Chelsea’s hopes of winning the 2018/19 Premier League received a slight set back as they happily drew 2-2 at home to Manchester United, requiring a late Ross Barkely strike to take a point from the game. However, Man City and Liverpool continued their fine start to the league campaign after routine victories over Burnely and Huddersfield Town respectively. With Arsenal not playing until Monday, the other ‘Big Six’ member, Spurs were also on the winning side, defeating West Ham United 1-0 away from home.
Elsewhere, Only Cardiff City registered victory amongst the bottom eight thanks to a dramatic 4-2 win over Fulham. There were also wins for Brighton, Watford and Everton on week nine.
Here are the 11 players that stood out for me in game week nine in a 3:4:3 formation.
GK. Jordan Pickford (Everton).
What a save from the spot to deny Luka Milivojević and keep the scores at 0-0 setting the tone for Pickford’s Everton to win 2-0. He seems to improve by the day and his distribution (both long and short) is getting better each week.
CB. Joe Gomez (Liverpool).
Yet another standout performance by the young Englishman. Gomez was at the heart of everything good for Liverpool in the 1-0 win at Huddersfiled on Sunday, starting the move which resulted in the goal and putting his body on the line to ensure a sixth clean sheet of the season for his side and vital three points in the race for the title.
Gomez looks far from over and every time i look at him play, England and Liverpool can only fantasize on what he may turn out to be in future.
CB. Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea).
Not the most elegant of defenders and definitely one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. Rudiger got the game rolling with the goal the put Chelsea 1-0 up against Man United on Saturday and despite a magnificent display that saw him make six clearances, his side could only manage a draw.
CB. Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City).
Manchester City are yet to lose a Premier League fixture with Laporte in their side and his performance against Burnley showed why. The 24-year-old is an accomplished, modern defender that suits Pep Guardiola to a tee. Comfortable on the ball and progressing play, he can also do the dirty work and looks unfazed by both quick and physical strikers. With him and Stones in the side, City are undoubtedly sorted for the next few years.
MF. Fernandinho (Manchester City).
The Brazilian both scored and assisted in a Premier League game for only the second time, also doing so vs West Brom in October 2017.
It’s not often Fernandinho makes such a positive impact in the final third, but Pep Guardiola made a note of praising his midfield anchorman, labeling his performance “extraordinary” after the game. What a task they’ll have replacing this man.
MF. Etienne Capoue (Watford).
No player made more passes in Watford’s 2-0 win at Wolves than Etienne Capoue (87), while the Frenchman also netted his first Premier League goal since August 2017.
MF. David Silva (Manchester City).
No matter how many stars they surround him with; David Silva remains the key cog in the City machine. The pocket-edition playmaker is the oil in the engine for the league leaders.
Silva underlined his enduring class with a masterful display against Burnley. His deft dissection of the Clarets included assists for both Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva to go with an array of other artful passes:
MF. Juan Mata (Manchester United).
In a situation where Jose Mourinho needs someone to stand up and be counted as his side is enduring a terrible start to the League, Mata came and did exactly that on Saturday as United powered their way to a point after going down 1-0.
The little Spaniard was all over the place and it can only take one with a big heart to race down the right like Mata did and set up Martial for the second goal. Mata also received a standing ovation from the home fans as he was substituted towards the end of the game.
FW. Anthony Martial (Manchester United).
Second week in a row Martial is making my team of the week and he surely earned his spot on Saturday. The only player in the league to bag a brace over the weekend as his United side picked up a draw off high flying Chelsea.
FW. Roberto Pereyra (Watford).
Pereyra scored Watford’s second as the Hornets chalked up an impressive 2-0 win away to Wolves. The quality finish took Pereyra’s tally to four goals, a solid return from a player with the flair and guile to unlock any defense.
Pereyra has struggled putting those qualities to full use because of injuries down the years. Yet he’s still just 27 and has become the focal point of a midfield loaded with gifted players.
Will Hughes and Abdoulaye Doucoure are both in good form, but it’s Pereyra’s creativity Watford manager Javi Gracia looks for to keep his team’s surprising run going.
FW. Bobby Reid (Cardiff City).
Cardiff’s first win largely came about thanks to striker Bobby Reid. He almost singlehandedly lifted the Bluebirds out of the bottom three with a dynamic performance during a 4-2 victory against leaky Fulham. Reid gave the Bluebirds their first lead of the game when he added to Josh Murphy’s goal. The finish was coolness personified; offering proof 25-year-old Reid can get the goals Cardiff will need to beat the drop.
Reid supplemented his maiden goal in England’s top flight with a series of stretching runs in behind the Fulham defense. His pace gave the Cottagers problems all day, as did the way Reid intelligently worked the last line. If he adds more precision to the timing of his runs, along with a little more nuance as a finisher, Reid will become a tricky handful for every other Premier League defense.