Each week we delve through the Premier League action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.
Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday Nine:
Goalkeeper: Thomas Kaminski – Luton
Luton are beginning to find their feet at Premier League level, with the Hatters having fought back from two goals down to earn a point at Nottingham Forest. Forest have had a mixed start to the season, but remain strong on home soil and Luton can be delighted with their comeback at the City Ground.
Thomas Kaminski helped keep Luton in the game under pressure, as the goalkeeper made six saves – with four coming from shots inside the box – for Rob Edwards’ side. The best came from close range as the Belgian kept out Harry Toffolo’s effort with a reaction stop.
Right-back: Kieran Trippier – Newcastle
When Newcastle play well, Kieran Trippier is normally at the heart of it. The England international was an exceptional outlet once again for Eddie Howe’s side and recorded his eighth assist of the season in all competitions after picking out Jacob Murphy inside four minutes.
As ever, his delivery was on point for much of the game and he has now provided a Premier League assist in four consecutive games for the Magpies. No player in the Premier League has more assists (6) this season.
6 – Kieran Trippier has assisted more goals than any other player in the Premier League this season (6), while he’s become the only Newcastle player to have assisted a goal in four consecutive appearances in the competition. Service. pic.twitter.com/pwbQ9cLQf1
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 21, 2023
Centre-back: Craig Dawson – Wolves
Craig Dawson’s defensive display was the foundation for Wolves to secure a late win at Bournemouth, as Gary O’Neil earned a sweet win over the club who sacked him last summer.
Dawson made six clearances, three tackles and five interceptions, while winning 10/11 duels in the contest. The 33-year-old will have a pivotal role to play in Wolves’ bid to stay clear of trouble.
Centre-back: Harry Maguire – Manchester United
Harry Maguire impressed on his return to former side Sheffield United, with both sets of supporters providing the centre-back with a warm ovation at Bramall Lane. Maguire completed a huge 13 long balls, won five aerial duels and won 100% of his tackles, as the Red Devils ground out a hard-fought win.
Maguire has had a tough time across the last two seasons, but this was a strong showing from the England international. He’ll hope to kick on from here and regain a regular role in Erik ten Hag’s plans.
Harry Maguire’s Man of the Match performance against Sheffield United 📈👏
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) October 22, 2023
Left-back: Marc Cucurella – Chelsea
Arguably his best performance in a Chelsea shirt. The Spaniard had one of the toughest tests in the Premier League up against Bukayo Saka, but produced an impressive shutdown performance on the winger in an often physical battle.
Saka’s cross did lead to Arsenal’s late equaliser, but Cucurella will have won over some of his doubters with this showing. A foundation to build from for the left-back, who has struggled since signing for Chelsea.
Midfield: Douglas Luiz – Aston Villa
Douglas Luiz just can’t stop scoring at Villa Park right now with the midfielder on the scoresheet for the sixth straight home game this weekend. The Brazilian’s brace helped Villa to a 4-1 win over West Ham, with Luiz arriving on the edge of the box to fire home an opener past Alphonse Areola, before doubling the host’s lead from the penalty spot.
Luiz led the game for ball recoveries (9) and final third passes (22) in an all-action showing from central midfield. Villa are getting better and better under Unai Emery and Luiz is firmly at the heart of it.
Douglas Luiz’s game by numbers vs. West Ham:
87% pass accuracy
61 passes completed
22 final third passes completed
9 ball recoveries
6 long balls completed
3 tackles won
3 key passes
Masterclass. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/tAocOvuIaG
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 22, 2023
Midfield: Conor Gallagher – Chelsea
Conor Gallagher’s future at Chelsea appeared unclear after more than £300m of central midfield talent arrived in west London across the past two transfer windows, but the boyhood Blue has gone a long way to earning his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.
Gallagher has been in fine form for Chelsea this season despite mixed results under the new manager, who has placed his trust in the midfielder as captain in Reece James’ absence. The England midfielder has set the tone with his press and was excellent against Arsenal, regaining possession on eight occasions and winning five duels.
No player on the pitch created more chances than Gallagher (4), who after struggling to find his role last season has thrived with freedom to influence the game in advanced areas.
Winger: Jacob Murphy – Newcastle
Murphy has had to be patient for his chance this season, but he has given Eddie Howe a headache after shining on his first start of the campaign. The winger opened the scoring inside four minutes after lifting a finish over Sam Johnstone, before setting up Anthony Gordon for the second goal with a wonderful arcing cross towards the back post.
Murphy grabbed a second assist for Callum Wilson after the break and gave Tyrick Mitchell a torrid time all afternoon. The 28-year-old has put himself in the conversation for a start against Borussia Dortmund in midweek, with Howe facing a difficult decision on who earns the nod between Saturday’s man-of-the-match and the in-form Miguel Almiron.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) October 21, 2023
Winger: Bryan Mbeumo – Brentford
Brentford thrashed Burnley to record their first win at the Gtech Community Stadium this season, with special strikes from Bryan Mbeumo and Saman Ghoddos the highlights of a big Bees win. Mbeumo continued in his role as Brentford’s talisman in the absence of Ivan Toney, scoring his fifth Premier League goal of the season with an effort into the top corner.
The Cameroon international combined well with Neal Maupay and Yoanne Wissa in the final third, in an encouraging performance from Thomas Frank’s side. A much needed win for the Bees.
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) October 21, 2023
Forward: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Not quite at his brilliant best, but still capable of deciding games of huge importance. Salah’s derby double sealed a 2-0 win for Liverpool against Everton, a win that briefly moved Jurgen Klopp’s team to the top of the table.
Some questioned the wisdom in rejecting a £150m bid for a 31-year-old during the summer, but Salah has proven Liverpool’s judgement to be wise across the season’s opening weeks. It’s now 11 goals and assists in nine games this season, while no player in the Premier League has more goal involvements than Salah (31) this calendar year.
13 – Mohamed Salah has either scored or assisted in each of his last 13 Premier League appearances at Anfield; only Alan Shearer (runs of 18 and 17) and Thierry Henry (17) have ever done so in more consecutive home appearances in the competition. Certainty. pic.twitter.com/8TyjY8dlZv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 21, 2023
He is, still, priceless to this team.
Forward: Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa
Ollie Watkins enhanced his chances of earning a permanent place in the England squad with another standout showing in Aston Villa’s 4-1 win over West Ham. Watkins scored the winner during England’s friendly win over Australia last week and returned from the international break in similar form, with the forward at the centre of an impressive Villa performance.
The 27-year-old set up Douglas Luiz for the opener at Villa Park and worked tirelessly to trouble the West Ham backline, with Watkins’ work-rate unsettling the visitors. He got the goal his performance deserved late on, showing fine footwork before lashing home his eighth goal of the campaign in all competitions.
26 – Ollie Watkins has been directly involved in 26 goals in 33 appearances for Aston Villa in the Premier League since Unai Emery’s first game in charge (17 goals, 9 assists); only Mohamed Salah (35) and Erling Haaland (33) have contributed to more goals in this time. Evolved. pic.twitter.com/06FBg1wZza
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 22, 2023