Premier League Gameweek 9: Team of the week
Centre back: DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
Newly promoted Newcastle United have enjoyed a resurgence under Rafael Benitez after returning to the top flight as they now find themselves sitting in 7th place, six points off the relegation zone.
On Saturday, the Toons took on relegation candidates Crystal Palace - who were on the back of an impressive 2-1 victory over Chelsea. Thus, they were expecting to build on that performance and beat Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena.
However, Newcastle decided to sit back and hit Palace on the counter. Defensively they seemed well assured as their opponents failed to register a single shot on target. Their right back DeAndre Yedlin put in a terrific shift in both thirds of the pitch, and was one of the best players of the game.
The American defender was constantly pestered by the likes of Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt, but he appeared unfazed and seemed to deal with anything that came his way.
Centre back: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)
The Cityzens raced to a 3-0 victory over Burnley and in many ways, it was a complete performance by the entire side. The forward players did their bit trying their luck at goal, while the defenders kept it tight at the back and ended the game with a clean sheet.
However, Nicolas Otamendi put in a shift in both boxes. The Argentine has enjoyed life under Pep Guardiola this season, and seems to have a new found confidence in his abilities. It was evident in his standout performance against the Clarets on Saturday.
He won every aerial duel he was involved in, eliminating the option for Burnley to play direct. He was an assured figure on the ball as he completed 98 of the 103 passes he attempted. And, to cap it all off, he bagged a goal to show for his efforts. This was undoubtedly the Argentine's best performance of the season.
Centre back: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)
The Saints scraped through the finishing line with a 1-0 win over West Brom at St Mary's on Saturday. In what was a drab encounter between two mid-table clubs, it was the contribution of the defenders that stood out on the evening.
Unlike Southampton, West Brom did not look threatening in front of the opposition goal, but that was due to the presence of a certain Dutch defender at the heart of the Saints defence. With all that has been going on about his future, Virgil van Dijk paid no heed to it, and carried out his duties to near perfection.
Van Dijk was constantly an aerial threat, particularly in the West Brom penalty area during attacking set pieces. Whenever called on to win a last-ditch challenge or win a 50-50 ball, the Dutchman was up to the task, and was Southampton's best defender on the day.