Premier League Team of the Week: Rampant Robin van Persie leads the line

Debutants Antonio Luna, Simon Mignolet, Fernandinho and Kolo Toure all feature after an exhilarating first weekend of action in England’s top flight

Antonio Luna is the only Premier League newcomer to make it into our first team of the week thanks to his breakaway third goal at Arsenal on Saturday in Aston Villa’s unexpected 3-1 win.

Luna, who played in his natural left-back role, was heavily involved in proceedings as Villa predictably had to soak up pressure from the hosts. But the Spaniard, signed from Sevilla, hared forward from an Arsenal corner, bore down on goal and slotted calmly past Wojciech Szczesny to secure the points, and a 3.5 rating for himself.

Gabriel Agbonlahor also had an exemplary game – one that Paul Lambert hailed as one of the best performances he had overseen. The striker created the first goal by powering past a flimsy defence and drawing Szczesny into the foul to concede a penalty, before sucking Laurent Koscielny into another foul inside the box after the interval. Arsenal had little answer to the forward’s electric pace and direct running, which earned him a 4 in our ratings.

In the early kick-off Liverpool secured an opening day victory over Stoke, thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s fine first half strike. The 23-year-old looked lively throughout, linking well with Philippe Coutinho and Iago Aspas, but the goal was his own making as he drilled through Robert Huth’s legs and past a sprawling Asmir Begovic. The England striker picked up a 4 in our ratings to earn a place in the Team of the Week.

Liverpool’s victory looked in doubt with just a few minutes remaining, though, as Daniel Agger conceded a penalty with a clumsy handball. Simon Mignolet (4) had other ideas though, parrying Jonathan Walters’ penalty to his right, before engulfing the Kenwyne Jones’ follow-up.
While Agger had an up and down game, his new defensive partner Kolo Toure (3.5) looked assured throughout. The veteran read the game well, and passed confidently, as well as hitting the crossbar with a powerful header.

The Premier League champions were also in action on Saturday and it proved to be a pleasing start for David Moyes as his Manchester United side ran out 4-1 winners at Swansea. The result was in no small part thanks to a fabulous brace from Robin van Persie (4) – a seven-time TOTW entrant in 2012-13 – who brilliantly volleyed past Michel Vorm in the first half, before dribbling past Ashley s and rifling a shot into the roof of the net after the break.

At Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Chelsea delivered a fine first-half performance, powering into a 2-0 lead courtesy of some inventive passing and an intense pace to the game. Oscar (4) got the Blues underway, ghosting into the box and toe-poking Kevin De Bruyne’s pass under Allan McGregor.

But it was Frank Lampard (4) who provided the enduring image of the game as he powered a 35-yard free kick into McGregor’s top corner – more than making up for his earlier missed penalty. Lampard only made TOTW twice last year, giving him a fine platform to better that record this time around.
West Ham eased past Cardiff at Upton Park and it was Joe Cole (4) who got the Hammers ticking, spinning on Matt Jarvis’ cutback to fire low into the bottom right corner.

At Carrow Road, Norwich and Everton played out an entertaining 2-2 draw, finally decided by the head of Ricky van Wolfswinkel. But it was Seamus Coleman (3.5) who gave the standout performance, laying on the pass for Ross Barkley’s equaliser, before arriving late in the six-yard box to fire home the Toffees’ second.

And finally on Monday night, Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City cruised past a lacklustre Newcastle 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium. The goals were spread around and although Fernandinho (4) didn’t grab the glory of netting past Tim Krul, he earned numerous admirers for a complete performance in the middle of the park. The £30 million man looks at home already.

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