With eleven games gone, things in the English Premier League are starting to settle down and form more distinct patterns. However, on top of the massive victories coming from Liverpool and Chelsea this weekend, breaking the mold of those distinct patterns were Sunderland who picked up their first win of the season and Hull City who picked up their first win in the league since Matchday 2.
With all the story-lines to keep an eye in the league at the moment, there are two major surprises certainly worth noting. The surprise of the season so far is that of Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side have been brilliant so far this season and the club now look like genuine title contenders. Gameweek 11 saw the Reds smash their opponents Watford, by a score of 6-1 at the weekend with each and every player performing to the highest level yet again. The other major surprise of the season so far is just how fluid Chelsea have been under Antonio Conte these past few months and how spectacular they have been in both their attacking play and their defensive resilience. The Blues were like thunder and lightning at the weekend against Everton, just causing up a storm as they ran riot to a 5-0 win. For the first time ever in a Mastermind Premier League Team of the Week more than half, in fact 9 of the 11 of the players in this week’s Team of the Week come from just two teams! The other two come from the two teams mentioned briefly above. These are the best eleven players from Gameweek 11 in the Premier League.
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Matchday 11 saw Sunderland finally secure their first win of the season in their 2-1 victory over AFC Bournemouth. Although many players were key in David Moyes’ first victory as Sunderland manager in the league, Jordan Pickford might just have been the most important of all. The goalkeeper was fantastic in being the last line of defense for the Black Cats, making 5 stunning saves to keep Bournemouth out including one of the saves of the season. With just two minutes to go with Sunderland up 2-1, Joshua King hammered a shot at goal from close-range which looked to be soaring into the top corner until Pickford got his hand to it and kept it out, claiming all three points for his side. Jordan Pickford is a wonderful young goalkeeper, has a very bright future ahead of him and was pivotal to Sunderland’s first win of the season under David Moyes. Rating: 8.5/10.
Right-Wing Back: Victor Moses
Victor Moses just looks so full of confidence and swagger at the moment and is fully benefiting from the belief that his manager has shown in him. After making The Mastermind‘s October Team of the Month for his fantastic displays, Moses is showing no signs of slowing down at right-wing back as he continues to build a reputation for himself as one of this season’s standout players so far. At the weekend the Nigerian was excellent at surging forward and was just far too much for Bryan Oviedo to handle as the Costa Rican defender was hauled off after just 35 minutes. Moses whipped in 8 crosses, took 3 shots and hit the bar from a thunderous effort from close range, nearly making the score 3-0 for the Blues before the game had even reached half an hour. Moses as he has been all season was key for the Blues in defense once again as well and was also an ever-present on the ball, touching it 104 times and completing 3 take-on’s. Victor Moses is a fantastic player, we just haven’t truly known what he is capable of until now that a manager like Antonio Conte has shown this much faith in his abilities. Rating: 9/10.
Centre Back: Michael Dawson
In The Player That Every Premier League Club Has Missed in 2016-17 I outlined how crucial Michael Dawson is to Hull City’s setup and how much they have missed him to start this season. Now that he has returned to the side and is fully fit again, Hull have started to look a lot better and the English defender was the key reason why the Tigers were able to secure their first win in 9 Premier League matches this weekend. The British defender was a beast at the back for Hull, controlling the likes of Charlie Austin and Dusan Tadic who have been in good form, while making 2 tackles and 7 clearances in the process. He was also fantastic in always putting his body in the way of the ball, blocking a total of six shots that easily could have found their way into the back of the net had he not been fantastic in getting in the way. And on top of that, Dawson also popped up with Hull City’s relatively late winner, scoring a headed goal to give Mike Phelan’s side a 2-1 victory over the Saints. Michael Dawson is so important for Hull City and is going to need to stay fit if they are going to continue winning matches. Maybe just maybe Hull can survive this season after all. Rating: 9.5/10.
Left-Wing Back: Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso was good in his spell a couple of seasons ago with Sunderland when he played a key role in helping Gus Poyet’s side stay up, but we truly had no idea how good this Spanish defender could be until Antonio Conte brought him into his Chelsea system. Alonso has been superb since coming into the fold at the beginning of October as Chelsea have not conceded a goal since and Saturday’s 5-0 win over Everton was both the Blues’ best and Alonso’s best performance of the season so far. The Spanish defender was excellent in scoring Chelsea’s second goal of the night, making a darting run forward to get on the end of Pedro’s cross before hammering it in between the goalkeeper’s legs. But that’s not all the former Fiorentina man did against the Toffees, he was also superb defensively, making seven total tackles, more than any other player on the pitch. He also created 3 chances constantly driving forward in the match from deep with 5 crosses as well, and he touched the ball 96 times helping the Blues keep all of the possession and put in their best performance of the season so far. Marcos Alonso is a fantastic left-wing back and at the moment is looking like one of the most important players to Chelsea’s fantastic new setup. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Midfield: Adam Lallana
At times this season, Adam Lallana looks like Kevin de Bruyne. His delivery, chance creation and ambidextrous ability on the ball have turned him into one of this season’s supreme creator of goals as he continues to look so improved from last season. With another two assists against Watford, one with each foot, the English midfielder is now second in the league for assists behind only the aforementioned De Bruyne. Adam Lallana was excellent again for Liverpool against the Hornets, assisting both Emre Can with a wonderful cross field pass and then later Roberto Firmino with a picture perfect ball across the six-yard box towards the Brazilian. He created 4 chances in total (only Coutinho had more) and all 4 of the crosses that he delivered into the box found the foot or head of a teammate, something that is so hard to do and so rare to find in football statistics. Adam Lallana is just such a fantastic creator of goals, played such a key role in Liverpool’s 6-1 win over Watford and just could not be left out of The Mastermind‘s Team of the Week for Gameweek 11. Rating: 10/10.
Right Attacking Midfield: Sadio Mane
It is no surprise at all that this season’s three top team of the week appearance leaders, Hazard, Mane and Coutinho all appear in the Team of the Week yet again. With these three players, I am beginning to sound like a broken record. Sadio Mane has just been on a different planet so far this season and managed to increase his goal tally to 6 for the season with another two goals against Watford. The Senegalese winger was full of energy, pace and power again just as he has been all season and showed his decisiveness in front of goal again as well with another two fine finishes. All three of Mane’s shots in the match were on target and two of them found the back of the net. However, other than two chances created, a tackle and an interception, there wasn’t too much more that made Mane stand out this week other than his two fantastic goals. But he still contributed massively to Liverpool’s smashing victory and was more decisive in front of goal than arguably any other player this week. Rating: 9.5/10.
Left Attacking Midfield: Philippe Coutinho
This Liverpool midfielder just can’t stop putting in amazing performances for Liverpool and as a result he just can’t stop being selected for The Mastermind‘s Team of the Week. Philippe Coutinho is in amazing form at the moment and as a result Liverpool are firing on all cylinders as the Reds still have not lost since that shocking 2-0 defeat against Burnley on Matchday 2. Coutinho was superb this week against Watford, scoring and assisting a goal before half-time and always getting himself involved in every single Liverpool attack. Every single time he was in possession of the ball he just looked impossible to stop, twisting and turning, passing and moving, taking shots from range and from close, it was just an all round stunning performance again from the Brazilian. This confidence with the ball at his feet was evident by his five completed dribbles and 5 shots. Coutinho was also fantastic provider of goals again for the Reds, creating a stunning 5 chances and delivering 6 crosses, 3 of which found a teammate. Philippe Coutinho is just in amazing form at the moment and is leading Liverpool’s title charge as they look to win their first ever Premier League title. Rating: 10/10.
Right Wing: Pedro Rodriguez
Although he has been in fantastic form of late, I was very surprised that Pedro Rodriguez kept his place in Antonio Conte’s team for this match for the third match in a row when you would think that Willian would be ready to play again. But the Spanish winger has proven me wrong with a phenomenal performance against Everton, acting as one of Chelsea’s best performers and key men in their 5-0 win over the Toffees. Pedro was excellent in assisting both Marcos Alonso’s goal and Eden Hazard’s second goal before scoring a fantastic goal of his own, being in exactly the right place at the right time to net Chelsea’s final goal of the evening. The 29-year old forward helped out in defense with 4 tackles but it was in attack where he was truly a shining star for the Blues, creating 3 chances and completing 4 fantastic dribbles including one delightful turn before setting Diego Costa free for another chance that was eventually skewed off target. The Spanish winger is looking like his old Barcelona self again, is full of confidence again under Antonio Conte and could be set to play a massive role in their run to the title. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Forward: Roberto Firmino
Robeto Firmino took a little bit of time to settle under Brendan Rogers after arriving in the summer before last season but since Jurgen Klopp has come in as manager, the Brazilian has been one of the Premier League’s best players. And few players have been in better form in recent matches than Roberto Firmino as the Brazilian has scored 5 goals in his last 7 appearances for the Reds and put in another brilliant performance for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool against Watford. Against Watford the Brazilian assisted two goals and scored one of his own, bringing his tally up to 5 goals and 3 assists in 10 matches for the season. Firmino also created a total of 4 chances, won 4 duels in the air and had 3 shots on target from a total of five shots. The Brazilian attacker has been an instrumental piece to the puzzle of Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s success so far and was instrumental as ever in Liverpool’s 6-1 win over Watford. Rating: 10/10.
Left Wing: Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard is in the form of his life at the moment. Right now the Belgian winger is playing even better than he did two seasons ago when he was named the PFA Player of the Year. The Chelsea winger was just full of confidence, verve and energy again against Ronald Koeman’s Everton and put in another unbelievably good performance on Saturday night. Hazard scored a fantastic goal early on to set the tone for the rest of the match with a fantastic right footed finish and then gave the keeper no time to react on his second incisive finish, sending Chelsea into ecstasy and giving the Toffees no chance of coming back. In the match as a whole, Hazard had three shots on target from three, completed 3 take-on’s, put in five crosses and despite always looking for the most elaborate of passes, still completed nearly 95% of them. Eden Hazard just looks unbelievably good at the moment and if he carries on like this Chelsea will win the Premier League title and Hazard will win his second PFA Player of the Year award. Rating: 10/10.
Striker: Diego Costa
At this point you’ve probably forgotten that this is a Team of the Week article and not one about Chelsea and Liverpool’s combined best XI, but the last one to make note of for his stunning performance this weekend is Spanish forward Diego Costa, who continues to lead the league in scoring. Costa put in a perfect performance against the Toffees, leading the line for the blues in their 5-0 win but doing so much more than just that. The amount of times he went back to help out and defend or drop in deeper to allow Pedro and Hazard to run in behind him was fantastic. He just works so hard for the team at all times as evident by so many things on Saturday night including the Spaniard carrying on after a terrible tackle on him by Seamus Coleman and avoiding making contact with the ball on Chelsea’s second goal when he realized that Marcos Alonso was in a better position. Speaking of players that Everton couldn’t cope with, Diego Costa was probably the one that gave Ronald Koeman the most amount of problems on the night. Not only did the Brazilian born Spanish international assist Eden Hazard’s goal and score one of his own from a fantastic volley, he also had 6 shots, 4 of which were on target, completed 4 take-on’s and created 4 chances just giving Everton and Phil Jagielka in particular a nightmare of an evening. Diego Costa was unreal against Everton, is having one of his best if not the best season of his career so far and will be essential to Chelsea’s league title challenge this season. Rating: 10/10.
Substitutes: George Friend, Robert Snodgrass, Matty Phillips, Wayne Rooney, Victor Anichebe, Sam Vokes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
With so many incredible performances from so many incredible Premier League players, a substitutes bench just had to appear this week to make note of all those that could have made an appearance inside the best eleven. Manchester United were back in business in the Premier League this weekend with a fantastic 3-1 win over Swansea City and Pogba, Rooney and Ibrahimovic all played a significant part. George Friend meanwhile was excellent defensively against Manchester City and also assisted de Roon’s late goal to draw Boro level. West Brom secured a surprise win over Leicester City in which Matty Phillips was at the heart of everything good for Tony Pulis’ side, while Sean Dyche’s Burnley also secured a surprise 3-2 win over Crystal Palace with Sam Vokes popping up with an impressive goal and assist. Lastly Robert Snodgrass and Victor Anichebe each played a massive role in their sides’ first win in the Premier League in ages.
Player of the Week: Eden Hazard
Although it was an incredibly close call as all of Chelsea’s players were absolutely immense in their 5-0 win over Everton, the one that stood out from the rest was Eden Hazard. His movement around the pitch, ability on the ball and class in front of net were second to none on Saturday and he was just far too much for Everton to cope with, running riot and scoring two of Chelsea’s five goals. Eden Hazard deservedly wins his first Player of the Week award this season and is now starting to make claims as one of the very best footballers on this planet again.
Manager of the Week: Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte might just be the best manager in the Premier League. Chelsea are flying high right now and with the way his players are going at the moment, the sky is the limit for his side. Chelsea’s 5-0 win over Everton was the best performance from any side so far in the Premier League as the Blues completely beat and and battered the Toffees, never even really allowing them any time in Chelsea’s defensive third. The Blues kept almost all of the possession of the ball, and every single time they lost it they would win it back immediately due to Antonio Conte’s setup and mindset that he has in instilled in every single one of his players. The Italian manager just knows how to get the best out of his players and make them full confidence and players like Eden Hazard, Pedro Rodriguez, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso are all in the form of their lives at the moment just to name a few. What he has done with the front three players in Pedro, Hazard and Costa in particular has been incredible, giving them the freedom to go on and play and roam around the pitch, not forcing them to stay in their normal positions. The Blues just ran circles around the Toffees and could have won this match by a score of eight or nine nil. They were just that good and Antonio Conte is just that good at the moment, winning his third manager of the week award in a row. Antonio Conte is the best manager in the league and is The Mastermind‘s Manager of the Week yet again.
So there it is! The Team of the Week for Gameweek 11 in the English Premier League! Like what you read? Make sure to click the follow button, comment below and/or be back here this time next week for another fantastic edition of Team of the Week, right here on The Mastermind.