Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday
11:45 AM UTC
Game Details
 By Tom Sweetman

Salah, Cech, Loftus-Cheek and Austin 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.

ESPN FC's Premier League Team of the Weekend.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

To kick us off, it's Cech who takes his place in between the sticks. While Alexis Sanchez's late winner for Arsenal at Burnley will grab all the headlines, it was Cech's fine work in the first half -- denying Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady -- that built the foundation for victory. "Those early saves guaranteed the three points," Steve Nicol says, with Paul Mariner impressed by Cech's "commanding of his area and good handling."

Centre-back: Andreas Christensen

Next up is a player whose recent performances have kept David Luiz twiddling his thumbs on the sidelines. Christensen turned in another mature display for the Premier League champions in their 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday. "Despite the pressure, the 21-year-old makes it look easy," says Nicol, while Mariner feels the youngster is "getting better and better with every game for Chelsea."

Centre-back: Mamadou Sakho

Our panel have been in full agreement with their picks so far and that continues with the unanimous selection of Sakho. The ex-Liverpool man was his usual rock at the back for Crystal Palace, helping to keep Stoke's attackers quiet for the most part, but more importantly he popped up at the death with the winner that makes the club's spot at the bottom of the table suddenly seem a little less precarious. "He defended well and came up with the winner," Mariner notes, with Nicol marvelling at Sakho's "last-minute drama."

Centre-back: Cesar Azpilicueta

Completing our three-man defence is Azpilicueta who, alongside Christensen, played his part as Chelsea claimed a point at Liverpool. Nicol's pick of Brighton's Shane Duffy deserves a special mention after his brave display at Manchester United, but Azpilicueta gets the nod following a performance that included several key interceptions and an excellent block on Daniel Sturridge. Mariner says: "He's the best one-on-one defender in the Premier League. He was simply outstanding at Anfield."

Left-wing: Marvin Zeegelaar

Watford kept up what has been a superb start to the season with a routine 3-0 victory at Newcastle, and key to securing those three points was Zeegelaar. On just his second appearance for the Hornets, Zeegelaar was a constant menace down the left to Rafa Benitez's side, teeing up Will Hughes for the opener and also forcing DeAndre Yedlin into an own goal for the second. "Magnificent on the left and worked tirelessly," was Mariner's assessment, while Nicol was left asking: "Where did he come from?"

Central midfield: Will Hughes

Another Watford man to make our XI this week is Hughes. Having been restricted to just a handful of minutes in the Premier League before last week, Hughes now has two goals in two games, with his latest a delightful finish that set Marco Silva's side on their way to victory at St James's Park. "He's got a lovely left peg," Nicol purrs, with Mariner stating the midfielder is "thriving in his new role with Watford."

Central midfield: Fernandinho

At half-time against Huddersfield, a shaken Manchester City looked like they could be in for their first defeat of the season -- yet 45 minutes later, it was business as usual. Vital to this turnaround was Fernandinho with a typical display that involved breaking up a number of opposition attacks before giving the ball to teammates better equipped to make a difference in the final third. "He's just the glue that keeps it all together for City," Nicol says, summing up the midfielder's performance perfectly.

Central midfield: Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Rounding off our central-midfield trio is a player who will be hoping November never ends. If turning in a man-of-the-match display on his England debut wasn't quite enough for Loftus-Cheek, he's now landed a slot in our XI after opening his Crystal Palace account in their crucial victory over Stoke. "He's now scoring and looking a very good player with the run of games he is getting," Mariner says, with Nicol adding: "It was a cheeky goal from Cheek."

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring for Liverpool.
Mo Salah has been a revelation at Liverpool.

Right wing: Mohamed Salah

Lining up on the right of our team is man who needs no introduction after his lightning start to life at Liverpool. Salah's strike against former club Chelsea on Saturday took him up to 15 goals for the season -- and it's only November -- while he was constantly looking to pose Antonio Conte's side problems throughout. "He just gets better and better," states Nicol, with Mariner adding: "Salah looks like he is loving life at Anfield, another electric performance."

Striker: Salomon Rondon

The first of our two classic strikers to make the XI is Rondon following his goal-scoring heroics for struggling West Brom at Wembley. Rondon's fourth-minute opener stunned Tottenham and their supporters, while his all-round game caused Spurs just as many problems. Mariner was impressed by his "superb hold-up play, strength and power, as well as a great finish for the goal." Nicol adds: "He's just an old-fashioned centre-forward."

Striker: Charlie Austin

Partnering Rondon up top is another striker in a similar mould. Austin was a thorn in the side of Everton's defence at St Mary's on Sunday and he assured himself of a place in our XI with a wonderful pair of second-half headers as he made his starting return in Southampton's 4-1 rout. "Two great headers but Austin could have had five today," Mariner notes, while Nicol was left pondering: "If only he could stay fit for Southampton?"

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Mariner's pick of Marco Silva could well have been in our dugout this week but for the gritty late turnaround by Manchester City. With 10 minutes left at Huddersfield, and the scores level at 1-1, Guardiola threw caution to the wind by throwing on Gabriel Jesus for Vincent Kompany. Four minutes later and it was Gabriel's rebounded shot that sparked Raheem Sterling's winner as City overcame one of the toughest tests of their season so far. "Taking a defender off and putting on a striker takes some guts, but Pep pulled it off," says Nicol. "Manager of the week for me."

Tom is a freelance sports journalist. Follow him @Tom_Sweetman


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