Arsenal, Stoke and West Ham heroes make team of the week
Seven goals from this week's free-scoring midfield, but only one from the strikers
THERE may yet be one massive game to come in this round of Premier League fixtures, but already it has offered impressive performances aplenty as midfielders strapped on their scoring boots to net 14 of the weekend’s 23 goals.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain notched a brace as he sent Arsenal back to the top of the table, as did Charlie Adam, who helped Stoke produce the most eye-catching result of the weekend, a win over Man United for the first time in the Premier League era.
So, who makes the team of the weekend? Here's our pick of the experts picks:
Asmir Begovic (Stoke).
There were plenty of impressive performances this week from the likes of Artur Boruc and Vito Mannone, who both kept clean sheets, and Cardiff's David Marshall. But it is Begovic who gets the nod for keeping Man United at bay at the Britannia on a hectic afternoon. Begovic was "superb" says Garth Crooks of the BBC. "In swirling wind, what he didn't stop he pushed on to the woodwork."
Phil Bardsley, Wes Brown (both Sunderland), James Tomkins (West Ham), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal).
Bardsley and Brown were both on fine form for Sunderland as they humbled Newcastle at St James' Park, helping the Black Cats keep a clean sheet as they ran out 3-0 winners. Bardsley was the top scoring defender in fantasy football, claiming three points for an assist after winning a penalty in the first half. Meanwhile ESPN picks out Brown who was "diligent and disciplined in his positioning" and easily a match for the Newcastle strikers. ESPN is also impressed by Tomkins. When he is "fit and on message, he's as dominant a defender as there is", says the website. The final spot goes to Mertesacker of Arsenal who guided the Gunners to another clean sheet. In addition to several interceptions and tackles he "kept his concentration and organised the back line throughout", says Bleacher Report.
Charlie Adam (Stoke), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Kevin Nolan (West Ham), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).
Here come the goals – seven in total from the selected midfielders this week. Adam sunk Man United with two strikes at the Britannia, the second of which was a stunner. He is a unanimous choice for team of the week and his man of the match performance was "excellent" says the Daily Mail. Lallana of Southampton was also on target as the Saints beat Fulham. "He scored the opening goal of the game on 64 minutes, completed almost 90 percent of his passes and was highly involved in all of the Saints' best work," says Bleacher Report. Nolan scored both goals for West Ham against Swansea, twice latching on to Andy Carroll headers. "Nolan’s goal-scoring prowess will be vital if West Ham are to stay up," says ESPN. Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a unanimous choice after scoring twice for Arsenal on his return to the team after five months out. "It was the perfect return for another young Englishman with a point to prove," says Crooks of the BBC.
Andy Carroll (West Ham), Fabio Borini (Sunderland).
Carroll may seem like an unusual choice given that he only played 58 minutes before being sent off against Swansea, but he won over more than one expert thanks to his two towering headers that set up both West Ham goals. "A red for an arm in the face of Chico Flores soured his day, but it seemed a harsh card for the striker," says Bleacher Report. The final berth goes to Sunderland goalscorer Borini, the third Black Cat to make this week's XI, who also impressed the selectors at Bleacher Report. "He chased down everything, refused to give the centre-backs an easy time and got his rewards."