Premier League Team of the Week
Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 11, including Jeremy Doku, Nicolas Jackson and Harry Maguire.
The final two unbeaten records in the 2023-24 Premier League season were broken in gameweek 11, as a nine-man Tottenham Hotspur lost their grip on top spot in the table on account of an extraordinary 4-1 loss to Mauricio Pochettino‘s Chelsea.
Arsenal fans could afford a few laughs on Monday, but Gooners’ faces were glum as their unblemished streak was broken in a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United, allowing Manchester City to rise to the summit with a 6-1 crushing of Bournemouth.
Liverpool are clinging onto a podium position despite being held to a 1-1 draw by newly-promoted Luton Town, while Aston Villa‘s Champions League ambitions also suffered a setback in a 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.
Elsewhere, Sheffield United picked up their first win of the season in contentious circumstances, sinking Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1, Burnley‘s woes continued in a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace, while Brentford downed West Ham United 3-2 in a five-goal London derby spectacular.
Here, Sports Mole selects its Team of the Week for a chaotic and controversy-riddled 11th round of Premier League fixtures.
Prior to Chelsea’s belated onslaught, Tottenham number one Guglielmo Vicario magnificently kept his nine men in the game on Monday, but with another clean sheet and five saves to boot, Palace number one Sam Johnstone gets the nod after playing a crucial role in keeping Burnley at bay.
A two-goal success also came the way of Forest when Villa paid a visit to the City Ground, a victory sparked by a fine opener from Ola Aina, whose crisp first-time side-footed strike sailed into the bottom corner, while he also contributed three tackles and four clearances to the cause. Aina’s first Tricky Trees goal was set up by Harry Toffolo, who doubled his assists tally for the second half by laying off Orel Mangala‘s fortuitous effort, and both of Steve Cooper‘s full-backs have played their way into our selection this week.
Still holding the fort admirably well in the absence of Sven Botman, Jamaal Lascelles‘s performance against Arsenal went under the radar as Mikel Arteta‘s officiating rant made headlines, but the Magpies skipper’s six clearances, three blocks and two tackles were pivotal in quelling the Gunners’ hitherto effervescent attacking forces at St James’ Park.
After controversially being cleared to continue playing despite taking a blow to the head, Harry Maguire remained as dominant as ever aerially during Man United’s beating of Fulham, winning eight of his 10 battles off the ground and also making two blocks to continue his unforeseen revival in the Red Devils’ backline.
Brentford’s Nathan Collins also came up with some vital aerial contributions of his own during the visit of West Ham, albeit at both areas of the field, as the ex-Wolves centre-back came up with a staggering 13 clearances, completed 91% of his passes and – more importantly – denied the Irons a slice of the spoils with a powerful header to complete a brilliant Bees fightback.
Just three months into his Premier League career, Man City protege Jeremy Doku has already broken two records by virtue of an offensive masterclass during the champions’ obliteration of Bournemouth. By picking out the corner to open the scoring before incredibly setting up four more, the 21-year-old became the youngest player to register five goal involvements and four assists in a single Premier League game, more than softening the blow of Erling Haaland‘s enforced withdrawal.
Bernardo Silva was the beneficiary of two of Doku’s assists at the Etihad, but the Portugal international still had plenty to do on both occasions, as a calm finish into the bottom corner preceded a sublime touch to evade the in-demand Lloyd Kelly, and his delicate dink just bounced over the line to complete his two-goal haul for the day.
Luis Diaz‘s last-gasp equaliser amid the terrible situation with his parents in Colombia understandably dominated the full-time talk of Liverpool’s draw with Luton, but the Hatters were on the verge of a famous triumph thanks in no small part to a dynamic midfield display from Ross Barkley, who drove forward at every opportunity with three successful dribbles from four attempts, while also making three tackles and four clearances in a merited draw for his side.
While Chelsea flattered to deceive for long periods against a depleted and injury-hit Tottenham, Cole Palmer continued to justify his £40m price tag in that five-goal extravaganza, drawing the Blues level with a somewhat fortunate penalty – Vicario pushed his effort onto the post and into the side of the net – before adding an eleventh-hour assist for his hat-trick hero.
For a short while, it seemed like it was going to be another one of those nights for Chelsea new boy Nicolas Jackson, who was penalised for being in an offside position as Moises Caicedo lashed home in the first half. However, as Spurs bravely – or foolishly – persisted with a high line after two red cards, the Senegal striker left the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with the match ball under his arm courtesy of a first Premier League hat-trick, one which Blues fans will hope can finally ignite a consistent goalscoring run for the hit-and-miss marksman.
Sports Mole’s Premier League Team of the Week (5-4-1): Johnstone; Aina, Lascelles, Maguire, Collins, Toffolo; Doku, Barkley, Silva, Palmer; Jackson
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