What an amazing weekend it was yet again in the 2016-17 English Premier League. This weekend we saw Bournemouth claim a massive, shocking, 4-3 victory over Liverpool, saw Antonio Conte’s win streak at Chelsea continue as they rolled over their fellow title contenders Manchester City and saw a return to form for Tottenham Hotspur as they demolished Bob Bradley’s Swansea City by a score of 5-0. Through all the incredible matches, these were the eleven standout performers from Matchday 14 in the Premier League.
Goalkeeper: Lee Grant
Although Jordan Pickford was instrumental yet again in saving the day for Sunderland, it is Lee Grant who comes out on top as this week’s best goalkeeper. The Derby County loanee was in fine form against the Clarets, helping the Potters claim a great 2-0 win. With 3 saves from 3 shots and 100% of crosses claimed the British goalkeeper did not miss a beat against Sean Dyche’s men and earned the highest Squawka score of goalkeepers this round. Although it wasn’t the most fabulous of goalkeeper performances this season, Lee Grant was flawless in everything he was asked to do against Burnley and comes out on top as this week’s goalkeeper of the week. Rating: 8/10.
Right Back: James Tomkins
James Tomkins has had a stop-start type of season since arriving from West Ham United in the summer but put in his best performance of the season against Southampton in Crystal Palace’s surprise 3-0 victory. The British defender scored from his only shot in the game to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead inside 36 minutes and was also superb in defense, completing 3 tackles, 7 clearances and intercepting 4 passes. Tomkins hasn’t had a lot of time to settle in at Crystal Palace but against Southampton looked as though he’d been in the team for years and played a massive role in helping them to a 3-0 victory with his third goal of the season. Rating: 9/10.
Centre Back: David Luiz
David Luiz has been remarkable since arriving back at Chelsea from PSG on transfer deadline day. After his terrible first month to start his renaissance back at the club nobody was willing to give the Brazilian a chance. But now since Antonio Conte has moved into a back three with David Luiz playing the role of the sweeper, the Brazilian has been unbeatable and has been one of the best defenders of this Premier League season. The zenith of David’s Luiz’s reincarnation at the club came this weekend against Chelsea’s fellow title contenders Manchester City as the crazy-haired 29-year old played a crucial role in softening Sergio Aguero and leading Chelsea to a 3-1 win. Luiz was in the right place at the right time to make 7 clearances against the Citizens, some of them absolutely crucial. He also made 2 interceptions, completed both of the dribbles he attempted and completely bossed Sergio Aguero as the Argentinean goal scorer could never find a way into the game and lost his head at the end, frustrated with Luiz’s prowess. David Luiz has been an instrumental cog to Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation and might just be on his way to earning back a reputation as one of the best defenders on the planet. Rating: 9/10.
Centre Back: Steve Cook
Although Ryan Fraser will be grabbing all the headlines for Eddie Howe and Bournemouth’s massive comeback victory over Liverpool, one man who also has to be given an immense amount of credit is Steve Cook. Although not fantastic on the day in defense, Steve Cook managed to channel his inner Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half for the Cherries in attack. The British defender scored a fantastic Ibrahimovic styled goal on a volley from a Ryan Fraser cross and then late on the game hit a thunderbolt of an effort that Karius just couldn’t hold on to, spilling right to the feet of Nathan Ake who put it in the back of the net for Bournemouth’s winning goal. In addition to his fantastic influence on Bournemouth’s late show, the 25-year old defender also won 5 duels in the air out of seven and as the Cherries allowed all of the pressure to come to them until late in the game, Cook also made 19 clearances, the most this weekend by five! Steve Cook had a brilliant match against Liverpool and was massive in helping Eddie Howe’s side claim their first ever win against a team in the top four. Rating: 9/10.
Left Back: Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans is West Brom’s best player. Best player? Best player. The Northern Irishman has been integral to West Brom’s success this season and with players like the former Manchester United man in their side, Tony Pulis will forever continue his never-been relegated streak. On top of a fantastic goal to open the scoring, the 28-year old was also resourceful and resilient in defense, making 6 clearances, 4 interceptions. The Northern Ireland international also won 100% of his tackles attempted and won 3 duels in the air out of 4. Jonny Evans is West Brom’s best player and had a fantastic influence on West Brom’s 3-1 win over Walter Mazzari’s Watford. Rating: 9/10.
Right Attacking Midifeld: Ryan Fraser
Few substitutes in the history of the English Premier League have come on to have such a massive impact on a match as Ryan Fraser did against Liverpool this weekend. With the Cherries 2-0 down in the 55th minute the 22-year old came on for the injured Junior Stanislas and went on to drastically change the course of the match. Liverpool had been in cruise control up until that point but the moment Fraser stepped on to the pitch this football fixture changed instantly. Just a minute after coming on the 22-year old did a fantastic job in winning a penalty for his side which was converted by Callum Wilson to give the Cherries a lifeline. But when Emre Can added a third for Liverpool all hope of Eddie Howe’s side coming back seemed to be lost until the Englishman turned on his fancy footwork and grabbed a fantastic goal to give Bournemouth a lifeline again and decrease the score back to 3-2 for the Reds. Not even two minutes later he floated in a fantastic cross for Steve Cook who hammered it home to make the score 3-3. His influence and energy in the game would also inspire the Cherries to go on and win the match in the 93rd minute, 4-3. Very few players in the history of the league have had such a massive impact after coming on as a substitute for their side and maybe, just maybe, Ryan Fraser won’t be a substitute for Eddie Howe any longer. Rating: 10/10.
Attacking Midfield: Christian Eriksen
In the first twelve games of the season, Christian Eriksen despite the multitude of shots that he had, did not score a single goal. But after scoring a blinder against Chelsea last weekend, the Danish midfielder found himself in good form against Swansea City and with two goals against Bob Bradley’s side is seemingly back to his old self again. Christian Eriksen was brilliant against Swansea, serving as Spurs’ primary source of attacks. The 24-year old scored 2 goals and amongst his six chances created he also managed to assist one, directly contributing to three out of Tottenham’s five goals. The attacking midfielder also had 4 of his shots on target from 6, won 100% of his duels and had 94 touches on the ball, contributing massively to Tottenham Hotspur’s massive 5-0 win over Swansea City. Rating: 10/10.
Left Attacking Midfield: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has always had the potential to be an incredible player for Arsenal and although he still isn’t a regular in Arsene Wenger’s setup he is showing signs this season of that fantastic potential like never before. Chamberlain has already scored more goals in all competitions this season than in any other season he’s played at Arsenal, and added another to his tally with a fantastic goal on Saturday night. Before the British winger killed the game with his incisive finish in the 84th minute, he had also created 3 chances, won a stunning six dribbles and completed 87% of his passes. Oxlade-Chamberlain linked up brilliantly with Sanchez and with 67 touches on the ball and 3 shots, the mobile winger was a constant presence for Arsenal in attack and one of the driving forces to their 5-1 win. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a fantastic player and if Arsene Wenger just gave him more of a chance to show how good he can be, the 23-year old could soon be one of the league’s best players. Rating: 9.5/10.
Centre Forward: Harry Kane
Harry Kane is back amongst the goals and after a fabulous performance against Swansea City, the English forward receives his second Team of the Week appearance in three matches. Kane led the line magnificently for Spurs on Saturday, converting a penalty and scoring another goal with a fine finish, helping his side beat the Swans by a score of 5-0. In addition to his two goals, Kane also had four other shots on target and only one shot the entire game off target. He also created 2 chances, completed 83% of his passes and won two out of three take-on’s to help Spurs keep all the pressure on the Swans and destroy them in the end with a towering victory. Rating: 10/10.
Striker: Alexis Sanchez
Arsene Wenger’s decision to stick with Alexis Sanchez up front as an auxiliary centre forward this season has proven to be one of the best decisions of his entire career. Sanchez has been pivotal to Arsenal’s success this season and although he’s been a shining star in several matches this season, the Chilean had his best match of the season, perhaps ever in an Arsenal shirt, against West Ham United this weekend. The 27-year old was fantastic in scoring three goals and assisting another, helping his side win by a massive score-line of 5-1. From his five total shots in the match, four were on target and three were converted for goals but it wasn’t just his clinical finishing in front of goal that has earned him a spot in this best eleven. Sanchez’s movement was incredible on Saturday, roaming all over the pitch and never occupying just central areas; sometimes even coming as deep as the half-way line to pick up the ball in midfield and help his side build attacks from there. Including his assist for Ozil’s goal, Sanchez created five total chances in the match and 61% of the passes he produced were forward thinking passes. Alexis Sanchez is a fantastic player and after a string of incredible performances at the top for Arsenal he is proving that the centre forward role might just be his best position and one that he excels in like very few players around the world. Rating: 10/10.
Striker: Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke has been snubbed several times by The Mastermind for a spot on the Team of the Week but this time around has finally succeeded in making the final cut. The Belgian forward led the line brilliantly for Crystal Palace on Saturday, leading the struggling side to a surprising 3-0 win over Southampton. As usual Benteke was fantastic in the air against the Saints, winning 9 duels in the air. Unusually though, Benteke had 59 touches on the ball, and with the presence of Townsend and Zaha in behind him, was a constant threat to score goals. On his day Christian Benteke can be absolutely unstoppable and that is exactly what Southampton found out this weekend as defenders who have brilliant this season in Fonte and Van Dijk just could not cope with him and as a result the Saints succambed to a 3-0 loss. Rating: 9/10.
Substitutes: Jordan Pickford, Marc Muniesa, Chris Brunt, Emre Can, Mesut Ozil, Heung-Min Son, Diego Costa
Player of the Week: Alexis Sanchez
No player was better on Matchday 14 than Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean forward was instrumental to Arsenal’s 5-1 win over West Ham United, scoring a hat-trick and assisting Mesut Ozil for the first goal of the game. His movement, energy, link up play and natural finishing ability were all sublime against the Hammers and the back-three of Collins, Reid, and Ogbonna just could not cope with him and were far from enough to stop the in-form striker from scoring. Sanchez was so clinical in front of the net, had a fantastic all-round performance and is this week’s Player of the Week!
Manager of the Week: Eddie Howe
Things didn’t start out brilliantly for Eddie Howe’s men in their Sunday encounter against Liverpool as they quickly found themselves 2-0 down to two bad defensive errors, but they somehow managed to claw their way back to a 4-3 victory. If you haven’t heard, Eddie Howe threw on 22-year old Ryan Fraser in the 55th minute and after that the Cherries were a completely different team. The Cherries’ energy, attacking prowess and defensive resilience all grew stronger after the addition of Fraser and Liverpool completely fell off of the pace because of Eddie Howe’s tactics in the process. Ryan Fraser wasn’t Howe’s only smart substitute on the night as he also threw on Jordan Ibe at half-time for Joshua King and a more attack-minded threat in Benfik Afobe for Dan Gosling just a minute before he assisted Bournemouth’s comeback goal scored by Ryan Fraser. Both the additions of Afobe and Ibe also had a massive impact in Bournemouth’s increased energy and zest up top and contributed massively to Bournemouth winning 4-3, which Howe has to be given a massive amount of credit for. In the last 15 minutes of the match not only did Howe’s side score three goals, but they also completely shut down players like Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson who have been so influential to Liverpool’s attack this season and never allowed the likes of Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino any room to work with. Eddie Howe’s tactics, man-management and in game-tweaking were all second to none this weekend and for the third time this season the man who will perhaps one day be a future England National Team manager is the Manager of the Week!
Well there it is! The Premier League’s Team of the Week for Matchday 14 of the always entertaining 2016-17 season. Like what you read? Click the follow button or comment below to share your thoughts! See you next time!