Football

Premier League Team of the Week

De Gea excelled at the Britannia. (©PAphotos)
De Gea excelled at the Britannia. (©PAphotos).

Manchester City returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League table alongside neighbours Manchester United, as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal also got back to winning ways.

Meanwhile, Tottenham maintained their recent upturn in form but Bolton, West Brom and Fulham continue to languish near the foot of the table.

GMF reflects on the weekend encounters, and picks its standout performers to create a star-studded team of the week.


Goalkeeper:

David De Gea [Man Utd]

The Spanish U21 stopper proved many of his doubters wrong after passing the acid test in a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

De Gea pulled off a string of fine saves, including a rasping Andy Wilkinson drive that was tipped onto the crossbar. He also denied Jonathan Walters from close-range to maintain United's unbeaten start to the 2011-12 campaign.


Defenders:

Micah Richards [Man City]

The full-back made a number of telling runs down the right-wing, giving Leighton Baines a busy afternoon's work. Richards was defensively sound, but it was his attacking threat that helped turn the game in City's favour, as they kept the pressure on neighbours United with a 2-0 win over Everton at the Etihad Stadium.


Richard Dunne [Aston Villa]

The Republic of Ireland international captain turned in another commanding performance at Loftus Road on Sunday, but his spirited display will be blighted by the own goal converted in the closing minutes to gift QPR a point.

A retreating Dunne could do little to stop the ball ricocheting off his thigh after a Stephen Warnock attempted clearance - leaving the defender with the unfortunate record of scoring the most own goals in Barclays Premier League history [9].


Brede Hangeland [Fulham]

The Norwegian stopper marshaled his defence from start to finish on Saturday, to ensure that Martin Jol's men left The Hawthorns with a point and a clean sheet.

Hangeland was typically influential, but left the creative spark to fellow Cottagers Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey to try and fashion a goal, but neither side could break the deadlock.


Jose Enrique [Liverpool]

The Spaniard continues to grow into his role at Liverpool, and capped another impressive Anfield performance when he turned provider for Luis Suarez's winning goal.

Enrique's long ball over the top was met by a perfectly timed run by the Uruguayan, who twisted and turned before firing in from eight yards to give Kenny Dalglish's side a well-earned 2-1 victory against Wolves.




Midfield:

Nani [Man Utd]

Manchester United may have relinquished their perfect start to the season after an absorbing contest at Stoke, but there was still plenty for Sir Alex Ferguson to be pleased about.

Nani continued his rich vein of form when he exchanged passes with Darren Fletcher before firing past Asmir Begovic with aplomb to give the Red Devils the lead, only for them to be pegged back by a Peter Crouch header in the second half.


Ramires [Chelsea]

A goal either side of the break for the young Brazilian helped Chelsea on their way to a 4-1 victory over Swansea at Stamford Bridge.

Ramires worked tirelessly in the middle of the park, and was rewarded for his efforts when Ashley Cole picked him out on the edge of the area before slotting home cooly to give the Blues a 2-0 half-time lead.

His second was more of a solo effort, as Ramires carried the ball forward before cutting inside Ashley Williams to fire past the helpless Michael Worm in the Swans' goal.


David Silva [Man City]

It wasn't until second-half substitute Mario Balotelli entered the fray that Manchester City broke the deadlock against Everton, but every attacking threat seemed to go through the instrumental Spanish playmaker.

Silva was at his creative best, despite being man-marked for most of the game - first by Jack Rodwell, then later Phil Neville, and nearly doubled City's lead when tapping in a Balotelli cross, only to be ruled offside.

But he had the final say, wrapping up the three points with a defence-splitting pass to set up Milner one-on-one, who slid the ball past Tim Howard.


Forwards:

Robin Van Persie [Arsenal]

The Dutch forward spearheaded the Gunners' morale-boosting victory over Bolton, claiming two goals for Arsene Wenger's side who won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Van Persie became only the 17th player in Arsenal's history to reach 100 goals with his 99th breaking the deadlock against the 10-man Trotters.


Demba Ba [Newcastle]

The Senegalese striker launched his career on Tyneside in style with a match-winning hat-trick in Newcastle's 3-1 win against Blackburn.

The 26-year-old, who scored seven goals in 12 Premier League appearances for West Ham last season gave the Toon a taste of just what he can produce with a superb individual goalscoring display, to keep up the club's impressive start to the new campaign.


Peter Crouch [Stoke]

The 6ft 7in striker grabbed his first Potters goal in the second-half to rescue a point against the reigning champions, and could have pinched all three if it wasn't for the brilliance of De Gea.

Crouch became only the sixth player to have scored for six different Premier League clubs when he levelled the game for Stoke, having previously netted for Tottenham, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Southampton and Aston Villa.

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