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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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Premier League team of the week as Arsenal stars past and present feature

Match-week six of the Premier League had just about everything fans have grown to love about the division, with drama at every turn.

All three of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea leapfrogged Manchester United – who had started the weekend as table toppers, but finish it fourth after their shock defeat at home to Aston Villa.

Arsenal also overtook fierce local rivals Tottenham Hotspur after they made light work of their neighbours under the sunshine at the Emirates, three goals in the opening 35 minutes enough to see of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side despite a late Son Heung-Min consolation strike.

Brentford took points off of yet another member of the ‘big six’ as they fought back from losing positions twice to hold Liverpool to a 3-3 draw, while West Ham continued their stellar start to the campaign with a late win away at Leeds.

Wolves piled further misery on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton side who are winless in six – the same record as Steve Bruce’s Newcastle, who were held to a 1-1 draw with newly promoted Watford.

Burnely can consider themselves unfortunate not to have come away from the King Power stadium with more than a point, Chris Wood’s late winner chalked off after a VAR review to leave the scores level at 2-2.

With that being said, Mirror Football selects the Premier League Team of the Week for matchweek six.

Emiliano Martinez

Emiliano Martinez kept a clean sheet away at Manchester United (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images) The Argentine shot-stopper has already established himself as somewhat of a master of the mind games after his Copa America shootout heroics, but they were on display once again as Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take a stoppage time penalty.

Footage that went viral after the game saw Martinez try and psych Fernandes out by telling his Portuguese counterpart Cristiano Ronaldo that he should take it instead.

Usually so reliable from 12 yards, Fernandes may have been intimidated by Martinez’s huge presence between the sticks and fired his effort well over the crossbar.

This prompted Martinez to pick himself up off the turf and produce a little dance in the direction of the Old Trafford faithful, only worsening the mood around the ground – apart from the away end, who he only endeared himself to further.

Takehiro Tomiyasu

Takehiro Tomiyasu handled everything that he was faced with against Spurs (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) A relatively understated signing from Arsenal on deadline day, the Japanese international’s arrival hardly sparked huge excitement from Gunners or neutral’s alike.

However, the 22-year-old is yet to put a foot wrong in his three appearances in Arsenal colours – his display against Tottenham his finest hour thus far.

The former Bologna defender quelled the threat of Son for much of the game, while winning just about every aerial duel that came his way.

For a relatively meagre fee of £16m, Tomiyasu could well go on to be one of the signings of the summer if he continues in this vein of form.

Conor Coady

Conor Coady helped Wolves keep a clean sheet away at Southampton (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images) Rarely does Coady ever have a bad game, the Wolves skipper was at his absolute best to provide Bruno Lage with his second win of the season away at Southampton.

The 28-year-old marshalled his fellow defenders throughout the contest while ensuring the likes of Che Adams, Adam Armstrong and Nathan Redmon barely had a sniff.

His masterful display at the back comes at a time when his side were desperately crying out for a win with pressure already mounting on the new boss after just six games.

Kortney Hause

Kortney Hause wheels way after scoring Aston Villa’s late winner (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) The second Aston Villa inclusion, it would be difficult to leave out the man responsible for Villa’s first win over Manchester United since 2009.

Hause picked an exceptional time to notch a rare goal, as his glancing header flashed past David de Gea before the Spaniard could do anything about it.

The 26-year-old very nearly went from hero to zero in a matter of minutes as he was the guilty party in giving the penalty away, but he has his goalkeeper’s mind games to thank for bailing him out.

A clean sheet up against the likes of Ronaldo, Fernandes and co. is no easy feat, but Hause looked calm and composed throughout.

Joao Cancelo

Joao Cancelo was deployed as a left-back against Chelsea (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) After a number of seasons spent without a truly world class left-back, the decision to deploy Cancelo – traditionally a right-sided defender, on the left for a game of such magnitude was bold to say the least from Pep Guardiola.

Boasting a level of technical prowess most midfielders could only dream of, Cancelo was scarcely required to do much defensive work, such was the nature of City’s dominance over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The hype surrounding Cancelo fizzled out to an extent after he was ruled out of Euro 2020, but the 27-year-old could go on to be tinkered with in a similar style to Philipp Lahm from Guardiola’s time at Bayern Munich.

Vitaly Janelt

Vitaly Janelt nodded home Brentford’s second goal ( Image:

Action Images via Reuters) Under the watchful eye of his national team boss Hansi Flick, Janelt put in a fantastic performance against a Liverpool side that never fail to pose a threat.

Brentford took the lead early on, before two goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah flipped the tie on it’s head.

Enter Janelt, who was the quickest in the box to react to the stray ball – nodding home with just enough power to get it over the line before Trent Alexander-Arnold could clear it in vain.

Coming up against the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, Janelt looked every inch the Premier League midfielder.

Declan Rice

Declan Rice provided the crucial assist for West Ham’s winner. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) Saying goodbye to Mark Noble come the end of the season will be a tad easier for Hammers fans knowing Rice has gone on to make the midfield anchor role his own.

His ability to take the ball on the half-turn and turn to defence into attack has come on leaps and bounds from when he was first introduced to the first team and that was on show at Elland Road.

The England international played the key pass in the late victory, registering an assist for Michail Antonio’s stoppage time winner.

A right-footed pass into the middle of the final third, the ball took out a number of Leeds players before Antonio did the rest.

Andros Townsend

Andros Townsend has undoubtedly impressed boss Rafa Benitez (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images) Andros Townsend scored his fourth Everton goal against Norwich ( Image:

Everton FC via Getty Images) Eyebrows were raised when Everton snapped up the former England international on a free after he was deemed surplus to requirements at Crystal Palace, but Townsend is going some way to prove the doubters wrong.

Four goals and three assists in his opening nine games across all competitions has quickly endeared himself to the Goodison Park supporters, his most recent coming from the penalty spot at home to Watford.

With a pass success rate of 87%, Townsend was reliable in possession while also a constant thorn in the side of a Norwich team that look in total disarray.

Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard pulled the strings in the North London derby (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images) The former Real Madrid man arguably enjoyed his best display in the Premier League since he first arrived on these shores on loan from Los Blancos in January.

Delivering a North London derby display reminiscent of former Gunner Aaron Ramsey, Odegaard covered every blade of grass in a bid to be inventive and create further openings in a stretched Spurs defence.

A constant presence without a goal contribution, Odegaard linked up well with Bukayo Saka for Arsenal’s first.

If the Norwegian is to keep up this kind of standard, his £30m fee will go on to look like an absolute steal – the 22-year-old’s ceiling clearly higher than many at the Santiago Bernabeu first thought.

Emile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe opened the scoring for Arsenal against Spurs (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) Who was player of the week? Have your say here.

The third and final Gunner in this list, Smith Rowe is a fantastic advert for Arsenal’s Hale End academy – registering a goal and an assist in what the attacking midfielder himself dubbed ‘the best day’ of his life.

While his finish to open the scoring was impressive, the run and cut-back to provide Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with the game’s second was arguably even better.

Spurs could barely deal with the England U-21 international all afternoon, before he was eventually replaced by Nuno Tavares late on.

At just 20 years of age, Smith Rowe is already one of the most important players in this Arsenal side – adding goals to his game could transform into one of the best attacking midfielder’s in the league.

Raul Jimenez

Raul Jimenez scored the only goal of the game at St Mary’s (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images) While both Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy can consider themselves unfortunate not to be named in this side, the striking role belongs to Jimenez this week for the story alone.

The Mexican international fractured his skull at the tail-end of last year in an away game at Arsenal after a clash of heads with David Luiz, sparking fears he may never play again.

However, less than a year later the Molineux favourite is back in the thick of things – his protective head gear a reminder of the obstacle he has had to overcome.

Wolves supporters would have undoubtedly preferred this moment to come at home, but St Mary’s instead provided the backdrop for the Mexican’s first goal since his injury – and what a goal it was.

Weaving in and out, Jimenez left Jan Bednarek in a pile on the floor after outmuscling him before fooling the defender with a delightful fake shot, before finishing beyond the onrushing Alex McCarthy to hand Wolves all three points.

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