Five-a-side TOTW: October 25th 2016

Picking an eleven is hard; picking just five is even harder.

Just 19 goals in the Premier League this weekend. Best viewing was at Stamford Bridge as Jose Mourinho endured a dismal Chelsea return as his Manchester United side slumped to a four-nil defeat. Chelsea’s win means that the top five teams are now separated by just one solitary point.

Goalkeeper – Tom Heaton

He didn’t keep a clean sheet, but the ex-Manchester United youth had a fine game as Burnley claimed their third win of the season. Heaton made a couple of excellent saves to keep his team in it during the early exchanges, and again when the scores were tied at one-all. If Burnley are going to stay up this season then Heaton will have to turn in many similarly high class performances.

The Stopper – Winston Reid

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has changed to a back three in recent weeks, and Reid looks to be thriving at the heart of the defence. Last week he made it into our 5TOTW due to his rock solid performance as West Ham won at Crystal Palace. This week he was once again imperious defensively, but also the match winner at the other end. However, his brilliant stoppage time turn and shot had more than a hint of fortune about it as Manuel Lanzini looked to be standing offside and within Jordan Pickford’s line of vision when the ball was struck. Nevertheless, Reid won’t care one bit, as his goal helped West Ham record back-to-back victories for the first time this season.

The Ball Winner – N’Golo Kanté

Once again the diminutive Frenchmen was absolutely sensational. He, like Reid, makes our team for the second week in a row. Last week we accused him of missing a guilt edged opportunity; this time around he would make no mistake. His goal was the final nail in the Manchester United coffin, and didn’t he just take it brilliantly? Ghosting past the Manchester United midfield, he then effortlessly turned United defender Chris Smalling inside-out before drilling a smart finish beyond the despairing David De Gea. Clearly a popular scorer, his goal was wildly celebrated by Chelsea players and fans alike.

Free Role – Xherdan Shaqiri

This man has got a penchant for spectacular goals. Whilst neither of his two goals at Hull City quite lived up to the outrageous overhead kick he scored at Euro 2016, they are both more than likely to feature on October’s goal of the month shortlist. The first was a sensational strike from the edge of the area, the second, a sumptuous free-kick, wasn’t too bad either. Stoke have made a poor start to the season, with Shaqiri looking somewhat subdued and off the pace. However, if he can find some consistent form and turn in further high quality performances, they will almost certainly continue to climb the table.

The Runner – Shinji Okazaki

Leicester’s title success was always likely to mean they would invest heavily in their squad. Okazaki has sadly been a victim of this increased expenditure, seemingly falling behind club record signing, Islam Slimani, in the pecking order. Nevertheless, the Japan international is a fine player, and the archetypal team man. He should have capitalised on an early mistake by Crystal Palace goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, however his attempted chip flew well wide of the target. His goal did eventually come just after the hour mark as he seized on Damien Delaney’s clearance to drive home from just inside the area.

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