Each week we delve through the Premier League action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.
It was a weekend of Premier League hat-tricks with three players all helping themselves to a match ball, including Erling Haaland who maintained Manchester City’s perfect start at the top.
There was drama in north London as Arsenal left it late to snatch victory against old rivals Manchester Untied, while Liverpool eased past Aston Villa at Anfield.
Elsewhere, Ange Postecoglou’s impressive start at Tottenham continued, Sheffield United became the first promoted team to earn a point, and Nottingham Forest pulled off a shock to win at Chelsea.
Here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week:
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford – Everton
Made a number of vital stops to earn Everton their first point of the Premier League season, with England’s number one coming to his side’s rescue at Sheffield United.
Pickford made a strong first-half save at his near post and another to deny Luke Thomas, but could do little with his unfortunate own goal as Cameron Archer’s effort crashed in off the goalkeeper after hitting the post.
An outstanding double stop in stoppage-time later ensured Everton left Bramall Lane with a draw and Everton will need Pickford to be at his best this season if Sean Dyche’s side are to stay up.
98th-minute. Corner away from home…
JORDAN PICKFORD. ENGLAND’S NUMBER ONE. 🔵 pic.twitter.com/IEUJssEF3B
— Everton (@Everton) September 2, 2023
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Alexander-Arnold ran the game at times as Liverpool beat Aston Villa 3-0 to underline their title credentials, producing a passing masterclass both at right-back and when inverting into midfield.
The 24-year-old assisted the first to reach 55 career assists in the Premier League, more than Mesut Ozil, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. Alexander-Arnold’s assist was also his 10th this calendar year, becoming just the third player to have achieved that feat after Mohamed Salah and Leandro Trossard.
10 – Trent Alexander-Arnold is the third player to assist 10+ goals in the Premier League in 2023, after Leandro Trossard and Mohamed Salah; it’s the third time he’s assisted 10+ league goals in a calendar year, after 2019 (17) and 2021 (13). Service. pic.twitter.com/9zCsDV7QgA
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 3, 2023
From right-back, his productivity is unmatched.
Centre-back: Kurt Zouma – West Ham
Kurt Zouma captained West Ham as the club’s fine start to the season continued with a 2-1 win at Luton.
The centre-back was dominant defensively as he led the contest for clearances (10), aerial duels won (7) and interceptions (3), before rising to meet James Ward-Prowse’s corner to head home the Hammers’ second goal.
Centre-back: Willy Boly – Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest produced the shock of the weekend after a 1-0 win at Chelsea, as Anthony Elanga scored his first goal for the club to seal an upset at Stamford Bridge.
At the opposite end Willy Boly stood tall for the visitors, with the Ivorian heading and clearing everything that came his way. Boly blocked when required, won duels and stepped forward confidently in possession. His last-ditch block on Nicolas Jackson stopped a certain goal.
Left-back: Destiny Udogie – Tottenham
Continues to go from strength to strength in a strong start to his Spurs career. Udogie was involved heavily as Spurs thrashed Burnley, with another performance full of endeavour and attacking energy.
The 20-year-old battled to win the ball back and registered his second assist of the campaign with a pass inside for James Maddison. Brought into the side after a loan spell at Udinese last season, he’s taken his chance under the new regime.
Midfield: Ryan Yates – Nottingham Forest
Ryan Yates’ best work might not always be glamorous, but the midfielder’s enthusiasm and tenacity was a standout in Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win at Chelsea.
Matched up against a World Cup winner and the most expensive footballer in British football history, Yates came out on top. The ugly work is often what Yates does best and that was never more apparent than at Stamford Bridge. He won’t give up his place in the side easily, after the deadline day arrivals of Nicolás Domínguez and Ibrahim Sangare.
Midfield: Julian Alvarez – Manchester City
A fine afternoon at the office for Julian Alvarez, who helped himself to a goal and created two others against Fulham. The Argentine has thrived in an advanced midfield role so far this season, combining well with Erling Haaland and providing additional threat for the champions.
Alvarez turned in the opener against Fulham from Haaland’s pass, before returning the favour with a first-time release of the Norwegian in behind. Alvarez then won a penalty which Haaland converted, in another impressive performance from the World Cup winner.
A reminder that Pep Guardiola said Man City couldn’t replace Sergio Aguero…
Then he went and signed Erling Haaland and Julian Alvaraz 😅 pic.twitter.com/hKeIHqzgkH
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) September 3, 2023
He’s started each of Manchester City’s four Premier League games so far this season and has repaid Pep Guardiola’s faith.
Midfield: James Maddison – Tottenham
James Maddison is loving life in north London, with the midfielder again influential as the creative hub of Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs side. Maddison was magical at times as Spurs secured a 5-2 win at Burnley, drifting into dangerous pockets and running off a showreel of subtle touches.
He scored Tottenham’s third with a brilliant effort, curling an unstoppable finish inside James Trafford’s post. Postecoglou might have scoffed at suggestions that £40m could ever be a ‘bargain’, but Maddison has already shown signs of being brilliant value in an inflated market.
Forward: Evan Ferguson – Brighton
Is Evan Ferguson really just 18?
This was the performance of a centre-forward who has been performing on this stage for a decade, as Ferguson helped himself to a hat-trick in Brighton’s 3-1 win over Newcastle. His all-round game was excellent, but it is the manner of his finishing which really sets Ferguson apart from his peers.
Enjoy Evan’s hat-trick in all its glory! ⚽️⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/sqaTqlmlAd
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) September 2, 2023
He poached home a first after Nick Pope’s error, fired in a superb second from distance, and claimed the first match ball of his senior career with a fortuitous third. The teenager deserved that luck, after a display which gave the clearest indication yet that Ferguson is very much the real deal.
Forward: Erling Haaland – Manchester City
The ‘drought’ was never going to last long, was it?
Haaland had gone four games without scoring a goal at the Etihad for Manchester City, but ended that steak with a hat-trick against Fulham and added an assist for good measure.
This was a good hat-trick, too. He collected Julian Alvarez’s pass to roll home his first, before emphatically dispatching a penalty after his miss from the spot at Sheffield United last weekend. The third was the best of the lot, arriving onto Sergio Gomez’s cut-back to slam home his hat-trick.
Four games, six goals, and once again leading the race for the Golden Boot. Catch him if you can.
Forward: Son Heung-min – Tottenham
Our three-man forward line is completed by the third hat-trick scorer of the weekend, a front three with nine goals between them this weekend.
Son’s treble was arguably the most impressive, with the South Korean netting his first of the season with a beautiful chipped effort, before two clinical conversions claimed the match ball for the Spurs captain at Burnley.
It’s Sonny in Burnley 🤩
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 2, 2023
Postecoglou took a chance on Son in a central role and reaped the rewards, with his movement excellent as the centre-piece of the Australian’s attacking system. Harry Kane’s co-star could soon be re-homed as his full-time replacement.