Domestic football is back! Nothing quite gets you over an International break like a controversial red card and a four goal thriller. But who has done enough to earn a place in my team of the weekend? As ever we’ve got a mix of heroes and zeroes making the cut – and a manager to oversee the chaos. I’ve trotted out a 3-5-2 this week.
Ederson – Man City’s newest number one was having a decent game between the sticks before he nearly got his head kicked off and started the debate of the weekend. Essentially Ederson got kicked in the head and pundits spent the day debating on whether that was classed as endangering an opponent. Spoiler: You need your head for lots of things. Get well soon.
Benjamin Mendy – Fantastic performance from the Man City left back, even if it was against 10 men. He was outstanding in the second half and got a well deserved assist for Sane’s first goal. He’s better than Clichy and is a less smashy Kolarov, so I think it’s fair to say he’s an upgrade. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him, as it seems he and Walker will be key components to Pep’s 3-5-2.
Eric Bailly – Bailly had the old double nightmare for Stoke’s first goal on Saturday, firstly playing Diouf onside from the initial pass and then just watching Choupo-Moting arrive in the 6 yard box totally unattended to put Stoke 1-0 up. The good news for Man Utd fans is that Bailly and the equally hapless-on-Saturday Phil Jones are both suspended for their first Champions League, so you’ll get to see Chris Smalling show you how it’s done.
Jamaal Lascelles – It’s got to be considered a good day’s work when you hack one off the line at one end and follow it up by heading in the winner at the other. Excellent all round day for the Newcastle captain as he rightly took man of the matches for his side’s 1-0 win away at Swansea
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – You lost 4-0 last time out, moved clubs, made light of it. Then lost 5-0 with your new club. Not directly the Ox’s fault but it’s funny, so we’ll blame some sort of kharmic intervention. Well that and Sadio Mane kicking Ederson in the head. I bet he was delighted to make his debut at 2-0 down and a man light, it doesn’t get much bleaker than that. I’m sure there’ll be happier days ahead.
Francis Coquelin – It’s never nice to be substituted when you’ve come on as a substitute yourself, but it’s probably much worse when you’ve done a giant comedy dive after sustaining a hamstring injury. I’ve never ran quick enough to sustain a hamstring injury but I’m pretty sure that if I did I wouldn’t leap like a salmon and land on my shoulder, though I guess time will tell on that.
Pascal Gross – Gross has the honour of scoring Brighton’s first Premier League goal with a deflected effort against West Brom. It’s how it was written in the fairytales. Gross went one better straight after half time and struck one from 25 yards which is probably a better story, and he also added the assist for Brighton’s third to secure their first ever Premier League win. It’s always nice for a team to get off the mark, especially with Chris Hughton in the dugout. Lovely Chris.
Lee Chung-Yong – I’d actually forgot Lee was still at Crystal Palace but in Frank De Boer’s time of need, he turned to the South Korean International to help him preserve his job status at Turf Moor. What you don’t want to do is, after just 3 minutes, play a hopeless back pass that gets intercepted and you concede and lose 1-0. It’ll be back to the reserves for Lee, but the big question is what next for De Boer?
Renato Sanches – For all the hype, for all the “signing of the window” statements, it’s fair to say Renato Sanches’ debut left a lot to be desired. Physically he seems a good match for the league but whether his matches fitness is there yet remains to be seen. He spent most of Sunday afternoon giving the ball away, which is like breaking the law in the Swansea team. He’ll get better I’m sure but a debut to forget.
Sergio Aguero – ‘Look boss, I’m doing it! I’m passing needlessly!’ Fair play to Sergio, he showed how much he wants to impress Pep by quite literally passing up the opportunity to score his second of the afternoon and give Pep’s golden boy Gabriel Jesus his second goal instead. It was a remarkably unselfish move from a striker who has had a bit of a scrap on for his place in recent times but if anything is a key to Pep’s heart, it’s walking the ball in.
Harry Kane – It’s September, so Kane is scoring again. All he needs now is a goal at Wembley and I’ll really believe the August thing is a legitimate issue he should seek help for. Anyway, Kane makes the cut because his first goal was a fluke, but what’s more, he actually admitted it! It’s a very honest strike force this week, apparently I’m big on that now.
Marco Silva – I wanted to get a Watford player in the 11 but they are ruthlessly efficient rather than hilarious. Silva is probably sick of hearing how well he nearly did at Hull only to blow it with a home loss to Sunderland, so it’s good to see him living up to his reputation by taking on an unfancied Watford side. His record on the continent is great and despite Merson and pals telling us he doesn’t know the Premier League, it’s clear he knows how to win football matches.
I’m off on an International break of my own for the next two weeks, I am reliably informed there will be a replacement behind the keyboard but I’ll be back in a few weeks. I hope my substitute is adequate but not outstanding. Like Matteo Darmian.