Mustafi, Ozil, Wenger, Hazard and Morata make Team of the Weekend
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Our panel of experts carefully selects 11 star performers along with a manager.
Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section at the foot of the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #ESPNFCTOTW.
Goalkeeper: David Moyes saw his West Ham reign start with defeat at Watford, but he may reflect that things could have been different had it not been for home keeper Heurelho Gomes. With the Hornets 1-0 up, Gomes made a close-range stop to thwart Cheikhou Kouyate before surpassing that with a stunning double save that left Marko Arnautovic shaking his head. "Amazing saves to keep Watford in front," says Paul Mariner, while Steve Nicol credits Gomes with building the platform for Watford to add their clinching second goal.
Defence: The phrases "rock solid" and "Arsenal defence" haven't always gone together this season but, in a commanding North London derby showing, they did. Nobody was more commanding than Shkodran Mustafi, who headed the opening goal and helped ensure a rare anonymous afternoon for Harry Kane. "Comes back from injury, shuts down Kane and wins the derby. Not a bad day's work," says Gab Marcotti, while Mariner hails "one of his best Arsenal games" and Nicol adds: "It makes you wonder why they were going to sell him."
Defence: Mustfi wasn't alone in producing his best in the Arsenal back line, with Laurent Koscielny, captain in the absence of Per Mertesacker, leading with aplomb in a display that saw his superb reading of the game to the fore. From the word go, Spurs found it tough to discover gaps to exploit as Koscielny & Co. kept things tight. "A colossus at the back, he organised the players around him and his 300th game for the club was a massive one," is Mariner's glowing assessment.
Defence: On the face of it, a 4-0 home win over Huddersfield might suggest Bournemouth's defence had an easy time of it. That wasn't the case, however, with the Cherries down to 10 men for half the match following the dismissal of Simon Francis. But Huddersfield hopes of a recovery foundered time and again thanks to the imperious work of Nathan Ake, who produced a defensive masterclass. "The Terriers huffed and puffed but got nothing at Ake's end of the pitch, even with a man advantage," says Marcotti.
Right midfield: Every time Liverpool's Mohamed Salah produces a tremendous display you wonder how he'll top it -- but he keeps on doing so. One of the signings of the summer was at it again against Southampton, sparking his team with a brilliant curler from distance, adding another and generally leading the visitors to a merry dance. Nicol says: "The Premier League's top scorer -- and who would have thought that?" Mariner purrs: "Staggering goals," while Marcotti saw Salah "unleash" his range of skills on the Saints.
Centre midfield: Manchester United's performance against Newcastle at Old Trafford, which fizzed with speed and menace, hinged on the return of Paul Pogba from his long injury layoff -- and it felt as though Pogba had never been away. His incisive passing, both long and short, made all the difference to United and he chipped in with a goal, too. "You can see the difference when he plays," says Nicol, while Marcotti adds: "Returns with a bang" and Mariner notes how comfortable the France international was on his comeback.
Centre midfield: During his days at Derby Will Hughes was hailed as one for the future, with the feeling being that it was a matter of time before he impressed in the Premier League. Watford gave him the platform to do just that and he showed why against the Hammers, scoring with a sharp finish, creating the second and using the ball with intelligence and poise. "What a great left peg," says the admiring Nicol, while Marcotti feels Hughes "showed everyone why he was once one of the most touted youngsters in the English game."
Centre midfield: Although questions have been asked about Mesut Ozil at times this season, none were to be found when Spurs came to town. The Germany star was at his best, selecting some gems from his range of probing passes, making lots of darting runs behind an uncharacteristically uneasy Spurs defence and not giving his midfield opponents a moment of peace. "One of those games that reminds you just why he's so special on his day," is Marcotti's view, while Nicol is impressed by Ozil's tireless contribution.
Left midfield: The last thing a demoralised West Brom side would have wanted to deal with was an in-form Eden Hazard -- but, unfortunately for them, that's what they got. Hazard is unstoppable when he plays as he did at The Hawthorns, a dynamic mixture of dazzling runs, shrewd passes and deadly finishing. He had West Brom in a daze, scoring twice, making another and popping up here, there and everywhere. "Brilliant," says Nicol, while Mariner calls Hazard "unplayable on this form."
Forward: Things haven't been easy for Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, who has spent nine months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage. But Wilson is back -- and don't Huddersfield know it after being swept aside by his hat trick, with two opportunist first-half goals added to by a cool third late on. "The first English player to score a hat trick this season, and a reminder of what might have been if not for his injuries," notes Marcotti, while Mariner enjoys the way Wilson "ran riot."
Forward: If West Brom were led a merry dance by Hazard, they were given an equally difficult time by Alvaro Morata as Chelsea's glut of guile gave them far too many problems to deal with. Morata linked exceptionally well with Hazard throughout, following up his saved shot to open the scoring and providing a fabulous flicked assist from which the Belgium international struck. Mariner is left drooling over that "amazing" piece of skill, while Nicol is content to admire Morata's fine all-round performance.
Manager: Tottenham are changing the balance of power in North London, some said. Arsene Wenger wasn't standing for that idea and inspired Arsenal to produce a terrific showing in a derby that was even more pressured than usual. Their controlled aggression, team discipline and attacking threat were all outstanding -- no wonder Wenger was a proud man at the end. "Rumours of his demise were evidently a bit premature," says Marcotti, while Mariner adds: "Got his team selection right, his tactics right and his players fired up," and Nicol also gives his vote to the Frenchman.