Premier League Team of Week: Clichy, Dier, Wanyama and Sigurdsson Star
Welcome to the first Premier League Team of the Week for the 2014-15 season!
Here we analyse every game and pick out a star XI, choosing the best players in each position to meld a workable formation and fill a substitutes bench.
It's good to be back.
*Note: Upon culmination of the Burnley 1-3 Chelsea result, Cesc Fabregas has replaced Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield.
GK: Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur
Hugo Lloris picked up this season where he left off last, making flying saves and important interventions and keeping Tottenham Hotspur in contention.
His role was crucial after Spurs went down to 10 men, with West Ham United piling on the pressure but failing to make the breakthrough.
In the end, Tottenham grabbed the winner in the final minute. It was Lloris who'd made it possible all game long.
CB: Eric Dier, Tottenham Hotspur
There was a debut goal for Eric Dier, but not in the circumstances you'd traditionally expect.
The centre-back didn't rise highest from a corner, poke a squirming ball home or get lucky from range. No, the new arrival from Sporting danced through the West Ham defence, rounded 'keeper Adrian and slotted home in Gonzalo Higuain-esque fashion.
Bleacher Report's Sam Rooke noted:
Dier was assigned Carlton Cole at corners, and the former England striker was kept well-harnessed.
Also of note was his positioning. In both attack and defence, Dier was exactly where he needed to be. Twice in the opening stages Nabil Bentaleb was caught in possession, but Dier moved beyond him to offer a release ball.
He and Younes Kaboul appear to be developing an understanding. He allowed Kaboul to attack the ball on the ground and in the air while he swept in behind. Kaboul's impressive aerial ability and aggressive instincts make him a fine centre-back to partner a more cultured defender like Dier.
Dier was a rock at the back throughout, mopping up Younes Kaboul's mess frequently and looking good on the ball.
CB: Philippe Senderos, Aston Villa
This one we did not see coming: Philippe Senderos was incredible in the heart of Aston Villa's defence alongside Ron Vlaar on Saturday and even outshone the now-famous Dutchman.
He stayed strong and battled willfully in the air, closed down shots and markers in and around the box brilliantly and helped Aly Cissokho transition in on the left too.
It will have been nice for Vlaar not to have to carry someone through yet another game.
CB: James Chester, Hull City
James Chester had an immaculate game at centre-back for Hull City on Saturday despite the referee's best efforts to the contrary.
He was strong in defence all game and planted the winning header into the Queens Park Rangers net from a corner, but in the closing minutes was penalised (wrongly) for a handball in the box.
Charlie Austin's penalty was saved and with it parity restored.
RWB: Gael Clichy, Manchester City
Gael Clichy's been playing out of position at right-back all summer, and with Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna still not match fit following the FIFA World Cup 2014, he made the most of another time to shine.
He provided nice balance to Aleksandar Kolarov's attacking incisiveness, holding his runs and stabilising the 4-4-2 where possible.
Somehow, he also managed to emerge from the game with eight successful tackles and no fouls, per WhoScored.com, though his treatment of Remy Cabella was a little rough at times.
DM: Victor Wanyama, Southampton
Victor Wanyama had an exceptional opener to the 2014-15 season, bullying Liverpool's midfield playmakers and refusing to let Philippe Coutinho receive the ball.
He appears to have lost a little weight and added mobility, enhancing his range and quickness in the midfield zones to truly lock out opposing players.
He's a fearsome prospect, as his nine tackles in this game show, per WhoScored.com, show.
DM: Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea
Cesc Fabregas put on a 45-minute master-class at Turf Moor on Monday evening, damaged Burnley beyond repair with slick passing and then relaxed to see out the result.
His direct, penetrative game suits the Premier League far better than it ever did La Liga, and his ridiculous assist for Andre Schurrle's goal had the entire world frothing at the mouth.
It's performances like these that make him a game-changing catalyst in a very tight title race to come.
LWB: Aaron Cresswell, West Ham United
Aaron Cresswell was named the Upton Park Man of the Match on Saturday and, barring perhaps Cheikhou Kouyate, none could disagree.
The left-back, making his Premier League bow after an expensive step up from Ipswich Town in the Championship, was assured on the ball and stood up well to Tottenham Hotspur's attacking talents.
Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen tried to pick on him early, but no joy was found.
AMC: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea City
Gylfi Sigurdsson had a monstrous "second debut" for Swansea City at Old Trafford, running Manchester United's defenders ragged and scoring the winning goal in the second half.
The Icelandic international played from the No. 10 role, picked up an assist for Ki Sung-Yueng's opening strike and netted a messy second himself after Wayne Routledge tripped over the ball mid-kick.
A stellar display.
ST: Edin Dzeko, Manchester City
Edin Dzeko played superbly against Newcastle United, and although he didn't get his customary goal, he picked up a brilliant assist for David Silva's opening strike.
The Bosnia and Herzegovina international battled well in the air, held the ball well and eased Aleksandar Kolarov forward by consuming markers and making his presence felt.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini was quoted by Sky Sports as saying after the game:
He finished last season playing very well and was one of the best players in this game. He worked hard and won a lot of aerial duels. It was a complete game from him.
It's not strange for me to see him play like that. He finished last season playing very well. He has grown. He's a team player.
I'm very happy for him. That's why he is renewing his contract here. He has a very important duty in our team. But I repeat, Edin finished last season playing the same way as he has started.
A great start to the season for Dzeko.
ST: Saido Berahino, West Bromwich Albion
Saido Berahino is off to a magnificent start for West Bromwich Albion, and it's just the tonic he needed after going very stale last season.
His rolled penalty exuded confidence, and his second, to take the Baggies 2-1 ahead at the time, shows he's able to take the game by the scruff of the neck and make a difference.
With Brown Ideye on the bench waiting, Berahino knows he needs to do this every week.
GK: Allan McGregor, Hull City
CB: Ron Vlaar, Aston Villa
FB: Aleksandar Kolarov, Manchester City
CM: Ki Sung-Yueng, Swansea City
CM: Lee Cattermole, Sunderland
AM: Raheem Sterling, Liverpool
ST: Wayne Rooney, Manchester United
Manager: Garry Monk, Swansea City