Following Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday, four players from Arsene Wenger’s side make their way into our Team of the Week, while six players enter our XI for the first time this season.
Among the debutants is Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor (3.5), who kept a clean sheet as Steve Bruce’s men coasted to a 4-0 win over Cardiff City.
The first of our Arsenal players who make the side this week is right-back Bacary Sagna (4), who received a glowing review from Ewan Roberts at the Emirates Stadium: “Played like a winger, bombing forward at every opportunity and stretching the play. His energetic overlaps were a constant nuisance for Sunderland, forcing them backwards. Defended well, even when moved to left-back and then centre-back. Arsenal simply must persuade him to renew his expiring deal.”
Two players on opposing teams at Stamford Bridge make up our partnership in central defence as Chelsea’s John Terry (4) and Everton’s Sylvain Distin (4) get the nod with their commanding displays.
Manchester United took their clean sheet tally to three in their last six league games following a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday. Patrice Evra (4) had an impressive game at left-back and makes our Team of the Week for the first time this season.
In midfield, we select a three-man system that is made up of two more debutants.
Arsenal duo Jack Wilshere (4) and Tomas Rosicky (4) played a crucial role in Arsenal’s comfortable win over Gus Poyet’s side, while the Czech Republic international makes it into our Team of the Week for the first time this term.
The final midfield place is awarded to Team of the Week newcomer Kevin Nolan (4), who took his goal tally to four from his last five matches after finding the net in West Ham’s 3-1 win over Southampton on Saturday.
Our attack this week is made up of two familiar faces as well as one debutant.
Nikica Jelavic (4) makes the cut for the first time this term as his double and influential performance was pivotal in Hull’s rout at Cardiff.
And the Croatian is partnered with a Team of the Week regular Daniel Sturridge (4), who also struck twice as Liverpool edged a 4-3 win over Swansea City on Sunday.
The England international also became the second player after Ruud van Nistelrooy to score in eight consecutive Premier League games. Sturridge will now be eyeing the Dutchman’s record of 10 matches in a row – an achievement which could be equalled against Manchester United on March 16.
Our final place in attack is given to the star man this week. Olivier Giroud (4.5) gave the perfect response to being dropped for Arsenal’s last two matches with a two-goal haul inside the opening 31 minutes at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
“I had no hesitation about his strength of character,” said Wenger. “Of course you want him to come back into the team and be successful, which he was today because he scored two goals.”