VAVEL's Premier League Team of the Week: Matchday Three

VAVEL's Premier League Team of the Week: Matchday Three

As three teams maintained their 100% records, who made it into our third XI of the season?

Oliver Emmerson

It was another weekend of high drama and quality in the Premier League, with the division entering it's third and final week before the first international break of the season.

We saw Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all maintain their 100% starts to the season with wins, whilst Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool played out an intriguing clash at White Hart Lane. 

But who made it into our third Team of the Week? We've gone for a mix of managerial styles, with a Tony Pulis type defence headlined by four centre-back's, whilst inspiration for the midfield is taken from Pep Guardiola's free-flowing City side. 

Goalkeeper and defence

GK - Steve Mandanda (Crystal Palace): The former Marseille goalkeeper was in excellent form on his Premier League debut as his new side, Crystal Palace, drew with AFC Bournemouth. The shot-stopper made one particularly great save from Callum Wilson with the score still at 1-0 following Josh King’s opener. Wilson was one-on-one with the France international but saw his low effort stopped superbly. Bournemouth could have genuinely headed into half-time 4-0 up had it not been for the Eagles’ new ‘keeper.

DEF - Curtis Davies (Hull City): Curtis Davies saw one of the performances of the week go cruelly unreward after Manchester United's late winner at the KC. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney were given no time or space for 90 minutes as the defender put his body on the line, held his side's defensive shape and repelled balls into the box seemingly every other minute. Hull's pre-season struggles were well documented but the presence and example of their captain could be a huge factor in helping them beat the drop.

Davies was impressive at the KCOM Stadium against United (photo: Getty Images)
Davies was impressive at the KCOM Stadium against United (photo: Getty Images)

DEF - Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough): Ben Gibson showed why there are rumours of a potential England call-up for the young defender with another mature performance and a first Premier League clean sheet. Donning the captain's armband in the absence of Grant Leadbitter and George Friend, Gibson shackelled West Brom's physical strikeforce including Salomon Rondon, Saido Berahino and Matt Phillips to ensure the club his uncle owns go into the international break unbeaten in the league. Blocking, intercepting, tackling, clearing and distributing, Gibson is the epitome of the defensive steel which Aitor Karanka hopes will keep his side in the top flight.

DEF - Scott Dann (Crystal Palace): Once again the saviour for Palace. Like Mandanda, kept Bournemouth down to just the one goal and then emphatically headed in the equaliser from all of 15 yards deep into stoppage time to snatch a seemingly lost point. The Palace captain will be crucial if his side find themselves in a relegation battle this season. Might just have saved Alan Pardew’s job, for now, too.

DEF - Daley Blind (Manchester United): The calming influence once again at the back for the Red Devils. Marshalled the two in-form Hull strikers, who are full of confidence after winning three games in a row, brilliantly hardly giving them a sniff at goal. On many occasions when the team needed to get the ball forward quickly to get the winning goal he was the man for the job as he calmly brought the ball out of defence. He's starting to build a brilliant partnership with Eric Bailly and it is making David de Gea's job much easier as the team have managed to keep two clean sheets in two games.

Midfield and attack

MID - Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur): There was confusion from some parts over Wanyama's signing this summer, with many posing the question, is he needed when Spurs already have Eric Dier and Moussa Dembele? He answered those questions fully against Liverpool on Saturday. With the rest of his side toiling against the Reds' high pressing game, Wanyama stood tall with a number of crucial tackles and interceptions to prevent Jürgen Klopp's side from creating more opportunities to get the win that their play deserved. 

Wanyama leaps on top of his fellow teammates after Spurs equalise (photo: Getty Images)
Wanyama leaps on top of his fellow teammates after Spurs equalise (photo: Getty Images)

MID - Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City): Employed in a central midfield position, De Bruyne was pivotal to much of the rampant dominance that was City’s sublime first-half display against West Ham. His set-piece delivery was sensational throughout, constantly fizzing the ball into the dangerous void of space between the defence and the goalkeeper, and it was no surprise Fernandinho met one such free-kick with a header to make it 2-0. Later on Nolito scored from another De Bruyne free-kick, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. The Belgian should’ve done better with a first-half shot that was deflected wide but it was nothing to take away from an excellent performance in a role he's still very much adjusting to.

MID - Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal): Sanchez was the star of the show at Vicarage Road on Saturday, as Arsenal were ruthless in the first half to take a 3-0 lead, the game eventually finishing 3-1 as they took their first three points of the season. The Chilean was at the heart of everything, winning an early penaly which Santi Cazorla converted, before adding the second goal by lofting the ball over the 'keeper's head. His work wasn't done there, as he grabbed his second assist of the game by delivering an inch perfect cross for Mesut Ozil to head home. 

MID - Raheem Sterling (Manchester City): ’Reborn’ has become the buzzword concerning Sterling recently and there’s no denying that Pep Guardiola has reignited the 21-year-old's spark. The immensely-talented England international continued his return to form with a lively two-goal display at home to West Ham, opening the scoring with an intelligent burst to meet David Silva’s pull-back and fire into the far corner. From there on in, he exuded confidence and a willingness to get at defenders down the right-hand side as he displayed his dynamism, energy and ever-improving end product. Late on he ghosted beyond the back-line, rounded the ‘keeper and squeezed in from the tightest of angles to seal his first brace in 10 months and a well-deserved Man of the Match award.

Sterling celebrates his second goal (photo: Ian Hodgson)
Sterling celebrates his second goal (photo: Ian Hodgson)

MID - Eden Hazard (Chelsea): The Belgian is well and truly out of the 'funk' that enveloped around him last season. He was excellent against the Clarets on Saturday, ensuring that the Blues played to the beat of his drum, opening the scoring after just nine minutes. It was a surprise that he didn't add to his tally as the game went on, testing Tom Heaton on numerous occasions. 

ST - Roberto Firmino (Liverpool): Again deployed in an attacking role when Liverpool were away to one of the big teams in the division, Firmino showed why he's valued so much by his manager in that position with a superb performance. His pressing game was terrific, as usual, but it was his on ball contribution that stood out on Saturday. Given the ball in the penalty area early on, he showed great composure to turn and put the ball on a plate for teammate Philippe Coutinho, a chance that his fellow Brazilian should have easily tucked away. Firmino did manage to contribute to a move that ended in a goal later in the half, winning a penalty that was tucked away by James Milner