EPL: Starting XI of the Week
It has been a fine weekend of Premier League action once again, with some great team performances leading to victories and some stand-out individual showings, as well.
Arsenal were certainly the team with the best result of the weekend, recording a 6-1 victory over Southampton, but Manchester United also won by a big margin.
Picking a best XI from the weekend is never an easy task and will never appease every fan, but there's no doubt that these players all had excellent games for their sides.
Here is the Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar
photo from goal.com
QPR—the only team in the Premier League with two goalkeepers competing for the first team spot who are both named after salads.
After Rob Green's epic disaster debut where he saw five goals smashed past him, Julio Cesar came in against Chelsea for his own debut and did markedly better. The former Inter Milan goalkeeper became the first man to shut out Chelsea's all-out-attack lineup in the league this season, denying Eden Hazard in particular with one very fine low stop.
Mark Hughes will hope his Brazilian stopper is in equally good form to help QPR rise up the table after their poor start.
Full-Backs: Martin Kelly and Alexander Buttner
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
There was quite the selection this weekend of left-backs who put in top performances.
Heading the queue on that side of the pitch was Manchester United's new boy Alexander Buttner who capped an encouraging display with a run and strike which found the net—albeit with the aid of some desperate defending from three or four Wigan players and a less-than-convincing attempt from Ali Al-Habsi to stop the ball crossing the line. Buttner repaid Alex Ferguson's faith in signing him and in throwing him straight into the team.
On the opposite side, Liverpool's Martin Kelly was a stand-out performer both in defence and in supporting the attack against Sunderland.
In truth, he and the rest of the defence had little to do for much of the game despite falling behind, but Kelly stopped James McClean having any kind of impact on the game at all—not bad considering the Irishman's rise to prominence with a series of vibrant displays.
In the final third, Kelly linked up well with Raheem Sterling and was always ready to support the midfielders in possession.
Centre Backs: Ryan Shawcross and Thomas Vermaelen
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Sometimes, a player wins a game or points for his team with one single action in a game. Ryan Shawcross did that for Stoke City against Manchester City with a last-second goal-line clearance from Edin Dzeko's lob.
Shawcross raced back and managed to hook the ball away from right under the crossbar, seconds before the final whistle went. It was worth a point on the day for his team, and against the reigning champions.
For Arsenal, Thomas Vermaelen had a magnificent game. Despite the 6-1 scoreline, Saints did actually put a fair few good attacking moves together themselves, but Vermaelen—and his partner at the back, Mertesacker—was imperious.
The Belgian won all four of his tackles, a further four ground duels and the single header he contested—a flawless defensive performance. On the ball, he was also his usual reliable self, completing 89 percent of his passes in the game and having one shot on target which eventually led to the goal scored by Theo Walcott.
Central Midfielders: Moussa Dembele, Paul Scholes and Steve N'Zonzi
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Stoke City's new defensive midfield signing Steve N'Zonzi looks like he will fit right in at the Britannia Stadium. Strong and powerful, robust and determined, a fierce competitor and a good engine—he brings a certain aggressiveness to the Stoke midfield which, for all their perceived rough-and-tumble approach to games, isn't always apparent in the centre of the park with Dean Whitehead and Glenn Whelan in the side.
N'Zonzi frustrated and held up Manchester City, but had a good effect for his own team as well, completing the joint-most passes in the team (29). His main role in the side as a destroyer was in full vision. N'Zonzi won all five of his tackles and had a 100 percent success ratio in aerial duels, as well.
On Sunday for Spurs at Reading, Moussa Dembele ran the show for them. He didn't score, but was rarely wasteful in possession, constantly looked to attack the Reading midfield and also did his fair share of the off the ball work when the home side had possession.
Dembele, from midfield, attempted four dribbles, created three shooting chances for his team mates and completed a very impressive 91 percent of his passes.
For Manchester United's Paul Scholes, it was a landmark appearance as he played his 700th game for the club. He scored a goal to mark the occasion, but it was his all-round performance which caught the eye once more.
Scholes found a teammate with the same 91 percent ratio as Dembele, misplacing just a single pass all game inside his own half and—remarkably for Scholes—winning both of the tackles he went for.
Wide Forwards: Raheem Sterling and Lukas Podolski
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Raheem Sterling showed a great range of trickery and pace on the right flank during the second half of Liverpool's 1-1 draw with Sunderland.
The 17-year old left Danny Rose for dead to provide the cross which led to Luis Suarez's equaliser and went close to providing a second for his team. He completed a thoroughly impressive 94 percent of his passes in open play, showing incredible maturity and consistency in such a young player.
For Arsenal, Lukas Podolski went even further in his excellence. He recorded a full 100 percent open play pass accuracy against Southampton and scored on a flawless free kick.
He was a constant menace for the Southampton defence and helped his team create several chances with his off the ball running just as much as his play on it.
Forward: Jermain Defoe
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Up front we go for Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur. The centre forward netted another two goals against Reading to earn his side their first three points of the season.
An opportunistic strike from inside the penalty area was followed up by a long run from the halfway line, accompanied by a fine low finish with his left foot.
Defoe led the line well for Spurs when they were on the front foot and, when Reading threatened to get back into the game in the second half, was always an outlet for them on the break.
A very good display to keep Emmanuel Adebayor on the bench.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Glen Johnson of Liverpool had a largely-excellent game playing at left-back against Sunderland, though ultimately was culpable in the main for the home side's opening goal.
Dimitar Berbatov was the star of the show for Fulham, bagging two goals on his full debut, but he was ably assisted by left winger Alex Kacaniklic, who assisted one goal and won the penalty for the other.
Keiran Gibbs of Arsenal was a certain challenger for the left-back berth this week as he constantly raided the flank for his side.
Carlos Tevez also deserves a mention for his display for around an hour against Stoke. He created four chances for his team, completed 94 percent of his passes and claimed the assist from a free kick for Manchester City's headed equaliser.
Feel free to leave your own suggestions over who else could have made the team below!
All statistics courtesy of EPLindex.com