Well it was another week of big moments, massive matches and surprising score-lines in the 2016-17 English Premier League. Leicester City and Jamie Vardy finally regained form, Stefano Okaka said hello to the Premier League with his first two ever goals in England’s top flight and Manchester United and Jose Mourinho finally ended their winless run and beat rivals Tottenham Hotspur. This is The Mastermind‘s Team of the Week for Gameweek 15 in the English Premier League!
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
After being brilliant for three straight seasons in goal for Manchester United, David De Gea has had a bit of a topsy-turvy start to the 2016-17 Premier League season. However his last two performances for the Red Devils have been superb and despite Manchester United’s dominance against Spurs, the Spanish goalkeeper still had to bail his team out on several occasions. De Gea made 4 stunning saves and claimed six crosses, 100% that came his way in both categories. His distribution was also excellent with his average kick reaching 56 metres in length. David De Gea was excellent against Spurs and now after a bit of a slow start to the season he may be on his way again to a fourth successive spot on the PFA Team of the Year. Rating: 8.5/10.
Right Back: Cesar Azpilicueta
Although actually a right sided centre-back, Cesar Azpilicueta comes into the Team of the Week this week at right back for his stunning impressive display at the heart of the defense for Chelsea against West Brom. Azpilicueta has been superb as a central defender this season and his versatility was evident yet again on Sunday as he moved to right back when Chelsea took Victor Moses off and went to a 4-3-3. In all areas of the pitch the Spaniard was brilliant on Sunday, doing a sturdy job in defense with 3 tackles, 4 duels won in the air, 2 interceptions and 6 clearances and helping out in attack with 2 chances created and 5 crosses. Azpilicueta was also fantastic in possession of the ball, having 100 touches (only Matic had more) and completing 78 passes. Before this season you would have never thought that Azpiliceta would make for a good central defender but under Antonio Conte this season in that position he has been one of the very best in the Premier League and finally earns himself his first Team of the Week appearance of the season. Rating: 9/10.
Centre Back: Phil Jones
Very few would have expected Phil Jones to have such a positive influence on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United this season. But since Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling were ruled out with injury just under two months ago the British defender has been incredible and has looked like his old self again. Jones was always in the right place at the right time to stop Harry Kane and co from getting into the match, completing 3 tackles and making 5 interceptions. The central defender also won all 3 of his duels in the air, added 6 clearances and wonderfully blocked 2 shots. Few back fours have made Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane look this anonymous and this bad as Manchester United did on Sunday and Phil Jones was at the heart of it all and was one of the key reasons why United were finally able to hold out for a draw. Rating: 8/10.
Centre Back: Sebastian Prodl
Sebastian Prodl scored his first goal of the season this weekend as Watford thumped Everton despite the narrow 3-2 scoreline. His headed goal off of a Holebas corner kick was one of four duels he won in the air and his passing completion rate of 89% was the highest of any starting player in yellow. The Austrian defender was also significant in defense, completing 4 interceptions and making 6 clearances. Although Romelu Lukaku got the best of Prodl and his partner Britos at times during the first match of the weekend, the Austrian defender still had an excellent performance and without his crucial goal the Hornets may not have picked up all three points against the Toffees. Rating: 8.5/10.
Left Back: Jose Holebas
Jose Holebas has surprisingly been one of this season’s standout left-backs and has been instrumental to Watford’s success so far as they sit in 7th place in the table after fifteen matches. The Greek defender has been particularly crucial to the Hornets in attack this season and had a massive part to play in Watford’s narrow 3-2 victory over Everton. Holebas assisted two goals from two fantastic set-piece deliveries, one meeting the head of Prodl and the other finding Okaka for his second goal of the game. The Watford fullback also had 74 touches on the ball which was more than any other Hornet and helped out magnificently in defense with 3 tackles and interceptions a piece and 7 clearances! Jose Holebas has been one of the best fullbacks in the league thus far and had one of his best matches of the season this weekend against Everton. Rating: 9.5/10.
Defensive Midfield: Ander Herrera
Since coming into the side in Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Leicester City, Ander Herrera has been remarkable for the Red Devils and has arguably been their standout player and one of the only bright spots of their season so far. Pep Guardiola once called the midfielder the type of player that Barcelona like and with his performances as of late it is easy to see why. Ander Herrera was brilliant against Tottenham Hotspur, putting in the perfect midfield performance and contributing massively to everything good about Mourinho’s team in both attack and defense. The central midfielder had a magnificent shot from outside the area on a volley that nearly broke the deadlock and then assisted Henrikh Mkhitaryan for his first ever Premier League goal with an incredible pass. That assist was one of his five chances created in the match, the second most of any player in the league this weekend. The Spanish midfielder also made 5 tackles against Spurs, more than any other Manchester United player, made 4 interceptions, won 3 fouls and delivered 2 crosses to help Manchester United claim a 1-0 victory. Ander Herrera has been magnificent in Manchester United’s midfield this season and with performances like that is seriously making claims to be an important cog in the Spanish National Team in the near future. Rating: 9/10.
Right Wing: Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha has been in flying form this season and had his most impressively display of the season so far in Crystal Palace’s 3-3 draw with strugglers Hull City. If it had not been for Zaha, Crystal Palace could have easily ended up losing this game and Alan Pardew should be thanking his lucky stars that he managed to keep a hold of his star man in the summer. The failed Manchester United winger was full of energy and vibrancy for the Eagles in attack, creating 3 chances, completing 3 take-on’s and delivering 2 accurate crosses from 2 attempted, Zaha also had 2 of his 3 total shots on target and scored and assisted a goal each to help Palace crawl to a draw. Wilfried Zaha has been magnificent so far this season for Crystal Palace and if he continues on with this kind of form he could be on his way to earning a big money move to another big club again. Rating: 9.5/10.
Attacking Midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson
If one man has to be credited for Swansea’s recent resurgence in form under Bob Bradley then that man has to be Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic midfielder has been instrumental to every single victory that the Swans have incurred this season and led them to a fantastic 3-0 win over Sunderland, a side who was beginning to find form of their own. Sigurdsson created 6 chances against the Black Cats, more than any other player this weekend. He also converted a crucial penalty to give the Swans the lead and helped them double their lead by delivering the perfect ball into the box for Fernando Llorente off of a corner kick for Swansea’s second. Sigurdsson also helped out in defense with 2 interceptions and 4 of the 9 crosses he delivered in to the box found teammates. Gylfi Sigurdsson has been in fine form so far this season and if Swansea are going to continue to steer away from the relegation zone than he is going to need to continue to be on top of his game. Rating: 9.5/10.
Left Wing: Stefano Okaka
Welcome to the Premier League. What a way to introduce yourself. In just his second start Premier League start, Stefano Okaka scored two goals with two excellent finishes.After Nordin Amrabat delivered the perfect ball into the box, Okaka twirled and backheeled it in for 1-1 for his team. Then shortly after Prodl put the Hornets on top, Okaka found the back of the net again for Watford’s third goal of the game, a fantastic header off of a Holebas corner kick. All three of his shots were on target and he scored from two of them, a fantastic record. The Italian international also completed all 3 of the dribbles he attempted, won 3 duels in the air and made 4 tackles, more than any other Watford player in the match. Stefano Okaka put in a fantastic performance against Everton and his two goals led Walter Mazzarri’s side to victory. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Forward: Fernando Llorente
Fernando Llorente always knows where the back of the net is. You just wouldn’t know it yet because he has only come into form since Bob Bradley came in as manager. Llorente is the perfect target man for Swansea, a position they have struggled to fill ever since Wilfried Bony left the club for Manchester City back in January 2015. On Saturday the Spanish forward was pivotal to Swansea’s 3-0 victory over Sunderland, scoring two goals and dominating over his opposition defenders in the air with 7 aerial duels won. Llorente’s link up play with Sigurdsson and the two wingers in Barrow and Montero was excellent and now that Swansea have a target man to look for in the box they have instantly started to play better. Fernando Llorente just offers something different for Swansea City, something that has been missing ever since Wilfried Bony left the club and had his best game of the season this weekend as Swansea City beat David Moyes’ Sunderland by a score of 3-0.
Striker: Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy is back! After he and Leicester City have had a torrid time to start this season following their incredible league title of last year, Vardy and the Foxes found form again as Leicester beat Manchester City by a massive 4-2 scoreline. Nobody expected Leicester to win this match but right from the onset the pace and passing accuracy from Vardy, Mahrez and Slimani just devastated Manchester City’s defense as they quickly found themselves 3-0 up inside 20 minutes with two Jamie Vardy goals. Then towards the end of the game, the English forward found the back of the net yet again after a fantastic bit of skill to round Claudio Bravo for the second time in the match and find the net from a very awkward angle. Jamie Vardy bullied City’s defenders during the match, winning 6 duels in the air despite not being the tallest of strikers, and converting all three of his shots in the match for goals. It was a typical Jamie Vardy performance on Sunday. One that we have not seen an awful lot this season but one that we have become accustomed to in recent times. If the Foxes and their star striker can continue this kind of form they could be set for a massive incline up the table. Rating: 10/10.
Player of the Week: Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy was brilliant against Manchester City, finding the back of the net three times to give Leicester a 4-2 win. Not a single shot that Vardy took didn’t ripple the net and surprisingly Manchester City didn’t just struggle to handle his pace, they also couldn’t handle his prowess in the air as the English forward won 6/9 duels in the air. Jamie Vardy is a clinical finisher and when he is full flow he can be devastating in front of goal. If Vardy can begin to regain his form of last year the Foxes will hopefully be able to cruise their way back towards the top of the table.
Manager of the Week: Walter Mazzarri
Although Claudio Ranieri deserves a lot of credit for rallying his side to a fantastic and surprising victory over Manchester City, it is Walter Mazzarri who is this week’s Manager of the Week for his man-management and tactical knowhow that led Watford to a 3-2 victory over Everton. With eleven different nationalities from eleven different players inside the starting 11 alone, there is without a doubt a massive language barrier that Watford have had to overcome this season. But somehow they sit 7th in the table despite the manager himself only speaking the same language as two of those players. Mazzarri’s call to drop Ighalo two games ago has been a very effective one as Okaka has now scored two goals in two games in his place and was the key man in Watford’s victory this weekend. The Italian manager’s decision to switch to a back four this weekend was also very effective as other than Lukaku, none of Everton’s players were ever given any wiggle room to work with. Finally, he has shown a tremendous amount of faith in Nordin Amrabat this season, a player who was never really given a chance by any of his predecessors but has done magnificently well this season since around September, and completely annihilated Everton’s defense this week with skills and tricks. Walter Mazzarri has done an excellent job since coming in as Watford manager this season and earned a deserved 3-2 victory over Everton this weekend.
So there it is! The Team of the Week for Gameweek 15 in the English Premier League. For more articles like this every single week, click the follow button to the right or enter your email in the Want More? section down below. See you next time!