fornals 👏 pic.twitter.com/OfS4P3iC1k
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 27, 2020
Bowen’s first came in trademark style as he jinked in from the right-hand side before curling a low left-footed finish beyond the goalkeeper, before the 23-year-old was in the right place at the right time to double his tally and West Ham’s lead.
David Moyes will hope this is just the start for a talented player who has the ability to thrive at this level, Bowen’s signing looking like a shrewd purchase in an era of questionable recruitment for the Hammers.
Left-wing: Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Superb last week in scoring twice against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Sadio Mane was back doing Sadio Mane things against Arsenal on Monday night.
Mane began the contest with the demeanour of a man who had woken on the wrong side of the bed, the forward perhaps fortunate not to have received red for a wayward arm in the direction of Kieran Tierney in the opening minutes of the clash.
That pent-up aggression was soon channelled into a display of feverish pressing play, Mane a relentless runner in this Liverpool side and central to their best moments against the Gunners.
It's Sadio Mane's fifth season at Liverpool.
He's scored against Arsenal in all of them 💥 pic.twitter.com/oaeKoKSOxM
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 28, 2020
The Senegalese’s energy and speed terrified Rob Holding in the Arsenal back-line, whilst he was perfectly placed to bring the champions level from close range following Alexandre Lacazette’s opener.
His mix of speed, skill and industry makes Mane a unique proposition and he already looks in the mood for another huge season as Jurgen Klopp’s side look to retain their Premier League title.
Forward: Callum Robinson – West Bromwich Albion
West Brom’s hopes of survival have been questioned following back-to-back defeats to open the season, though their display against Chelsea this weekend at least offered some form of promise despite capitulating to share the spoils.
Slaven Bilic’s side raced into a three-goal lead with summer signing Callum Robinson scoring twice, the forward arriving on a permanent deal from Sheffield United after a loan spell at the Hawthorns last term.
Robinson was trusted in a lone attacking role and responded with two well-taken finishes, first firing low past Willy Caballero before capitalising on a blunder from Thiago Silva to double West Brom’s advantage.
It was an encouraging display from the 25-year-old who will hope to make that role his own for the coming campaign, West Brom in desperate need of a reliable goalscorer given their defensive struggles to date.
Forward: Jamie Vardy – Leicester
The fine wine that continues to get better and better with age, Jamie Vardy once again demonstrated why he is amongst the most ruthless finishers in the Premier League this weekend.
Only three hat-trick’s have ever been scored against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, with Vardy now responsible for two of those trebles, the other scored by a certain Lionel Messi.
The 33-year-old had the fewest touches of any outfield player during Leicester’s 5-2 win at the Etihad, but left with the match ball after emphatically converting two penalties in addition to a sublime flicked finish.
Jamie Vardy is the first player EVER to score a hat-trick away from home against a side managed by Pep Guardiola.
Not even Lionel Messi has managed that. 🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/uideV02vRD
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 27, 2020
Both penalties were won by the forward himself who has perfected the dart behind opposition defences, whilst his clinical finishing sees the veteran continue to rise amongst the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorers.
Only 23 players have now scored more Premier League goals than the Golden Boot holder, an astonishing statistic given Vardy only made his top-flight debut at the age of 27.