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

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

The Premier League returned for the fourth round of fixtures after the international break, with Manchester City the only side left boasting a perfect record after beating rivals Manchester United in the derby, but who were the best 11 players over the course of the weekend?

Charlie Malam

Matchday four of the 2016-17 Premier League season provided yet more thrills and spills as Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola went head-to-head in the Manchester Derby for the first time.

Top-flight football returned in style from the international break as Manchester City took on Manchester United in an enthralling clash at Old Trafford, the visitors coming out on top after a stunning first-half performance in their rivals' backyard.

But the excitement continued right the way through Saturday, Watford coming from behind to beat West Ham United in the 3pm kick-offs and reigning champions Leicester City thoroughly beaten by Liverpool at Anfield in the evening.

An incident-packed draw between Swansea City and Chelsea followed on the Sunday, while Romelu Lukaku scored his first goals of the season with an 11-minute hattrick to give Everton a comfortable win over Sunderland on Monday night to complete another entertaining weekend of league football.

Question is, which 11 players were deemed worthy of making VAVEL's Premier League Team of the Week for the fourth round of matches?

Goalkeeper and defence

GK: Jordan Pickford (Sunderland): It might seem bizarre to put a goalkeeper who conceded three goals into the Team of the Week, but 22-year-old Pickford was the only thing preventing Everton from winning even more convincingly at the Stadium of Light. The English shotstopper made a number of excellent stops, the best from unbelievable one-handed reflex save to tip a powerful Lukaky header over the crossbar in the first-half. He could do very little about any of the three second-half goals, with the organisation (or lack of) ahead of him more to blame and as well as his saves, caught the eye with some impressive distribution. Pickford looks to have a very promising future, at a time when things look a bit bleak for the Black Cats. [Charlie Malam]

RB: Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur): A man who's set to become the latest Tottenham player to sign a new contract, Kyle Walker, showed why Mauricio Pochettino wants to get him tied down with a magnificent showing against Stoke City. Impressive in defence and attack, Walker helped his backline keep a cleansheet whilst gaining an assist himself, setting up Dele Alli with an acute cut-back in the second 45. [Ollie Emmerson]

RCB: Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal): Koscielny was given an extended break by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after Euro 2016, but he's come back into the side and done exceptionally well in recent weeks, as he lead his side to a 2-1 win over Southampton at the weekend. He ensured the Saints didn't offer too much in the way of an attacking threat in another solid defensive display, whilst he also popped up with a vital equaliser, showing great technique as he scored a brilliant overhead kick to level things up. For the time being he is the Gunners stand-in skipper and it certainly was a captain's performance from the centre-half. That's not to mention the swollen eye he received for being kicked in the face late on too. [Matt Dawson]

LCB: John Stones (Manchester City): Whilst many had spoken of how Pep Guardiola sought the summer purchase of Stones due to his ability on the ball, it's the youngster's excellent defending in his first ever Manchester derby which gets him into our team of the week. Assured with the ball, he was dominant without, giving Zlatan Ibrahimovic little room for manoeuvre and ensuring that Claudio Bravo's day didn't turn from disappointment to disaster. [Ollie Emmerson]

LB: James Milner (Liverpool): In helping to blunt PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, Milner - continuing in his unfamiliar left-back role - proved why he could prove an inspired option, against all the odds, to displace Alberto Moreno. The midfielder displayed his undoubted creative quality with a fine through-the-lines pass in setting up Roberto Firmino's opener and continually provided width and threat from the left, as well as defending solidly and rendering Mahrez near anonymous. [Charlie Malam]


CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City): In a game of such magnitude, to excel as De Bruyne did, you need to have an exceptional level of talent. Not only was De Bruyne the best player in the Manchester derby, he was in another stratosphere. Scoring the first, essentially assisting the second with his shot fortuitously bouncing back off the post in to the path of Kelechi Iheanacho to finish, and generally acting as the driving creative force for Guardiola's City - the Belgian shone beyond all. He hit the post a second time in the second-half, later enjoying a rare run-out as a false nine forward, and was unlucky not to help City to more goals given he laid on an incredible six chances. In other words, half of the chances City created on the afternoon. Simply brilliant. [Charlie Malam]

CM: Steven Defour (Burnley): His club's most expensive signing, Burnley's Defour continued to prove why the club paid £7.5 million for him with a stand-out performance in their 1-1 draw at home to Hull City. Were it not for Robert Snodgrass' late free-kick, he would have scored the winner with his beautifully skilful effort - flicking the ball round one side of a Hull midfielder and running round the opposite before driving forwards 30 yards and firing an unstoppable 25-yard strike into the bottom corner for his first goal in English football. The Belgian was always involved, with more touches than any other Burnley player, had the best passing percentage of his team and also completed five take-ons. The only downside was that he couldn't complete the full 90 minutes as he continues to build towards full fitness. His guile and class could prove the difference for Dyche's men this season, if this display is anything to go by. [Charlie Malam]


RW: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace): Zaha produced an inspired performance from the wing to give Palace their first win of the season and offer a glimpse of the Eagles' potential threat from wide with new man Christian Benteke up front. Zaha found Benteke with an inch-perfect back-post cross to give Palace the lead before seizing on Middlesbrough captain George Friend's mistake to score the winner early in the second half. He gave the usually exemplary Friend a torrid afternoon at the Riverside and showed with his pace, trickery and direct play why Alan Pardew was so keen to fend off an approach of Tottenham Hotspur over the summer. [Sam France]

CAM: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool): Back in May, Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp said that Brazilian forward Firmino's improvement had taught fans not to judge players too quickly. His performance against Leicester was yet more prove of such, opening the scoring after 12 minutes with an incisive run, an immaculate touch and a precise low finish which completely deceived Kasper Schmeichel. His typically industrious pressing and work rate, coupled with his freedom of movement as a free-roaming No.10 to constantly find space and his sublime foot-work and skill, meant the Foxes' back-line were never given a moment's peace. It was therefore no surprise that Firmino sealed a well-deserved brace late on, keeping his composure to find the back of an empty net at the Kop end. [Charlie Malam]

LW: Son Heung-Min  (Tottenham Hotspur):​ Making his first start for Spurs after a summer of rumours regarding a move elsewhere, Son Heung-Min lit up the Bet365 Stadium with two goals and an assist as Tottenham romped to a convincing 4-0 win. Bagging the first two, one of which was a superb curled finish from range, before setting up Harry Kane with a tap-in for the goal number four, the South Korean might just have given Mauricio Pochettino something to think about regarding his selection for Wednesday's Champions League game against AS Monaco. [Ollie Emmerson]

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Everton): Lukaku was undoubtedly the star of the week as his hat-trick sparked Everton to a 3-0 win over Sunderland. He successfully ended his longest-scoring drought in English football after heading in a cross from Idrissa Gueye. After hitting the bar off another cross from his Senegalese teammate, hee delivered another headed goal, this time from Yannick Bolasie's set-up. He completed an 11-minute hat-trick after a perfectly weighted through ball from Kevin Mirallas and finished with a tidy left-footed finish into the bottom left hand corner. [Noel Alberto]