Premier League Team of the Week: Alli, Jorginho and Pogba feature

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Jorginho of Chelsea scores a penalty for his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Chelsea FC at John Smith's Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Jorginho of Chelsea scores a penalty for his team's second goal during the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Chelsea FC at John Smith's Stadium on August 11, 2018 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images) /

Premier League best XI for Week 1 of the 2018-19 season, featuring Paul Pogba, Dele Alli and Jorginho.

Central-midfield maestros were in exalted form during the opening weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season. Across Friday and Saturday, generals in the middle thrived for Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea.

All three made winning starts to the new campaign, each having the men in the middle to thank for three early points. United were inspired, for a rare time, by a supposedly discontent Pogba against Leicester on Friday.

Saturday began with Spurs leaning on Alli while Harry Kane continued to misfire in August. Later, Chelsea fans saw £57 million well spent when Jorginho passed Huddersfield into oblivion during a 3-0 win.

Liverpool and Manchester City answered the call on Sunday as pace at both ends of their squads carried them to comfortable wins over West Ham and Arsenal, respectively.

Find out who else makes the first team of the week of the new season:

Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey, Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace produced a classic smash-and-grab raid to leave Craven Cottage with a 2-0 win over big-spending Fulham. Pace on the break, particularly in wide areas, was crucial to the Palace plan, with both Jeffrey Schlupp and Wilfried Zaha getting on the scoresheet.

Yet the player who truly made the Eagles’ approach work was the man between the posts. Wayne Hennessey produced a goalkeeping masterclass to frustrate the home side.

Fulham moved the ball with typical fluency, intelligence and pace, particularly during the first half. The hosts’ enterprising approach play naturally yielded many chances, but no matter who the opportunity fell to, they couldn’t get past Hennessey.

He produced two notable saves, the second a point-blank marvel to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic. The stop highlighted the best features of Hennessey’s game.

He was quick and agile enough to get down on the deck and block the low shot. The 31-year-old was also smart enough to palm the effort away from goal instead of in front of him.

Hennessey always had potential, dating back to his breakthrough days with Wolves. Injuries and inconsistency stalled his development somewhat, but he has gotten better with experience and is now an elder statesman Palace can rely on.

Defender: Eric Bailly, Manchester United

Try as he might, United boss Jose Mourinho just couldn’t get a new center-back through the doors at Old Trafford before the summer transfer window slammed shut.

Fortunately for Mourinho and the Red Devils, they still have Eric Bailly available to keep the door closed in front of goal. The Ivory Coast powerhouse was in inspired form for the season opener against the Foxes.

Bailly blocked several shots from distance, bossed balls in the air and tracked runners superbly thanks to his impressive pace.

As ESPN FC’s Rob Dawson intimated, who needs a new center-back when you already have one this good?

Staying injury free and avoiding red cards must be Bailly’s objectives for the season. If he can, he’ll quickly remind United fans upset about an apparent lack of transfers the club actually signed a pretty special player two years ago.

Defender: Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham

Spurs kept Toby Alderweireld out of United’s clutches, but it was his fellow Belgium international who proved a rock for the Lilywhites up in the north east.

Jan Vertonghen led by example from the start against Newcastle. He opened the scoring on eight minutes by bravely heading in from close range.

The goal was merely the precursor for a formidable display of defending from the 31-year-old. Newcastle leveled through Joselu three minutes later, before Alli netted the winner in the 18th minute.

The fact there were no more goals was largely due to the way Vertonghen refused to yield any. He fought and won almost every contested ball in the air, denying the Magpies a direct route to goal.

Clever use of his experience was also obvious in the way Vertonghen anticipated danger, blocked off runs and intercepted low crosses. His steady assurance held things together at the back in the face of no-small amount of pressure from the home side.

Spurs didn’t dip into the transfer market, but Vertonghen offered a reminder of the enduring quality already in the squad.

Defender: Benjamin Mendy, Manchester City

Benjamin Mendy was injured for all but a month of last season. City still won the title at a canter, but it was obvious what they missed when the former Monaco star was laid low.

It was obvious after Mendy ran Arsenal ragged during City’s 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. The raiding left-back gave the Citizens extra width and kept Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Hector Bellerin on their heels.

Mendy didn’t just tirelessly make runs forward. He also proved there’s an end product to his game by teeing up both of City’s goals, finding Raheem Sterling first, before laying the ball off for Bernardo Silva to sweep in the second.

Having an outlet as relentless and effective as Mendy is going to make City even more threatening going forward.

Midfielder: Ruben Neves, Wolves

Few players announced themselves to the Premier League with as much style as Ruben Neves. The midfield talisman oozed class whenever he got on the ball during an entertaining 2-2 draw against Everton at Molineux Stadium.

Neves struck his side’s first equaliser from a free-kick late in the first half. It was a powerful curling effort into the top corner that made England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford look ordinary. Truthfully though, an amalgamation of David De Gea, Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer wouldn’t have gotten near this sweet a strike.

Not content with one moment of brilliance, Neves pulled the strings for the game’s final goal. His delicate chip into the center of the box found the head of Raul Jimenez.

A goal and an assist proved Wolves have a player special enough to perhaps steer them clear of a seemingly inevitable relegation battle.

Midfielder: Richarlison, Everton

There must be something about playing for Marco Silva. Just ask Richarlison after his two-goal turn on his Everton debut.

The Brazilian was an instant hit when Silva brought him to Watford last season. He scored and assisted for fun, until the well ran dry once Silva was let go.

The reunion worked a treat for the Toffees at Molineux, as Richarlison rediscovered his eye for goal. He was alert in the box to turn in from close range in the first half, but saved the true magic for his second goal.

Pace, power and technique summed up the weaving run Richarlison made past, around and through markers in the 67th minute. Then there was the finish, an exquisitely placed side-foot prod into the bottom corner.

This was a goal from a marquee match-winner who could finally make Everton a credible part of the scrap for a top-four finish.

Midfielder: Jorginho, Chelsea

Jorginho could still have been wearing his Napoli shirt at the John Smith’s Stadium. He may have been making his debut in a new league, but nothing had changed about the way the midfielder took care of the ball.

Passes were neat, incisive and efficient as Jorginho instantly became the hub of possession. He was the conductor through whom the game flowed, as Chelsea got to grips with manager Maurizio Sarri’s flowing style of play.

Sarri made his name turning Napoli into the team to watch in Serie A. Jorginho was the oil in the engine in Naples and has already taken on the same role in west London.

Aside from his studied distribution, Jorginho also netted a debut goal when he coolly slotted in from the penalty spot. With N’Golo Kante buzzing around him, Jorginho will be the calming influence Chelsea need while Sarri reinvents the team.

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Midfielder: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Before Jorginho sauntered up to the penalty spot, Pogba had already used eccentric technique to score from 12 yards. His opener against Leicester set the World Cup winner on his way to an imperious display.

He strode across the pitch with the swagger and purpose too often missing in his performances at club level. Yet there was none of the sluggishness United fans have become too used to seeing.

Instead, Pogba earned rare praise from his manager, with Mourinho dubbing the club’s record buy “a monster,” per BBC Sport’s Emlyn Begley. You’d think all is good between Pogba and United after a performance of this calibre, right?

Listening to the midfielder talk to AP reporter Simon Peach, discontent is still simmering just beneath the surface:

Whatever is brewing in the red half of Manchester, United need Pogba committed and happy. He’s too good for the club to let a tiresome clash of personalities waste his talent.

Midfielder: Dele Alli, Tottenham

Like Pogba, Alli can often leave fans wanting more. However, the 22-year-old delivered a complete performance to beat Newcastle. Alli was a delight on the ball, producing deft touches, clever flicks and pinpoint passes between the lines.

His off-the-ball work was just as impressive, as Alli snapped into tackles, pressed high and made well-times runs beyond Kane. One such move helped the England man net what would prove to be the winner, when he ghosted in from the inside channel to emphatically meet Serge Aurier’s cross.

The goal was vintage Alli at his best: decisive, forward-thinking and ruthless. Who needs transfers anyway?

Striker: Roberto Pereyra, Watford

Roberto Pereyra actually played in support of two strikers during Watford’s win over Brighton. Yet it wasn’t Troy Deeney nor Andre Gray who posed the Seagulls any meaningful threat, it was Pereyra.

The Argentinian maestro accounted for all the goals in a 2-0 win. Both were taken expertly by an attacker as skilful as any when fully fit and motivated.

Pereyra’s first was a love note to flawless technique as he swung his boot to volley in from a corner. His attempt to reach the ball appeared deceptively nonchalant, but the former Juventus man had his body shape just right and ensured he timed his shot to get the maximum connection.

The second goal was a deft and deliberate piece of finishing after a gliding run from the inside left. Close control and foot speed left Brighton’s usually capable defense chasing shadows.

Staying off the treatment table has never been easy for Pereyra. But if he can avoid the usual spate of injuries, he’s gifted enough to be one of the surprise stars of the season.

Striker: Sadio Mane, Liverpool

Mohamed Salah can make it easy to forget how good Sadio Mane is. Fortunately for Liverpool, the ex-Southampton forward offered a reminder of his talent with a two-goal turn on Sunday.

Mane’s goals helped the Reds squash The Hammers 4-0 at Anfield. His pace always poses a threat, but the 26-year-old’s subtle and intelligent range of movement is often overlooked.

His first finish showcased Mane’s timing as he ghosted beyond the penalty spot and hung around in the box until he could tap in from close range. While the offside flag should have cancelled out his second, Mane’s second showed the confidence of a decisive finisher, as he shot rapidly on the turn to seal the points.

In the process, the 26-year-old achieved a rarity in Liverpool history:

Having a forward this dangerous in support of the prolific Salah makes Liverpool City’s strongest challengers.