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Premier League Team of the Week – Raheem Sterling, Paul Pogba, Virgil van Dijk

The 2019-20 Premier League season began with a bang as the big teams set down early markers and VAR predictably made the headlines on its top-flight debut.

Manchester City established themselves as early pace-setters once again with a 5-0 drubbing of West Ham United on Saturday morning, providing a perfect response to Liverpool‘s 4-1 win over Norwich City on Friday night.

Manchester United were also among the big winners on the opening weekend, doing so in style as they thrashed Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford.

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur also won as Chelsea were left playing catch-up to their top-six rivals already, while Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion are amongst the big boys too with 3-0 wins over Southampton and Watford respectively.

Sheffield United fared the best of the newly-promoted teams with a draw against Bournemouth, with Norwich and Aston Villa both suffering defeats to top-six opposition.

VAR stole the show as Wolverhampton Wanderers were controversially denied what would have been a winner in their stalemate with Leicester City, while Everton and Crystal Palace also ended goalless in a game most notable for Wilfried Zaha‘s appearance off the bench.

Here, MYND SPORTS selects its Premier League team of the week for the opening gameweek of the season.

Manchester United managed just two clean sheets at home throughout the 2018-19 campaign, but they are already halfway to that tally this term following their rout of Chelsea.

The four goals will delight Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but the clean sheet is arguably even more valuable, particularly for David de Gea. The Spaniard was criticised for his performances last season but made more saves that any other goalkeeper over the weekend to pip Ederson to a place in this week’s team.

It is no coincidence that United’s first Premier League clean sheet since February came on Harry Maguire‘s debut for the club, with the world’s most expensive defender earning the man of the match award having made more clearances and interceptions than anyone else on the field.

Fellow debutant Aaron Wan-Bissaka was also in contention for a place in this side, but Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles beats him to a place at right-back having kept a clean sheet and provided the assist for the only goal of the game.

Virgil van Dijk was a regular member of the team of the week last season and quickly regains his place this time around having scored in Liverpool’s comfortable win on Friday night.

Whereas the big teams dominate this XI, Burnley do have two representatives as a result of their exploits, and Erik Pieters is the first of those courtesy of his two assists and seven tackles during the win over Southampton.

It is a very attacking midfield in this week’s starting XI, including Manchester duo Paul Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne in the centre. Pogba put his transfer saga behind him to shine against Chelsea, particularly in the second half when he produced two fine assists, first for Marcus Rashford and then for Daniel James.

Unsurprisingly, Man City’s five-goal show makes them the most represented team in the attacking stakes, with De Bruyne being joined by wingers Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez.

Sterling put down an early marker in the Golden Boot race with a hat-trick against the Hammers, beating Mohamed Salah and Johann Berg Gudmundsson to a place in the team, while Mahrez appears to have rediscovered his best form with two assists.

There was plenty of competition for the centre-forward roles in this team, with the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Roberto Firmino all unfortunate to miss out on a place up front.

Harry Kane and Ashley Barnes both helped themselves to a brace apiece, though, with Kane’s double ensuring Spurs avoided a scare against Aston Villa and Barnes firing Burnley to an impressive opening day triumph

 

MYND SPORTS

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