GW1: Roland’s EPL team of the week

English Premier League roared to life last Saturday, with the Gunners playing the first match of the 20/21 season. A total of 23 goals were scored in all the 8 matches that were played in GW1. A few teams did not participate in GW1 – all Manchester teams, Burnley and Aston Villa. In this piece, I am going to give you my teams of the week. I am going to pick the players and place them in a 3-4-3 formation.

This is how it looks like:

GK – Guaita (Crystal Palace)
Guaita had a good game against Southampton. A clean sheet, 5 saves, game influence and command made me pick him over Pickford who also had 5 saves.
The visiting team fought hard in the second half for a response, with Nathan Redmond denied by Guaita before the Palace goalkeeper brilliantly saved Che Adams’ volley on 53 minutes. Guaita then denied Danny Ings a stoppage-time equaliser as Palace held on for their first home win in an opening match of a Premier League season.

DEF – Gabriel (Arsenal)
Playing in the middle of a back three, Gabriel’s physical presence snuffed out the threat posed by Kamara as he swept across to cover openings left and right. Gabriel had more touches of the ball (121), attempted more passes (113), and completed more passes (107) than anybody else – on his debut in English football. His use of the ball was tidy throughout and his composure provided assurance to his team-mates. Add to that, he also scored on his debut. I would be made to not include him in the TOTW.

DEF – Saiss (Wolves)
Sheffield United had a sluggish backline when they faced the Wolves. Saiss scored 3 minutes later after Jiminez opened his goal-scoring account for the season when he met Pedro Neto’s corner with a powerful header past a diving Ramsdale. Wolves almost put the game to bed when Saiss nearly doubled his tally, forcing a brilliant save from Ramsdale. Saiss had a good game offensively and defensively. Easy pick for me.

DEF – Reece James (Chelsea)
That screamer guys, that screamer. Brighton was handed a lifeline early into the second half as Trossard’s dipping and powerful shot from outside of the box beat the under-fire Kepa.
James stepped up only minutes later to restore Chelsea’s advantage with a sensational strike from outside of the box. You can see it for yourself below:

James had a decent game. I pick him because of his offensive prowess.

MID – Willian (Arsenal)
Willian impressed on his Gunners’ debut, displaying a man of the match performance with a hattrick of assists in the bag (although one was later removed from him). Even if you take away that treble of assists, though, Willian looked like a class above the rest and showed exactly why he was rated as Chelsea’s best player last season. An easy pick for me for the right side of the midfield 4 in my formation.

MID – Salah (Liverpool)
Liverpool against Leeds was arguably the best and most entertaining game for GW1 – a 7-goal thriller. Two of Salah’s goals came from the penalty spot with his hat-trick strike coming late in the game at Anfield. Normal service from the Egyptian. Another easy pick.

MID – Hendrick (Newcastle)
Hendrik had a good debut against the Hammers, scoring 1 goal and assisting 1. Wilson prodded in Hendrick’s flick-on to open the scoring, while the Republic of Ireland midfielder, who joined on a free transfer, sealed the victory with a late effort into the top-left corner.

MID – Aubameyang (Arsenal)
The Arsenal captain resumed his normal service by scoring a sublime strike to beat Rodak at Craven Cottage. The assist, of course, came from the Arsenal new boy, who switched the ball from the right to Auba, after a was beautiful build-up play from the back by the Gunners. I also liked the combination off-the-ball that Aubamayeng had with Maitland-Niles. It caused confusion for the Fulham defense.

FWD – Vardy (Leicester)
Jamie Vardy scored a second-half penalty double as Leicester condemned West Brom to a disappointing return to the Premier League. The Leicester striker equals Ruud van Nistelrooy’s scoring mark on the road as Foxes also match-winning milestone away from home. Highest scoring forward of the week – easy pick for me even if the goals came from the penalty spot.

FW – Wilson (Newcastle)
The debutants were on fire in GW1. Westham still has not signed a commanding centre-back and remain frail in both full-back positions, it’s no surprise that Wilson found the back of the net from a cross. I see Wilson scoring a couple for the Magpies this season.

FW – Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
A second-half header goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin fired Everton to a well-deserved 1-0 win at Tottenham on Sunday. He rose to a header off a fantastic set-piece cross from Lucas Digne and put it past Hugo Lloris with pace. Having James Rodriguez and Richarlison will only help Calvert-Lewin this season to score a couple of goals for Everton.

That’s it for my team of the week. I hope I will be consistent to write every game week. What are your thoughts about my team? Feel free to disagree with me in the comments section below.


Roland Tony


Trying to elevate small talk to medium talk.