Football Features

The best combined XI from Premier League gameweek eight

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:35, 7 October 2019

Eight gameweeks have now been played in the Premier League and we are starting to see growing trends being played out.

This latest round, before the upcoming international break, started with a bang as Brighton & Hove Albion poured more turmoil on Tottenham Hotspur with an emphatic 3-0 victory at the Amex.

Saturday’s other matches saw Liverpool maintain their 100% start with a 2-1 win over Leicester City, Burnley beat Everton 1-0, Aston Villa shocked Norwich with a 5-1 victory at Carrow Road, whilst Watford and Sheffield United played out a goalless draw before Crystal Palace left West Ham with a 2-1 win.

The weekend finished with Arsenal eking out a 1-0 win over Bournemouth, Chelsea registering a 4-1 success on the road at Southampton and both Manchester clubs suffering embarrassing losses.

Man City fell to an unbelievable 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves, handing Liverpool an eight-point lead at the top of the table and Newcastle inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Man Utd with question marks over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s growing ever more prominent.

Over 10 games, there were some standout performers. So, which players have made our Premier League best XI for gameweek eight?

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Goalkeeper: Rui Patricio (Wolves)

Rui Patricio must have been a tad nervous going into Sunday’s game at the Etihad when considering the last two Premier League goalkeepers to visit the champions – Ben Foster and Matt Ryan – conceded 12 between them. So, leaving with a clean sheet must be tantamount to a miracle.

The 31-year-old Portuguese international earned the shutout but only needed to make two saves, which must have frustrated Pep Guardiola who saw his side produce a toothless display in attack.

Key stat: Patricio is the first opposition goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet away to Manchester City since May 2018.

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Two days before turning 21, Trent Alexander-Arnold further demonstrated why he’s the foremost right-back in English football today. Against a buoyant Leicester City, the Liverpudlian was influential at both ends of the pitch as Jurgen Klopp’s men made it eight wins on the bounce to start the 2019/20 season.

Key stat: No right-back created more chances on matchday eight than Alexander-Arnold (5).

Centre-back: Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion)

It turned out to be a good time for Brighton & Hove Albion to play Tottenham Hotspur, but they still needed to be at their very best to record what turned out to be a stunning victory. Central to their efforts was leading central defender Lewis Dunk who did a fine job of keeping feared marksman Harry Kane quiet for much of the 90 minutes.

Key stat: Dunk made the most clearances (10) of any Brighton player against Spurs.

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Centre-back: David Luiz (Arsenal)

The jury is still out on David Luiz but he’s doing all he can to turn the tide of public opinion around to his favour. Since joining Arsenal the Brazilian centre-back has come under heavy criticism from supporters, notably for giving away needless penalties, but against Bournemouth his experience and leadership shone through. Not only did he score the winner in a 1-0 victory at the Emirates but, as manager Unai Emery noted after the game, Luiz set a clear example for the club’s younger teammates.

Key stat: 10 of David Luiz’s 12 Premier League goals have been scored in home matches.

Left-back: Jetro Willems (Newcastle United)

What a week it has been for Newcastle United, who left matchday seven having been humbled 5-0 at Leicester City, which strengthened the calls for manager Steve Bruce to be removed from office. They couldn’t have faced better opposition than struggling Man Utd at St. James’ Park and left-back Jetro Willems, on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, produced a super display. No one on Man Utd’s right flank could live with the Dutchman.

Key stat: Willems completed more take-ons than any defender on matchday eight (3).

Centre midfield: Matthew Longstaff (Newcastle United)

A debut to remember. Matthew, the younger of the Longstaff brothers, had previously represented the Magpies in the League Cup but this was a proud moment that culminated with him scoring the winning goal against Man Utd, a long-range effort that flew by David de Gea. Aside from the goal, he looked calm in possession and gave a good account of himself. Still just 19, he’s likely to be eased into regular full-time duty but on this evidence it’s his position to lose.

Key stat: Matthew Longstaff is the youngest player to score on his Premier League debut for Newcastle United (19 years and 199 days old).

Centre midfield: N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea)

N’Golo Kante was one of several Chelsea players that shone away to Southampton as they recorded a third consecutive Premier League away win. His inclusion stems from what he’s brilliant at, which is the retention of possession. The goal he scored on the stroke of half-time is just a bonus. Frank Lampard has spoken about the Frenchman’s importance to his side and a fully fit Kante is a manager’s dream.

Key stat: Kante completed five interceptions against Southampton, more than any other midfielder in matchday eight.

Centre midfield: Sean Longstaff (Newcastle United)

It’s not often two brothers appear together for the same team in the Premier League but Sunday afternoon was a proud moment in the Longstaff household. Sean, the better known of the two, had his thunder stolen by little bro, though he also put in a stellar performance against a jaded Red Devils side who – it must not be forgotten – he was heavily linked with in the summer.

Key stat: No midfielder created more chances on matchday eight than Sean Longstaff (4).

Attacking midfield: Adama Traore (Wolves)

Guardiola would most probably crossed paths with Adama Traore in the hallways of Barcelona during his time coaching at the Catalan giants, but he would have never dreamt of the former Barça academy graduate haunting him one day. But that is exactly what the Wolves forward did when he bagged a brace in their stunning 2-0 win at the Etihad. It was an exceptional performance that will no doubt boost his confidence, especially as he’s often been beaten with the inconsistent stick.

Key stat: Traore converted both his shots on goal against Manchester City.

Striker: Wesley (Aston Villa)

It still remains to be seen if Wesley can become a resounding success at Aston Villa but he’s putting up a good fight. Following his debut goal in a 2-0 win over Everton, he went two games without registering a strike, but has now scored three times in as many games. A brace against Norwich City could be a turning point for the Brazilian marksman.

Key stat: Wesley is the first Aston Villa player to score more than one goal in a Premier League game since Ashley Westwood in April 2016.

Striker: Aaron Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Having come off the bench to make sporadic cameos across Brighton’s last four Premier League outings, Aaron Connolly was handed a first start against Spurs and he repaid Graham Potter’s faith with a stunning double in an unbelievable 3-0 win over last season’s Champions League finalists.

Key stat: Connolly is the first teenager from the Republic of Ireland to score a Premier League brace since Robbie Keane in August 1999.