Premier League team of the week: Arsenal youngsters shine while Spurs stars dominate


The growing rates of the Covid-19 omicron variant ensured that just four Premier League games were able to go ahead as planned this weekend, but they were not without drama.

Spectacular goals, contentious refereeing and dubious VAR decisions, at least three of the four games each displayed traits we would find in a Premier League classic.

Chelsea lost ground in the title race after a bore draw away at Wolves in which neither side enjoyed a sustained period of pressure.

Liverpool also dropped points as they were held to a 2-2 draw away at Tottenham in a fixture that saw Harry Kane net his first home goal of the Premier League season.

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Manchester City meanwhile, ensured it was business as usual as they made light work of Eddie Howe’s Newcastle with a 4-0 victory.

Arsenal also bagged four away at Elland Road, putting an under-strength Leeds side to the sword, though their huge injury list does not excuse some of the dismal defending from Marcelo Bielsa’s men.

With that being said, here is Mirror Football’s Premier League team of the week.

GK – Alisson Becker

Alisson Becker gets down well to stop Harry Kane’s shot

Anyone who has only seen Heung-Min Son’s equaliser may question the decision to select the Brazilian shot-stopper after he was guilty of handing Spurs their second.

Making a meal of an attempted clearance, Alisson gifted Spurs a route back into the game – but he also stopped them from winning it on multiple occasions.

His first-half stop from Dele Alli undeniably the pick of the bunch, tipping the 25-year-old’s close range effort around the post when he was handed the freedom of the Liverpool penalty area.

The second half saw much of the same, Alisson making himself as big as possible to thwart Kane’s chipped goal-bound effort – a stop that looked all the more impressive as replays showed Alisson loses his footing en route to meet England’s captain.

RB – Joao Cancelo

Joao Cancelo celebrates after scoring what was arguably the best goal of the weekend against Newcastle

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Quite comfortably the easiest selection in this entire starting line-up, Cancelo has gone above the call of duty for a right-back yet again against Eddie Howe’s side at St James’ Park.

The Portugal international is redefining what both fans and managers expect from a man in his position with his stunning technical prowess and ability to contribute in an attacking sense.

Cancelo notched City’s second against Newcastle in the most spectacular fashion, dropping his shoulder twice to sell both Joe Willock and Jamal Lascelles a dummy before unleashing a fierce right-footed effort into the top-corner from just inside the ‘D’.

CB – Davinson Sanchez

Davinson Sanchez was on hand to prevent Sadio Mane’s effort from going in

The Colombian international is often criticised for his showings in a Spurs shift, accused of being reckless and clumsy in his approach too often, but he was back at his best for the visit of Liverpool.

It is a testament to both Sanchez and indeed the rest of the Spurs backline that the hosts undoubtedly had more clear cut chances than their visitors, nullifying the threat of Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane and an in-form Mohamed Salah.

Sanchez’s best moment of the afternoon came during the first-half, when Mane brought a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross down with ease, the goal at his mercy before Sanchez made a stunning slide-tackle to end the attack.

Timed to perfection, Sanchez got his leg between Mane’s effort and Lloris’s goal to preserve what was at the time a Spurs lead after Harry Kane’s 13th minute opener.

CB – Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Manchester City with a close-range header

Manchester City’s most reliable central defender enjoyed one of his easiest afternoons while donning the sky blue shirt away at struggling Newcastle.

Rarely called into action due to the gulf in quality between the two teams and City’s relentless attacking nature, Dias did not make any slip-ups on the rare occasion he was forced into any kind of defensive work.

The Portugal international even bagged himself a goal to open the scoring and spark the resulting City onslaught, though he hardly had to work for his second goal of the league season.

Some calamitous defending from the hosts ensured Dias was unmarked from no more than six-yards out to nod his effort beyond Magpies shot-stopper Martin Dubravka after just five minutes.

LB – Andy Robertson

Andy Robertson remonstrates with officials after he was sent off against Spurs

Much like his Liverpool teammate Alisson, there could be eyebrows raised over Robertson’s inclusion in this side after he was shown a red-card for a swipe at Emerson Royal with 15 minutes left to play.

However, for the 75 minutes prior Robertson was at his rampant best, constantly offering his presence as an attacking outlet as well as being the best member of a Reds backline without defensive lynchpin Virgil van Dijk.

After teeing up Jota for Liverpool’s equaliser with a deft cross just before half-time, Robertson put his team in front with a close range header that should have really won his side the game had it not been for a disastrous goalkeeping error just minutes later.

Robertson became the first player in Premier League history to register the most bizarre hat-trick of a goal, assist and red-card to cap off a bittersweet afternoon’s work away at Spurs.

CM – Tanguy Ndombele

Tanguy Ndombele set up the games opening goal for Harry Kane

So often criticised for letting games pass him by or being unable to keep up with the pace of a fixture, Ndombele was assured in the middle of the park for Spurs up against a makeshift Liverpool midfield set-up.

The Frenchman could be thankful he was forced to pit his wits against an ageing James Milner and inexperienced Tylor Morton rather than the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho or Thiago Alcantara, but you can only play who is in front of you.

Tottenham’s record signing displayed his class for the game’s first goal, when he put Kane through with a delightful through ball weighted to perfection.

Even a drastically out of form Kane could not spurn the opportunity presented to him by Ndombele, notching his second goal of the Premier League season.

CM – Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard got his first assist of the season for Arsenal at Elland Road

The Norway skipper put in what was arguably his best performance in an Arsenal shirt, including his six-month loan spell last season prior to making the move permanent in the summer.

Odegaard was simply breath-taking at Elland Road, creating a shed-load of chances for his teammates before the clock had even hit 30 minutes.

The 23-year-old got his first assist of the season in the most elegant way possible, picking the ball up from Emile Smith Rowe at around the halfway line, gliding up the pitch before handing it back to the England international courtesy of a deft chip over the foot of the onrushing Leeds defender.

Smith Rowe made no mistake and converted for Arsenal’s fourth, putting any theory that the two can’t play alongside each other to bed as they linked up to notch arguably the goal of the game.

CM – Harry Winks

Harry Winks enjoyed one of his best performances in recent memory against Liverpool

The much-maligned midfielder will be hoping to revive his faltering career under new boss Antonio Conte, famed for getting the best out of seemingly forgotten talent.

Performances like the one Winks delivered on Sunday will provide the perfect start, the England international playing a number of key passes to cut open his Liverpool counterparts.

A combative display in the middle of the park, Winks was not shy in putting in a crunching tackle against the likes of Jota, Morton and Milner.

FW – Gabriel Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli scored a brace for Arsenal against Leeds

Arsenal’s man of the moment, Martinelli netted his third and fourth Premier League goals of the season against Leeds to put the Gunners 2-0 up inside the opening half an hour.

The first a well-struck right-footed effort that Leeds keeper Illan Meslier got a strong hand to but could still not keep out after the ball broke to the Brazilian after an Alexandre Lacazette tackle inside the penalty area.

The second displayed the kind of composure plenty of strikers years Martinelli’s senior would love to possess, ignoring the clumsy challenges from the Leeds defence to remain on his feet and duly loft the ball over the onrushing Meslier to double his side’s advantage.

Martinelli has made himself a mainstay in the first team with his form in front of goal, also scoring against West Ham in the Gunners last league outing before the trip to Leeds.

ST – Harry Kane

Harry Kane scored the game’s opening goal for Tottenham against Liverpool

Kane had one of his most memorable afternoon’s all season up against Jurgen Klopp’s side, a constant handful for the Liverpool backline, though he was guilty of spurning some glorious chances.

The England captain finally bagged his first home goal of the league season, calmly placing his effort beyond Alisson after Ndombele’s wonderful through ball left Kane in a perfect position.

Constantly on the prowl for a chance, Kane’s movement looked back to its best – though his game could have met the same fate as Robertson, the 28-year-old very fortunate to stay on the pitch after he appeared to left his foot in on a late challenge with the Scottish full-back just 15 minutes after his opener.

FW – Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez was on target for Man City against Newcastle

A goal and an assist marked a comfortable performance for the Algeria international, who simply had too much class for his Newcastle counterparts on Sunday afternoon.

While his simple pass to Cancelo will go down as an assist, the Portuguese defender did the majority of the heavy lifting.

Mahrez’s goal however, was a wonderful collaborative effort, Oleksandr Zinchenko’s perfectly weighted cross met by the boot of Mahrez while on the run to lash beyond Dubravka.

His fourth goal of the Premier League season, Mahrez was vital in a victory that allows Man City some breathing room at the top of the table.

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