Premier League team of the week: Chelsea, Newcastle United and Liverpool stars included

first_img Right back: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) – The old beast is stirring. It’s unlikely he’ll ever be back to his uncompromising best, defensively, but he showed he’s still got a taste for a marauding run on Wednesday as he crossed for Cesar Azpilicueta to score the Blues’ first goal in a 2-2 draw with West Brom. 11 Striker: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) – The Brazilian hasn’t adapted quite as well as he would have hoped at Anfield but two goals against Arsenal in their 3-3 draw, including a breathtaking curler past Petr Cech, will have endeared him to the Kop. Right now he looks a better option than Christian Benteke to lead the Liverpool frontline under Jurgen Klopp. 11 Right wing: Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United) – If the Dutchman can become consistent he’ll be a big star in the Premier League. The midfielder is capable of brilliant things on the ball and rarely gives it away too. He grabbed a well-taken goal against Manchester United and impressed most observers. 11 Centre back: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) – The former Celtic defender was always going to take a little time to adapt to the Premier League. His display against the twin threat of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, though, was superb. The Dutchman won a staggering eight defensive headers, was successful with all six of his tackles and made six interceptions. Impressive. Striker: Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) – Forget the clichés about the ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker, just enjoy his hat-trick. The 33-year-old proved there is no substitute for class in a week where Bournemouth spent £10m on Benik Afobe and saw him squander two excellent opportunities. Sam Allardyce’s wisest move this season could be to rely on the English striker as he plots another great escape for the Black Cats. 11 Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (Everton) – Click the right arrow above to see who else made our team… – The American shot-stopper has got plenty of critics in the stands at Goodison Park but they will have to applaud him for a fine display against Manchester City, where he made five saves to deny to Premier League title challengers and helped his side to a 0-0 draw. Left wing: James McClean (West Brom) – The Baggies star is never far away from headlines, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. Against Chelsea he grabbed West Brom’s vital equaliser with a snapshot from the edge of the box. Central midfield: N’golo Kante (Leicester City) – The Foxes are all about teamwork. In defence Huth and Morgan are putting in monstrous displays and it’s the same in midfield. Kante and Drinkwater are putting in some incredible shifts, week-in and week-out, and the former gave Tottenham no end of problems at White Hart Lane. Like a pesky fly you just can’t swat, Kante was a constant menace. Although, his tireless running can also make him look foolish, with Kyle Walker leading him on a merry dance before plonking him on his backside. Cut that out and it won’t be long before someone comes in with a big offer for him. 11 11 11 Centre back: Robert Huth (Leicester City) – It wasn’t quite the rope-a-dope, smash and grab victory some believe, but Robert Huth and partner Wes Morgan were in sensational form against Tottenham Hotspur. The wily Foxes duo are powerful presences and Harry Kane was left frustrated by them. The German’s goal was the icing on the cake as Claudio Ranieri’s title challengers continue to confound the non-believers. Left back: Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) – Another player getting back to the levels he had shown previously is this Dutch star. He seemed to have lost his way after showing some promise last season but has gradually improved and he showed his potential against Swansea, scoring an excellent, if deflected, goal and doing his defensive duties well too. 11 It’s got to the stage where a round of games without a shock is the only thing that surprises us in the Premier League.We expected a goalfest at the Etihad, but Manchester City drew 0-0 with Everton, while Joe Allen’s cult status grew with a late equaliser as Liverpool against Arsenal ended 3-3.Leicester City’s title tilt continued with a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, and just when it looked like Chelsea would get another win, they managed to let in a James McClean goal and draw 2-2 with West Brom.But who were the standout performers from the midweek games? talkSPORT takes a look.Click the right arrow above to see who made our Premier League XI… 11 11 11 Central midfield: Dimitri Payet (West Ham) – When the Frenchman plays, West Ham play. Payet is capable of turning any game on its head with a beautiful pass or an exceptionally executed set-piece. Against Bournemouth, his in-off-the-bar free-kick was a peach and his skilful assist for Enner Valencia had the away fans purring. last_img read more