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Premier League

Premier League team of the week: Who

makes Mirror Football's starting XI after
the sixth weekend?

11:15, 26 Sep 2016

Updated 12:32, 26 Sep 2016

By Alex Richards

Arsenal, Liverpool and Man United were all big winners,

but it's unbeaten Tottenham and 100 per cent Man
City who continue to lead the way


1 comment

Big weekend: Pogba made his presence felt, while Coutinho and Son also starred

The Premier League weekend promised plenty and it certainly delivered, with 32 goals across
nine matches - and Manchester City still looking down on the rest.
Pep Guardiola's men made it six wins from six at Swansea, two goals from Sergio Aguero
and one from Raheem Sterling seeing off the Welsh side at the Liberty Stadium.
Keeping up the pressure - and their own unbeaten record - are Mauricio Pochettino's
Tottenham, 2-1 winners at Middlesbrough, thanks to another brace from Heung-min Son.
North London rivals Arsenal sit third, having thoroughly dismantled Chelsea at the Emirates
with a blistering first-half display, while Liverpool made it three wins on the spin with their
5-1 victory over Hull.

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Manchester United dropped Wayne Rooney on the back of two straight league defeats and
looked all the better for it, running out 4-1 winners over champions Leicester.
Elsewhere, Crystal Palace and Southampton both score three on the road in wins,
Bournemouth ended Everton's unbeaten league start and West Brom snatched an injury-time
point at Stoke, as Tony Pulis celebrated his 1,000th game in management.
Anyway, which stars on show did the business? Which unheralded figures impressed?
Here's a look at our team of the week - which curiously does NOT feature any of the league
leaders this time around.

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Petr Cech (Arsenal)

Action Images via Reuters

Happy days for the ex-Chelsea keeper

The Czech goalkeeper will have taken no great pleasure in victory over his former club, but a
second Premier League clean sheet of the season will have been more than welcomed.
The Gunners stopper wasnt overworked in the 3-0 win over his former employers, bar a pair
of late saves - most notably from Michy Batshuayi.
But what he did do, he did with a calming assurance, which largely transmitted to those in
front of him, while he also made sure that focus wasnt lost during a second-half when
Arsenal coasted to victory.

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Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)

Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

A familiar sight on Saturday

The young Spaniard has made great strides over the last 12-18 months and hes well on his
way to becoming not just one of the premier right-backs in England, but across Europe.
Its little wonder that Barcelona - whose academy Bellerin left to join the Gunners in 2011 want the 21-year-old back at Camp Nou as the long-term heir to Dani Alves, and his showing
in the London derby showed exactly why.
From a defensive point of view, Bellerin completely subdued Eden Hazard, dispossessed
more opponents than any other Arsenal player (bar Granit Xhaka, who also had three) and
made a fantastic last-man tackle to deny Pedro, as his compatriot bore down on goal.

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But it was on the front foot where Bellerin really impressed; his use of the ball was assured,
his decision making - when to stay and offer an easy pass, when to run on and exploit space -

showed strong game intelligence and he played his part in the Gunners outstanding second
goal, timing his run and leaving Hazard in his wake, before confidently squaring for Walcott
to tap home. An all-round excellent showing.

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Steve Cook (Bournemouth)

Rex Features

Safety first from the Cherries defender

The 25-year-old has played a key role in the Cherries rise since joining for 150k from
Brighton in January 2012, and up against Evertons 28million striker Romelu Lukaku on
Saturday, Cook rose to the challenge.
A no-nonsense defender, Cook enjoyed the physical battle against the Belgian powerhouse
and as Bournemouth held on to their lead, he won a number of key aerial challenges inside
his own box to ensure a clean sheet.
Alongside Simon Francis, Cook's game management was excellent, knowing when the
defence could spread, to play and launch attacks, and when to stay tight and compact.

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Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)

2016 Getty Images

The Dutchman was dominant for the Saints again

You would have thought that after the umpteenth aimless hoik into the penalty area was met
by the forehead of the giant Dutchman, West Ham would have got the message.
Van Dijk has started the season in fine form for the Saints and his development into one the
Premier Leagues very best centre-backs continued with an outstanding, no-nonsense display
against West Ham.
As abject as the Hammers were, the ex-Celtic man was the complete opposite. His
positioning was spot on, he read danger early - witness him clearing Simone Zazas effort off
the line - and he confidently led by example at the heart of the back line.

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Ryan Bertrand (Southampton)

2016 Getty Images

The left-back dealt with West Ham's wide threat well

To Van Dijks left, full-back Ryan Bertrand played an integral part to the 3-0 win for Claude
Puels side.
The England international missed the Saints first three games of the season with a knee
problem, and after returning in the last-gasp loss to Arsenal, has played in both victories Swansea and West Ham - with both featuring clean sheets.
With the ex-Chelsea man back in his slot, the Saints defence just, quite simply, looks an allround sturdier unit. Bertrand may not be the biggest defending the back post, but he spots
danger early, gets his body in the way, and knows when to step across his man. Up against
him, Michail Antonio struggled to have an impact, likewise Sofiane Feghouli.
Going forward, he was instrumental to the Saints victory, playing a key role in the Saints
opener with some good link play down the left with Dusan Tadic, before finding Charlie
Austin to score. Left the field with a pass completions percentage unbeaten by any other
starter (95 per cent), with three key passes showing he more than played his part in the final

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Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Getty Images

Coutinho impressed at Anfield

The likes of Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane have been earning rave reviews
for their efforts during the early weeks of the season, while Philippe Coutinhos star has
perhaps dulled a little since scoring twice at Arsenal on the opening weekend.
But in the 5-1 rout of Hull, the diminutive Brazilian was back to something like his best.
Playing nominally from the left side of the Reds front three, Coutinho was here, there and
everywhere, as he tore the Tigers to shreds with his own brand of clever passing, intelligent
movement and jinking runs.
Tigers skipper Curtis Davies says his side found the going tough against the relentless
pressing of Jurgen Klopps side, and while Coutinho played his part in that, it was on the ball
where he showed his undoubted class.

Getty Images

Coutinho fires home his goal against the Tigers

A magnificent goal from 25 yards shot Hull back down, just a minute after they themselves
had made it 3-1, but Coutinho was the chief supplier of bullets on the day. The 24-year-old
was credited with the assist for Adam Lallanas opener, while he also contrived to make
another four goalscoring opportunities for teammates.
In his 74 minutes he made 82 passes (only Jordan Henderson had more) with a success rate of
85 per cent, excellent for someone always eager to play the forward, killer pass. If the Reds
are to be title challengers, hes certainly not a bad PFA Player of the Year shout, if more
performances like this follow.

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Paul Pogba (Man United)

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After a somewhat slow start to his second spell at Manchester United, the big-money
Frenchman made a splash with a man-of-the-match display against champions Leicester.
With Wayne Rooney out the side, Jose Mourinho elected for something more akin to a 4-1-41 formation, with Ander Herrera the designated holder and both Pogba and Juan Mata given
license to dictate the game from the centre of the park, getting forward from midfield.
United played at a higher tempo, collectively covered more ground and quite simply overpowered their opponents - no-one more so than the Frenchman.

Carl Recine/Reuters

Pogba heads home United's fourth goal

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The 23-year-old was seemingly at the heart of everything, making more passes than any other
player (99 in total, some 31 more than Mata), while his sheer physical presence was too much
for his ex-United reserves teammate Danny Drinkwater. There was more of the long-striding
runs through midfield, turning defence into attack, and he seemingly played free of
inhibitions, safe in the knowledge that Ander Herrera was behind him covering.
His goal, a well-taken header from a Daley Bling corner, was just reward for a display that
Gary Neville labelled the best of Pogbas career.

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Harry Arter (Bournemouth)


Harry Arter strides past the attentions of Gareth Barry

Bournemouth picked up their second successive home win in the Premier League (both 1-0)
and the engine at the heart of the latest success was Harry Arter.
The 26-year-old went head-to-head with Evertons early-season star man Idrissa Gueye and
won his own personal battle, ensuring his side took all three points.
Arter was at his infectious best for Eddie Howes men, making challenges deep in his own
half (no Bournemouth player made more) before popping up at the other end to have an
impact. After hit the post with a left-footed effort that swerved viciously and it was his clever
pass that found Junior Stanislas in space, to score the only goal of the game.
Much of the talk pre-match had been of the battle between the England pair, Jack Wilshere
and Ross Barkley, but it was Arter who took the game by the scruff of the neck and ran it.

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Heung-min Son (Tottenham)

Action Images via Reuters

The South Korean earned a pat off his manager

He asked to leave after the Olympic Games, but we decided he would stay with us. I didnt
want him to go, said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino after seeing his side win 2-1 at
Middlesbrough, and he must be thankful that Heung-min Son did indeed stay at White Hart
Lane this summer.
Signed from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015 for around 17million, Son failed to find his best
form during his debut campaign in England. However, since returning to the Spurs lineup this
term, the South Korean has been outstanding.
It was he who tore Stoke to pieces two weeks ago, earning him a spot in our team then, and
this weekend he made all the difference on the Riverside, scoring both goals for Spurs.


Son fires home his and Spurs' second goal

The first, after a clever one-two with Vincent Janssen was good (though Victor Valdes may
think he should have done better), but his second was simply outstanding. At one point he
looked to have been going nowhere, running out of room and even losing the ball. Yet much
like his Spurs career, Son chased it down, took the ball back and bustled his way into a
shooting position, from where he fired a howitzer past Valdes, who barely sniffed it.
The 24-year-old adds a touch of extra zest and pace to Spurs attack, and his desire to run
with the ball straight towards goal adds verticality to a side who can sometimes be a tad
guilty of looking to pass their way through massed defences. The variety he is bringing at the
moment is making a big difference, particularly on the road.

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Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Arsenal FC via Getty

Alexis Sanchez made the most of a wretched Chelsea display

Make no bones about it, Chelseas defence was awful during their first-half collapse at the
Emirates. Unfortunately for them, Alexis Sanchez was like a shark smelling blood.
The Chilean was scolded in the week by Arsene Wenger after missing a penalty at Hull
(usurping the pecking order by his own means), despite bagging a brace against the Tigers.
He more than made up for it in the London derby.
Again lining up as the focal point to the Gunners attack, Alexis was simply too quick, too
clever, too good for a miserable Chelsea defence.

John Sibley/Reuters

The Chilean scores Arsenal's first goal

He made the first goal for himself, pinching Gary Cahills pocket before impudently chipping
over Thibaut Courtois, and teed up Mesut Ozil for the second, an inch-perfect clipped pass
finding the German who volleyed home.
Throughout Chelsea couldnt get to grips with Alexis, as he intelligently drifted to the flanks
to create overloads and wandered into areas where Blues defenders - and an out-of-sorts
NGolo Kante - simply didnt want to go.
Another fine all-round showing.

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Charlie Austin (Southampton)

Pinnacle Photo Agency

Austin made his point at West Ham

Hes had to wait patiently and wear down new boss Claude Puel, but Charlie Austin again
made his presence felt with a goal and an assist in Southamptons win at West Ham.
Puel had envisioned a 4-3-1-2 formation with Shane Long and Nathan Redmond as his front
two at the start of the campaign, but Austins recent form has seen him forced to scrap that
idea, with the Saints moving to something more akin to a 4-3-3 formation in the last two
A pure No.9, Austin scored with a well-taken effort in the first period, and would have had a
second had Cedric Soares passed rather than shot.

Action Images via Reuters

Charlie Austin scores Southampton's first goal

But in front of David Sullivan, the West Ham co-owner who suggested last year that Austin
has no ligaments in his right knee - an outrageous slur blasted Austin in reply - showed that
he is capable of the technical football Puel wants on the south coast, with a wonderfullyadroit pass to set up Dusan Tadic for the games crucial second goal.
Its now five goals in four games (all competitions) for the poacher, who is making his point
that he should play every week in the best possible way.