Premier League Team of the Week

Premier League MW6 TOTW: Unbeaten streaks end, Bamford hat-trick and mixed results from the ‘Big Six’


As another Premier League weekend ends, it has greeted us with ups and downs. The Matchweek 6 Team of the Week features a returning spot for Fulham captain Tom Cairney as he appears in the best XI, but who else features? Jozef Kostecki provides a rundown of this week’s best players, featuring some surprising names…

Premier League Matchweek 6 Results

23rd October 2020 Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds United
24th October 2020 West Ham United 1-1 Manchester City
24th October 2020 Fulham 1-2 Crystal Palace
24th October 2020 Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea
24th October 2020 Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United
25th October 2020 Southampton 2-0 Everton
25th October 2020 Wolves 1-1 Newcastle United
25th October 2020 Arsenal 0-1 Leicester City
26th October 2020 Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
26th October 2020 Burnley 0-1 Tottenham

Premier League Matchweek 6 Manager of the Week – Marcelo Bielsa

As we look at the Premier League table so many questions emerge, one sticking out like a sore thumb however is this. Why has it taken forty years since the start of Marcelo Bielsa’s managerial career for him to reach the Premier League?

A true managerial masterclass from El Loco Bielsa, the great Argentinian got his tactics perfect when coming up against one of two sides who entered this week still unbeaten. Playing his favoured 4-4-1-1 formation, Bielsa got top performances from all of his players. Whilst some may have excelled that bit more, the real brilliance came from the man in the dugout.

One example of this was Bielsa’s ability to neutralise Villa’s attacking options by getting the best out of his defence. Every single one of his defenders brought something to the team, building up a wall that Villa could not get past. In context this is even more impressive, with that Villa team so recently beating Leicester and putting seven past Liverpool.

The Championship 2019-2020 champions look a genuine force to be reckoned with under the tutelage of Bielsa, and as a result are fast becoming a must-watch side.

Premier League Matchweek 6 Player of the Week – Patrick Bamford

This season the most deadly arrow in Bielsa’s bow has been Patrick Bamford, something that again was very apparent against Aston Villa. Leeds number nine was clinical and showed a real range of attacking ability. His first being a true poachers finish and was then followed by two strikes of pure beauty.

Before this season Bamford had only one goal in twenty-seven appearances in the Premier League Bamford now has scored six goals in as many appearances this season, the experience he picked up in a few years in the Championship has really improved him and brought him to a top level.

His excellent goal to game ratio so far this season leaves him as the third top goalscorer in the Premier League right now. On top of this he is nearing the record of top players, for example, he now sits only three behind Roberto Firmino’s total of goals from the entirety of last season in the Premier League.

MJ TOTW MW6

Goalkeeper: Alphonse Areola (7.9 Player Rating)

New Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola gave it his all on Saturday to get his new team their first win. It would end up being in vain, but what a showing between the sticks it was. Areola made eight saves, some of these undeniably world class. Whilst he would concede two goals, it would be tough to blame these on the Frenchman, as he would carry on to be excellent throughout the game. The Frenchman would also keep a 100% passing accuracy, showing he could be the starting point when Fulham would try to build from the back.

It’s clear for all to see Fulham’s defence is shambolic. Saturday was no different, and if they don’t fix up soon, the London club will be as good as relegated by December. This is no fault of Areola, who has looked far too good for any chance of his loan move from PSG to turn permanent, regardless if the London club pulls out a miracle and stay up.

Right Back: Jacob Murphy (7.5 Player Rating)

Making his first Premier League start of the season after impressing when doing so twice in the EFL cup, Murphy was impressive when deployed in a wing-back role. Taking his opportunity, Murphy tried getting his team’s momentum up by whipping in five crosses. He also covered his end defensively, providing clearances and tackles.

However, the main credit that will be placed on Murphy will be his expertly taken free kick. With the game nearing its end, Murphy perfectly curled the ball into the bottom right corner. This goal grabbed a valuable point late on for the Tyneside club, and may well have secured his place in the next starting eleven.

Centre Back: Luke Ayling (7.7 Player Rating)

Luke Ayling had an outstanding performance at centre-back against Aston Villa, providing a real level of fortitude to The White’s back line. The club captain commanded his team to calm them down. This would prove vital, especially after the first forty-five minutes where they had not one, but two penalty shouts given against them. Within the same game, Ayling would make a vital clearance, stopping a Jack Grealish shot from crossing the line through his top positioning.

The statistics back up this well rounded showing, especially how Ayling did not make a single foul in the whole 90 minutes he was in the pitch. Real credit has to go to Ayling for keeping this level of consistency up, especially without missing a single minute of Premier League football this season.

Centre Back: Jannik Vestergaard (7.7 Player Rating)

From one consistent centre-back to the next. With every season Vestergaard spends in the Premier League he seems to grow and improve. When brought into the team in the 18/19 season, he was designed to just add another layer to the Saints’ defence. Under Hasenhuttl, however, he has really grown into a new role as a ball playing centre-back. This was shown to its utmost against Everton, where Jannik had the highest passing accuracy of anyone on the pitch (95.3%) and every one of his long passes met their aim.

The giant Southampton sentinel brought a range of defensive qualities including; clearances, tackles and successful duels. After not starting the first two games of the season, performances like this will keep him in the XI for the foreseeable future.

Left Back: Joao Cancelo (7.9 Player Rating)

The standout player in a rather mediocre Manchester City showing against West Ham, the Portuguese full back, provided a threat on both ends of the pitch. Grabbing a brilliant assist as he confidently burst past his marker to bend in a pinpoint cross to Phil Foden. On the defensive end he won an outstanding 10/11 of his duels, the signs of a player with a point to prove.

This may be because of the heavy criticism that has hung over his head since his fifty-eight million pound transfer, as he has failed to displace Kyle Walker on his favoured right side. If he keeps up performances like this, surely he will become City’s first choice left back.

Centre Midfielder: Ethan Ampadu (7.7 Player Rating)

How many players can say that on their second ever Premier League start they were the best player on the pitch? Well, Ethan Ampadu can, and not only that, but he did so against defending champions Liverpool. Successful in all his dribble attempts and only lost out on one of his nine duels. Ampadu was brilliant in progressing the ball through the middle of the park, an impressive task against such elite opposition.

It is brilliant to see such a young player get such important game time and perform so well. Here is hoping it is only the first flicker of light in this young man’s bright career.

Centre Midfielder: Tom Cairney (8.3 Player Rating)

Making back-to-back appearances in the TOTW, Cairney was one of two bright spots in a dreary Fulham side. Covering every single blade of grass, the club captain was desperate for his team to pick up their first win. The five key passes he made are an elite level to be hitting. He would have been well within his rights to have a screaming match with his team after they didn’t make more of them.

With the final whistle about to be blown, Cairney scored an absolute screamer that is worth seeing if you missed it. Cairney seems determined to make sure his second time in the Premier League lasts more than just a season, and will pray the rest of the squad can match this same intensity.

Centre Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse (7.8 Player Rating)

Picking up his first goal of the season is the major reason James Ward-Prowse features in this week’s TOTW. However, to his credit, he did bring a lot more than just a goal. Providing three key passes as well, Ward-Prowse was trying to build momentum in his team. This is even more to his credit when considering how only one of his crosses reached his target, and yet he was not to be deterred.

A vital ingredient in this huge win against the top of the table Merseyside club, Ward-Prowse will surely be proud of such a strong showing.

Striker: Danny Ings (7.9 Player Rating)

The goalscorer turned the provider against Everton, with Danny Ings grabbing two exceptional assists. His first being a perfectly weighted pass to set James Ward Prowse free. A brilliant cross followed this for Che Adams to bring down and blast home for their second of the game.

Whilst grabbing two assists in the Premier League is impressive against any opposition, it is that bit sweeter when you do so against top of the league Everton. Danny Ings and his top showing were vital in bringing Everton’s unbeaten streak to a crashing halt.

These two assists mean Ings has now equalled his total for the entire 2019/20 season. This suggests the Englishman has worked hard to fine tune other aspects in his game, perhaps to fit in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championship.

Striker: Wilfried Zaha (8.8 Player Rating)

Football is meant to be fun, some players just get that. Right now there are few better examples of that in the Premier League than Wilfried Zaha. Against Fulham Zaha was unplayable, the best player on the pitch by a mile. The Ivory Coast international exuded pure swagger and style. He would almost beg the opposition defenders to try to tackle him. This swagger is shown by his eight successful dribbles and how he was fouled twice. The Fulham squad did not know how to defend against him, especially when he brought out his trademark skill moves.

Zaha would also grab both a goal and an assist in the game, but he could have easily picked up a few more of both on another day. He produced four key passes and missed a big chance himself. A showing like he produced on the weekend makes you think if a slightly bigger club will soon take a gamble on him, turning twenty-eight next month time may not be on his side.

Striker: Patrick Bamford (9.5 Player Rating)

There is something so immensely satisfying about a player in football proving the doubters wrong. Jamie Vardy is an example of this and hopefully if things carry on Patrick Bamford will be the next. Another victim of Chelsea’s buy everyone and loan out policy. It looked like Bamford’s time in the Premier League had been and gone, but with performances like this that is false.

Maybe the single best showing of Bamford’s career, his first may have been simple but his second and third are goal of the month contenders. Offering everything you could want from your striker, Bamford is playing with a clinical accuracy and pure confidence running through his veins. After such an electric start, only time will tell whether this form will carry on, or if it’s just Purple Patch Patrick in the Premier League.

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Honourable Mentions for Premier League TOTW 6

Ralph Hasenhuttl: So unlucky to miss out on the TOTW. A brilliant showing to guide his team to three points against top of the league Everton.

Harry Kane: Not necessarily his best game when compared to his usual high standard, Kane still popped up with a pivotal assist in a hard fought win.

Lukasz Fabianski: Making an impressive six saves against Man City, the Polish international was vital in his side securing a point.

Michail Antonio: That goal. Need I say more?

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