Right-Midfield: Victor Moses (Chelsea)
Victor Moses seemed destined for life away from Stamford Bridge after a sequence of loan spells following his £9m move from Wigan Athletc four years ago. The 25-year-old had only made 23 appearances and netted once for the Blues before this season and had enjoyed stints at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United before Conte took the reins at Stamford Bridge. By the time the Italian arrived, Moses hadn’t featured for Chelsea since 2013.
Conte’s tactical reshuffle saw Moses deployed as a right wing-back in his new defensive system, a tactical which has proven the catalyst for a sensational upturn in form which has seen Moses come unto his own as one of the team’s most important players.
His pace and attacking qualities give Chelsea width down the right flank whilst also adding an extra dimension to the Blues’ defence, and he is clearly excelling under a manager who trusts in his ability.
His well-taken winner against Tottenham to end the Premier League’s only remaining unbeaten run put the gloss on another excellent performance from the Nigeria international, and how José Mourinho overlooked him during his second spell at the club must be called into question.
Centre-Midfield: Fernandinho (Manchester City)
If there is one player who is the epitome of consistent yet rarely gets the credit he is due, it is Fernandinho. He was selfless in possession and took charge in the middle of the park upon being bestowed with the armband by manager Pep Guardiola in City’s match away at Burnley, putting in a skipper’s display and showing great desire to lay the ball on a plate for Sergio Aguero’s winner; his first Premier League assist since May.
The steel he provided in the centre of midfield was vital to the City cause at Turf Moor, and the Brazilian is proving himself to be a key component in Guardiola’s City team.
Centre-Midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)
Bob Bradley and his Swansea City side were in desperate need of a result ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit to the Liberty Stadium, and Iceland international Gylfi Sigurdsson was one of the home side’s most influential performers once again, as they won in South Wales for the first time in the league this season.
Since his Premier League debut in January 2012, Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored six direct free-kicks goals in the top-flight – a joint-high along with Christian Eriksen and Juan Mata, and it was another blockbuster to add to an ever-growing collection which stunned Palace and left goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey a mere spectator.
Gylfi Sigurdsson is proving to be instrumental in the club’s bid to survive in the Premier League, but on Saturday;s evidence, the Swans defence will need to commit far more to the cause if the Icelander’s efforts are not to be in vain.
Left Midfield: Josh Sims (Southampton)
It was a direct toss-up between Sims and Swansea’s Leroy Fer for a let-midfield birth here, but we went for the Southampton man since he not only put in an impressive performance, but it was his Premier League debut, at the tender age of 19. Yet he played with the maturity, invention and craft of a winger who’d been a seasoned top-flight veteran for years.
It took less than a minute for Sims to register his first Premier League assist against Everton, as the youngster teed up leading Saints scorer Charlie Austin to head home from just in front of the goal-line.
That was an early confidence boost, but he didn’t let that be the only high of his performance as he gave the Everton defence a torrid time throughout the contest, giving England left-back Leghton Baines a full workout.
Southampton as a club have for years being putting emphasis on the development of young players and after putting in a display like this against a former manager who overlooked him in the academy, Ronald Koeman for all his work with young talent will be left ruing his luck with Sims one of a few that may have got away.