Premier League Team of Week for November 8-9: Matic, Mane and Montero Star
Welcome to the 11th 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 4-2-2-2.)
Calum Chambers is nowhere to be seen this week after getting destroyed by Jefferson Montero, and there was no hope for any Leicester City players after Southampton ripped them to shreds.
Also, look out for the alternate XI at the end of the article—there were so many amazing performances, we filled two teams!
GK: Brad Guzan, Aston Villa
Brad Guzan, perhaps fittingly nicknamed "Godzan" by Aston Villa fans, was in God-like form in goal at Upton Park on Saturday.
Villa held firm and were looking to stop the rot of six straight defeats in the Premier League, and while the defence played very well under pressure, the American stopper was required at the death to deny Andy Carroll what should have been a winner.
Every now and then Guzan decides he won't be beaten. Saturday was one of those days.
RB: Daryl Janmaat, Newcastle United
WhatCulture's Simon Gallagher was effusive in his praise for Daryl Janmaat this week, suggesting the Dutchman is more than filling Mathieu Debuchy's shoes so far: "Janmaat looks like an absolute steal at the minute: he is strong in the tackle, great in terms of limiting attackers when they run directly towards him, and he has begun to learn more about defending the space behind him (which he wasn’t doing earlier in the season).
"His passing range, and his ability going forward also makes him a huge commodity, and the ball he put in for Coloccini’s header—after embarrassing Mulumbu on the turn—was almost as good as a goal itself."
After a strong World Cup, Janmaat looked an astute signing from Alan Pardew, and he certainly has improved after a ropey opening few weeks.
CB: Ron Vlaar, Aston Villa
When Ron Vlaar is in commanding form, Aston Villa rarely end up on the end of a very poor result. That may seem strange given the club's consistently poor showings over the last few years, but Vlaar is an oft-injured piece in the defence.
Against West Ham he was brilliant, and what sets him apart is his fearless charging down of shots and loose balls. A team defending as deep as Villa invite pressure and second balls in their box, but Vlaar makes sure very few reach the goal line.
CB: Paul Dummett, Newcastle United
Just play Paul Dummett at centre-back every week. He often looks lost as a left-back, failing to turn quick enough and struggling in space, but give him the aerial duels and rough-house game he craves and he will play well.
With Mike Williamson (rightly) falling out of favour in defence, Dummett has the chance to continue impressing and nail down a spot for the rest of the season. He looks good next to Fabricio Coloccini.
LB: Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea
Cesar Azpilicueta knows his place is under scrutiny, and he responded to the pressure from Filipe Luis by excelling at Anfield in Saturday's early kick-off.
His scamper down the touchline, subsequent beating of Philippe Coutinho and cross resulted in Diego Costa's winner, allowing Chelsea to further the gap between themselves and Manchester City.
He was excellent in all phases all day.
DM: Victor Wanyama, Southampton
Places in our Team of the Week are never decided by impressive statistical lines, but just check this out for Victor Wanyama:
The Kenyan controlled the midfield with ease and was even spotted jinking past challenges on the wing of all places. His pass to Shane Long to ice the game 2-0 was a beauty.
DM: Nemanja Matic, Chelsea
Nemanja Matic takes his regular spot in our Team of the Week after putting in his regular excellent performance. Bar a few hairy moments induced by Philippe Coutinho's mesmerising dribbling skills, the Serbian was sublime in midfield.
He shut down the midfield late on and grabbed a loose assist for the equaliser. We knew he'd be incredible in the defensive phase, but he's making an impact offensively, too.
Wing: Sadio Mane, Southampton
Ritchie de Laet was substituted off after 54 minutes due to Sadio Mane putting him through hell. His replacement, Liam Moore, did not fare much better.
Mane won't jump off the stats sheet, but he was substituted off because he was kicked from pillar to post by a desperate Leicester City side. His burst, acceleration and trickery gave the Foxes an immense amount of problems.
He had the ball in the back of the net at one stage but was correctly ruled offside.
Wing: Jefferson Montero, Swansea City
For everything we wrote about Sadio Mane, see Jefferson Montero, too. He ripped Calum Chambers apart on the flank, skinning him to deliver an assist for the winning Bafetimbi Gomis goal.
Arsenal failed to deal with his pace, quickness and directness, hitting the byline regularly and causing havoc in the box. Wilfried Bony was unable to capitalise, but Gomis did so at the first time of asking.
ST: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Sergio Aguero—one man team? It certainly seems so.
He must be flabbergasted and confused; his teammates—last season's Premier League champions!—are all playing horrific football, and he's the only one in any semblance of form bar perhaps Joe Hart.
His two goals at Loftus Road were absolutely stunning: The first was a beautiful dribbling effort, the second a mazy solo effort that saw Rob Green stranded in no man's land.
ST: Shane Long, Southampton
The choice between Shane Long and Charlie Austin was a tough one, but the former takes the biscuit as he very much embodied the definition of the phrase "game-changer."
Southampton dominated Leicester City from start to finish but struggled to find the breakthrough. Long came on in the second half and played the part of hero, though, bagging two goals to seal three points.
His first goal saw him link beautifully with Graziano Pelle, his second a great run and finish one vs. one.
There were so many excellent showings this week, it's possible to create an alternate XI that performed brilliantly. Here are our choices:
Joe Hart Manchester City
Nathaniel Clyne Southampton
Paddy McNair Manchester United
Nathan Baker Aston Villa
Ryan Bertrand Southampton
Steven N'Zonzi Stoke City
Nacer Chadli Tottenham Hotspur
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal
Alexis Sanchez Arsenal
Charlie Austin Queens Park Rangers
Bojan Stoke City