Premier League Team of Week for October 25-27: Adrian, Song, Bony Star
Welcome to the ninth installment of our Premier League Team of the Week for the 2014-15 season.
Here we analyse every game and pick out a star XI from the weekend's fixtures, choosing the best players to form a viable formation (in this case, a 4-4-2).
Once again, there are no Sunderland representees after a dire show. Brede Hangeland, Ryan Mason, Aaron Cresswell, Stewart Downing and Diafra Sakho all missed out narrowly, while Alexis Sanchez can consider himself truly unlucky not to make the grade.
GK: Adrian, West Ham United
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian was in no mood to be losing on Saturday afternoon, and at times he single-handedly prevented Manchester City from clawing their way back into the game.
He had a little help from the post and bar, but on a multitude of occasions he dove bravely at the feet of attackers or stuck out a reflexive leg to deny Sergio Aguero and Co. in the 2-1 victory.
RB: Javi Manquillo, Liverpool
Liverpool's attacking riches stuttered again on Saturday, but the clean sheet the defence collected could go down in folklore.
Hull City weren't too adventurous and hardly provided the greatest test in the 0-0 draw, but credit Javi Manquillo for seizing his chance in lieu of Glen Johnson and playing well enough to impress.
The Spaniard is far from flashy, but he's effective and down to earth.
CB: Nacho Monreal, Arsenal
Nacho Monreal played centre-back again due to Arsenal's mini injury crisis, and this time he looked more comfortable in the role.
He played it occasionally in La Liga but is, by trade, very much a left-sided player. Despite not having the physicality or aggression required, he stepped it up and handled Sunderland's Steven Fletcher very well in the 2-0 win.
Later on he switched to left-back to allow Hector Bellerin to replace Kieran Gibbs. Arsenal are all over the place defensively, but Monreal is a willing servant.
CB: Winston Reid, West Ham United
Winston Reid isn't often a name that's mentioned when you talk about the Premier League's best centre-backs, but every time you see him, you're reminded of just how good he really is.
With his contract expiring in the coming summer and no progress in talks for now, many clubs will be checking in on the New Zealander, who could be the country's best-ever player in terms of pure talent.
He was fantastic against Manchester City in every facet of the game.
LB: Leighton Baines, Everton
Once again, Leighton Baines was critical to Everton's breaking down and eventual beating of Burnley, 3-1, firing in a cross for Samuel Eto'o to convert with aplomb.
The Englishman started a little rough this season—in particular his defensive skill set looked questionable—but now he's coming in to some excellent form and making a decisive impact in most games.
DM: Alex Song, West Ham United
The Alex Song loan signing surprised us all on the opening day of the season, and the Upton Park crowd could scarcely believe they were welcoming a Barcelona player to the club on a temporary basis.
He took a few weeks to get himself sorted, but now he's playing to an extremely high level. On Saturday he controlled the midfield, played incisive passes into channels, won possession back cleanly and flustered the Manchester City crop.
Also, he entered a personal one vs. one with Alexis Sanchez to see who's got the shortest shorts.
CM: Marouane Fellaini, Manchester United
It was a plan that worked perfectly during the first half. Fellaini carried out a man-marking role on Fabregas, and did so brilliantly. The Spaniard completed just four passes in the first half-hour, giving the ball away five times under pressure.
Fellaini looked revitalised after being given his first league start of the season.
Wing: Enner Valencia, West Ham United
We're stretching the formation just a little by slotting Enner Valencia on the right wing, but as he played right-centre-forward in a 4-4-2 diamond, we think we can get away with it.
He dominated that flank and gave City's Gael Clichy a rough ride, showing the ability to get in behind and drop off to receive possession. His understanding with Diafra Sakho is exceptional, and the assist he picked up for Morgan Amalfitano was everything he deserved—even if being flung five feet into the crowd afterward was not.
Wing: Sadio Mane, Southampton
Sadio Mane was the only change Southampton boss Ronald Koeman made this weekend, and it takes big cojones for a manager to mess with a side that won 8-0 the weekend before—even if the matchup demanded it.
The Senegalese speedster gave Stoke City's Phil Bardsley a rough time on the left in the 1-0 win, running at him relentlessly with pace and trickery. Mane was also in the opportune spot to sweep up Graziano Pelle's shot that hit the post, guiding it goalward in expert fashion.
CF: Samuel Eto'o, Everton
Samuel Eto'o grabbed a start for Everton this weekend away to Burnley and rewarded his manager with a Man of the Match performance. BBC Merseyside Sport shared Romelu Lukaku's comments regarding Eto'o:
He and Lukaku have struck up a bond that goes beyond the pitch, and that'll be valuable to Roberto Martinez as he looks to extract the best from his £28 million Belgian hitman.
Eto'o sealed the win with a second goal and came within inches of scoring a hat-trick.
ST: Wilfried Bony, Swansea City
Wilfried Bony's goalscoring drought is well and truly over; the Ivorian has scored in thee successive games for Swansea and grabbed a brace against Leicester City this weekend in a 2-0 victory.
One of his goals in particular was a beautiful give-and-go move with Gylfi Sigurdsson, opening up the Foxes defence as if using a chainsaw and goring them straight down the middle.
Swansea are back up and running, and Bony's played a big part in the resurgence.
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