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Dublin: 9°C Monday 30 November 2020

Star men: here's our Premier League team of the week

A handful of Premier League new boys wasted no time in making their presence felt. Here’s our top XI from the weekend – did we get it right?

Michu: already a bargain at £2m.
Michu: already a bargain at £2m.
Image: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire/Press Association Images

GK: Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham United) The Finn didn’t have a lot to do in the first half against Aston Villa but was ready when called upon, saving Stephen Ireland’s volley within a minute of the restart and later stopping Ron Vlaar’s strike. If West Ham are to stay up this season, they will need as many clean sheets as possible from their new man between the sticks.

RB: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) A clean sheet and an opening weekend goal; not bad for a player many expected to be suspended following his sending off in the Community Shield. His determined burst to break forward onto Eden Hazard’s pass was brilliant and between himself and David Luiz, they managed to keep Wigan’s main threat Franco di Santo quiet at the other end.

CB: Phil Jagielka (Everton) Slightly unlucky not to be joined by more of his defensive partners in the team of the week, Jagielka ensured that Everton’s defence held strong as Manchester United pressed forward for an equaliser. Had he not instinctively dropped onto the goal line behind Tim Howard, Tom Cleverley would have equalised mid-way through the second half.

CB: John O’Shea (Sunderland) O’Shea’s experience at the heart of defence helped Sunderland to a deserved 0-0 draw away to Arsenal. Up against Cazorla, Arteta, Walcott and Podolski, the Republic of Ireland international needed to be at his best.

LB: John Arne Riise (Fulham) As well as a solid performance at the back Riise was instrumental in Fulham’s opening goal, finding Damien Duff with a long ball that dropped in behind the Norwich defence.

MF: Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) A high point for Arsenal fans as they began to get used to life after Robin. That Cazorla’s string-pulling didn’t lead to at least one goal was more due to the profligacy of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, both of whom should have scored.

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MF: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) Hazard’s masterful debut would have been much easier to enjoy had it not been for the slew of dodgy puns which his surname invariably gave rise to — and for Wigan’s response to the Belgian, led by captain Gary Caldwell, which was essentially to kick him into the sky every time he touched the ball. His turn and pass for Ivanovic’s opener made Ramis look like a pub player, as did his jinking run which earned Lampard’s penalty a few minutes later.

MF: Nathan Dyer (Swansea) Nipping into the honours ahead of Wayne Routledge (who was involved in Swansea’s first three goals), Dyer turned a win into a rout with two goals in the space of eight second-half minutes.

FW: Marouane Fellaini (Everton) The best player in Goodison Park by a country mile on Monday night (including Big Duncan Ferguson who looked mightily impressed with the afroed-one’s control and distribution). Fellaini was untouchable in the first half and continued to shine in the second, outjumping Michael Carrick to head home the game’s only goal.

FW: Mladen Petric (Fulham) Petric’s signing on a free from Hamburg could prove to be the deal of the season for Martin Jol. Norwich weren’t up to much but their afternoon was made a lot less palatable by Petric’s debut brace and then his brilliant back-heel assist for Alex Kacaniklic to score the fourth.

FW: Michu (Swansea) This lad must have cost a pretty penny, eh? What, £2m? Michu wasted no time in settling into the Premier League, linking brilliantly behind Danny Graham and taking his chances to net an opening day double.

Manager: Michael Laudrup (Swansea) The post-Brendan Rodgers era might not be so grim after all for Swansea. Arguably the most entertaining team to watch in the Premier League last season, new boss Michael Laudrup has them playing a stylish, flowing brand of football that deserves results.

Did we get it right? Who should be in and who should be nowhere near the team? Let us know in the comments below >

‘Hello, Philip’… ‘Hello, Gary’ — the Neville brothers greet each other on Sky Sports

‘A lot of people forgot that Everton are a good team as well’ – Moyes

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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