Five-a-side TOTW: August 23rd 2016

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

Manchester claims the top two spots and the promoted sides grab precious victories. Here’s our Five-a-side Team of The Week.

Goalkeeper – Tom Heaton

With Liverpool rolling the ball around and racking up 80% possession, Burnley’s Heaton couldn’t afford to let his guard down.  The Chester born goalkeeper looked comfortable throughout his side’s 2-0 victory, gathering crosses with ease and stopping all the on-target strikes Liverpool could muster. A good season back in the Premier League will almost certainly see Heaton take his place in the England squad and extra motivation comes in the form of Joe Hart’s shaky Euros and recent demotion at Manchester City.

The Ball Winner – Curtis Davies

Ridiculed pre-season for seemingly weakening their squad since promotion, Hull City have collected six points from two games and sit third in the table. A mishmash backline sees midfielder Jake Livermore start alongside Curtis Davies at centre-back yet they’ve resembled a cohesive pair for much of the opening fixtures. Davies has never looked to have the measure of the Premier League but has found consistency at Hull and was great this past Saturday against Swansea. His heading prowess won’t be utilized at five-a-side but he’d act as our defensive rock.

Playmaker – Steven Defour

Nine of Liverpool’s starting XI made more than 50 passes on Saturday whilst just three of Burnley’s attempted over 20 (Heaton made the most!). Instead, Burnley setup with two banks of four and were remarkably disciplined, completely negating their opponent’s threat. Many of Burnley’s squad were well-rehearsed in this department, but new man Steven Defour was asked to slip seamlessly into the system. He worked hard all game and also acted as the main link to the front two, playing through Andre Gray for Burnley’s second.

The Finisher – Christian Stuani

So Jordan Rhodes finally gets a chance to score goals in the Premier League and he finds himself behind an ardent Alvaro Negredo and a brace-grabbing Christian Stuani. Both starred on Saturday lunchtime with Stuani putting Boro ahead with a hammer of a strike inside the first twenty minutes. The former Espanyol striker could easily have found himself the one on the bench following promotion but two goals against rivals Sunderland – and a blossoming relationship with Negredo – will stand him in fine stead.

Free Role – Zlatan Ibrahimović

I’m not sure Ibrahimović has the mindset for five-a-side football but I’m certain he’d score goals. The big man has brought to the Premier League everything he promised and there are no signs of the shortfalls some people predicted.  He keeps scoring for United which will top up his already over-flowing confidence. There have been no signs of his ego causing problems and he looks to have given a boost to each of his teammates. He stuck two away vs. Southampton on Friday and suddenly breaking the 30-goal mark looks ominously possible*.

*I still don’t think he’ll get 20