Premier League pundits’ team of weekend as Chelsea, Brentford and Gabriel Jesus dominate
The Premier League’s second matchweek of the season brought just as much drama as the first, while Brentford, Arsenal, and Manchester City racked up comprehensive wins
The 2022/23 Premier League season is only two weeks old but there has already been enough drama to satisfy even the most unmovable of fans..TAP.TO.CONTINUE READING.
Reigning champions Manchester City have reclaimed top spot after a perfect start whilst close rivals Manchester United find themselves languishing at the bottom following a thumping at the hands of Brentford.
Elsewhere, Arsenal and Nottingham Forest have claimed the headlines over the past couple of days with their own memorable results. Pundits have, of course, highlighted some of the standout performances and Mirror Football takes a look at who features in their best team of the week.
Whilst Newcastle weren’t able to continue their perfect start to the season against Brighton, a draw was not the worst result in the world given the Seagulls were flying high following an opening-weekend victory over Manchester United. The Magpies were indebted to summer signing Nick Pope for the point, with the former Burnley man producing a number of great saves to earn the plaudits of club legend Alan Shearer.
Speaking on Match of the Day, he said: “I thought Nick Pope was absolutely magnificent. It wasn’t a great performance from Newcastle, they had to rely on their goalkeeper to get something.”
Nick Pope produced crucial stops against Brighton
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It looked as though Southampton would start their home campaign with a defeat after Rodrigo scored twice to put Leeds in control at St Mary’s. However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men came back strongly.
Walker-Peters managed to get on the end of Sekou Mara’s fantastic through-ball before smashing the equaliser past Ilian Meslier. Speaking about his goal, Micah Richards said: “It’s a great finish, it really is.”
Speaking of goal-scoring defenders, Mee marked his home debut for Brentford in the best possible fashion as he played a key role in Brentford’s thrashing of Manchester United. The former Burnley man kept the Red Devils’ attack at arms’ length throughout the game.
He also found himself on the scoresheet by nodding in the third on the half-hour mark, having bullied summer arrival Lisandro Martinez at the back post – something that impressed Richards. He said: “Who was going to win it out of Mee and Martinez? People asked ‘would his height be a problem in that situation?’ It was.”
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Ben Mee played a key part in Brentford’s thumping of Manchester United
Whilst Mee’s goal was somewhat of a routine header, the same cannot be said of Kalidou Koulibaly’s strike during his first Stamford Bridge outing in a Chelsea shirt. Latching onto the end of fellow summer signing Marc Cucurella’s corner, the Senegalese international unleashed a stunning volley to give the Blues the lead against Tottenham in front of the onlooking Todd Boehly.
Speaking to NBC about the goal, former Wimbledon star Robbie Earle said: “Well, Koulibaly was brought to strengthen the defense, I didn’t know he could do this kind of thing, the big defender! What a volley this is.”
The theme of Chelsea defenders finding the net continued during the second half at Stamford Bridge during what was an impressive performance from the Blues. After Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg hit the first equaliser for Spurs, James found himself in the perfect position to regain his side’s lead as he polished off an excellent team move.
Whilst he was an impressive outlet going forwards, the England international also impressed defensively in wide centre-back role. He was somewhat unfortunate to see Harry Kane’s late leveller brush off of him and find the net, but his performance was still enough to earn Jamie Carragher’s man-of-the-match award on Sky Sports.
Reece James netted his first goal of the season against Tottenham
Brentford’s dominant performance against Manchester United was built on the Bees’ relentless pressing and a cornerstone of that was midfielder Mathias Jensen. He was on hand to roll the ball into Josh Dasilva for the hosts’ opening goal – albeit a David de Gea mistake contributed hugely.
Jensen continued to press and earned his own reward after picking the ball off of former teammate Christian Eriksen before rolling home his first goal of the season.
“Jensen, he knows what he wants to do. Closes down, wins the ball and it’s in the back of the net. What a clever finish,” Shearer said on Match of the Day.
Kevin De Bruyne
One of the players selected in the best performing team most weekends, the Belgian playmaker notched his first strike of the season in the champions’ 4-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium. His goal itself was sumptuous as he jinked his way into the penalty area before slotting home an outside-of-the-foot effort beyond the despairing grasp of Marc Travers. He was also on hand to assist Phil Foden for City’s third strike of the day.
Former Arsenal man Paul Merson was left waxing lyrical about De Bruyne’s goal and ability. He said: “It’s an unbelievable finish. The bloke’s a genius. For me, he’s the best player on the planet at the moment.”
Kevin De Bruyne sparkled for Manchester City once again
Whilst De Bruyne’s ability is well known, Southampton’s Sekou Mara is somewhat of an unknown quantity. The youngster was recruited from Bordeaux earlier this summer and he was expected to be slowly drafted into the starting XI.
That was not the case at the weekend, though, as he notched two assists in the 2-2 draw against Leeds. He first teed up fellow arrival Joe Aribo before producing a brilliant pass for Walker-Peters for the equaliser.
Richards praised the 20-year-old forward after the game, saying: “This goal was just sublime, it really was. Mara, a little drag-back or whatever he wants to call it and then a defence-splitting pass is just ridiculous. It really is. A lot of people will have just passed to the side but he wanted to keep the ball going forwards.
“He just bought a confidence. They got him from Bordeaux. He’s only 19 (sic) and I’m looking forward to the future for him.”
Sticking with the thrilling draw on the South Coast, one of the standout players of the game was former Valencia forward Rodrigo. His first strike was excellent as he flicked home Jack Harrison’s low cross in at the near post.
He then doubled his afternoon’s work by converting a header practically on the goal line following a Pascal Struijk flick-on.
Shearer has backed the Spaniard to continue his current vein of goalscoring form and go on to mark his most productive season at Elland Road. He said: “Another two [goals], already got three this season. He only got six last season, so I’m sure he’ll beat that.”
While Rodrigo twice got his name on the scoresheet, Arsenal’s new summer signing Gabriel Jesus did the same. His first effort against Leicester was stunning as he curled into the far top corner before getting himself on the scoresheet once more as he nodded in from a corner.
The former Manchester City man’s efforts were not finished there, as he also teed up both Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli in the second half. After all of that, Jesus was still disappointed not to have found the net more in a dominant victory over the Foxes.
Speaking about the Brazilian’s performance, Richards said: “Everything he did was just brilliant. He seems in a different place a lot more confident. So unlucky not to get his hat trick. He brought everything to the game.
“He popped up in so many different positions, he’s alert in the box. His all round game was brilliant. Now it feels like he’s the main man.”
Gabriel Jesus scored twice against Leicester
Jesus’ compatriot across North London also impressed while in action in the capital this weekend. Whilst former Everton man Richarlison was not able to match his international teammates’ contributions, he still made a huge difference to Spurs’ performance at Stamford Bridge after he came on in the second half against Chelsea – as pointed out by Jamie Carragher.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the ex-defender said: “I think Richarlison made a difference, he really did. They changed the system to a back four with two right up front. He just provided energy.
“I was really surprised the change didn’t come at half-time, not necessarily changing the system but bringing a couple of players on but I thought Richarlison made a huge difference in terms of running in behind and energy that Tottenham didn’t seem to have.”
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