Each week, Sport360 will be bring you the best five players from the Premier League, as chosen by you the supporters through our ValoraFutbol fan ratings tool.
YOU have direct influence on who appears in each Team of the Week so be sure to rate each weekend.
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– Exclusive: Q&A with Gianluigi Buffon
– #360View: Pellegrini has chance to prove his worth in Europe
– #360win: A trip to watch Bayern Munich vs Dortmund
So who makes up this week’s top five?
1) ROMELU LUKAKU (Everton) – 8.19
Everton’s 3-1 rout of Chelsea was the most significant victory of the round and despite not scoring any goals, the pace and vision of Lukaku up front was enough to remind Chelsea of what they missed out on. Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begović reserved his best form for Lukaku and kept out three of the burly Belgian’s shots.
Romelu Lukaku’s game by numbers Shot – 3 Take One – 3 Aerial Dues won – 3/3 Pass Completion – 71% pic.twitter.com/Vj31VvDFTZ
— Toffee Pics (@ToffeePics) September 12, 2015
2) SEAMUS COLEMAN (Everton) – 8.14
The Irish defender had a solid game at the back with Diego Costa simply not finding any space to escape and produce a decent shot on goal. The only disappointing aspect of Coleman’s day came when injury forced him to hobble from the field towards the end.
— Daniel Cleaton (@dannycleaton) September 12, 2015
3) JOHN STONES (Everton) – 8.10
Roberto Martinez started John Stones despite the summer saga of Chelsea’s failed efforts to sign him, and the young England defender responded with a superb display. The Englishman snuffed out Cesar Azpilicueta’s chance near the Everton goal and combined superbly with Coleman to form an almost impenetrable wall.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) September 14, 2015
4) VINCENT KOMPANY (Manchester City) – 8.05
Teenage goalscorer Kelechi Iheanacho stole the headlines in Manchester City’s away win but the most telling statistic was that the Sky Blues recorded a record sixth clean sheet in succession. This is mostly down to Kompany’s return to form this season and the City skipper will be key if the Mancunians are to cause Juventus problems in the Champions League.
Hardfought three points. Coming away with a massive win today. Must go on. #MCFC
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) September 12, 2015
5) TIM HOWARD (Everton) – 7.95
A key component of a resolute defence that has seen Everton surge into the top half of the Premier League has been evergreen goalkeeper Tim Howard. A magnificent long-range strike from the defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic was a rare moment of discomfort against Chelsea but the American’s defensive organisation kept the Londoner’s quiet for the rest of the game.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 12, 2015
Manuel Pellegrini may not be one for mathematics when it comes to the Champions League but right now the numbers are crystal clear.
– #360fans: Man City vs Juventus – supporters preview
– #360win: A trip to watch Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund
– Off The Bar: Mourinho vs Robots, Thierry Martial, Sherwood Vanishes
Two last-16 exits during his two years in charge have seemingly superseded the domestic double success of the Chilean’s debut campaign as Manchester City boss.
Their persistent failure in Europe now mean it’s feasible that by the end of this season, Pellegrini could go down as the most successful manager in City’s history – at least in the Premier League era – and still be out of a job.
The insatiable appetite of the Abu Dhabi owners’ to dine with Europe’s elite make it clear that Champions League glory heads the menu this term – not the league crown.
Since gaining admission to Europe’s premier club competition some four years ago, City have repeatedly been found out when it comes to the highest level with Bayern Munich and Barcelona trumping determined performances.
Natural then, is the club’s fancy for Pep Guardiola, English football’s worst kept secret, with club long-term admirers of the former Barca coach.
But their perennial courting of the Spaniard is much more than just results on the pitch. When Pellegrini was installed after Roberto Mancini’s demise, the buzz word was ‘holistic’.
And it’s exactly that approach Guardiola offers. By tempting someone of his stature with his philosophy, City would be
announcing themselves as an elite team.
Even with a new deal for Pellegrini shrewdly signed in the summer the Bayern Munich boss casts a shadow over the Etihad Stadium – his arrival appears inevitable rather than doubtful.
So how can Pellegrini keep his job beyond this season?
The Chilean coach must prove to the City hierarchy that he is the right man long term and that starts with changing their fortunes in Europe, not by winning the league. Of course, the early signs domestically provide much promise.
The hefty investment over the summer in players like Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Nicolas Otamendi and their early form allows them to regard a difficult Champions League group that includes Sevilla, Borussia Mochengladbach and Juventus as negotiable.
In fact, arguably this year represents Pellegrini’s best opportunity to go deep in Europe and he simply has to because the progress made there could well be enough to dampen the attraction of beating everyone else for Guardiola.
Before a ball had even been kicked many had written off City for league honours, nevermind, challenge in Europe but so far Pellegrini has proved those doubters wrong.
Now comes the real acid test. If he is to stand any chance of returning for a fourth season at City, he must relax his tactical rigidity.
His favoured 4-4-2 formation is not exactly suited to European football and Pellegrini must demonstrate much more flexibility this time around. His summer signings suggest a dynamic attacking system will be employed, and that must come to fruition.
Reverence has hardly flowed in Pellegrini’s direction and his fate beyond this season may already be sealed. But Europe will be his only saving grace, regardless of what he wins domestically.
Manchester United forward Memphis Depay says he will celebrate if he scores against his former club PSV when the two sides meet in Eindhoven in the Champions League.