Gameweek 21 in the Premier League was tremendously entertaining this weekend with a host of surprising results and entertaining matches. Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham all thumped their opponents while Ronald Koeman’s Everton came to a surprise 4-0 bashing of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Through all the incredible matches there were several standout players and these eleven below are the best of the bunch. This is the Team of the Week for Gameweek 21 in England’s top flight.
Goalkeeper: Victor Valdes
This week Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes picks up his first ever Premier League team of the week appearance after a stunning display this weekend to deny Watford from scoring in a 0-0 draw. Valdes made 5 saves, claimed or punched 100% of the crosses that came his way (3/3) and made one crucial last man tackle to keep Watford out. The Boro goalkeeper hasn’t been as amazing as he was in Barcelona days for Aitor Karanka’s side but he has still had a very successful season so far and has done very well to keep veteran Premier League goalkeeper Brad Guzan out of the side. With displays like that from the Spanish goalkeeper, Guzan may never get a chance to play in the Premier League again. Rating: 9/10.
Right Wing Back: Michail Antonio
In the midst of a Dimitri Payet transfer saga, a new hero emerged for Slavan Bilic’s West Ham as Michail Antonio led the Hammers to a massive 3-0 win over Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace. Antonio has been scoring a lot of goals this season but who would’ve thought he would prove to be such a pivotal provider of goals as well. The British right-wing-back notched three assists this weekend, contributing directly to all three of West Ham’s goals. The 26-year old was West Ham’s driving force going forward, creating four chances and delivering 6 crosses, 4 of which found teammates. Antonio also did his defensive duty by making 3 clearances, 2 tackles and 1 interception proving just how effective he is as a right-wing back in Slavan Bilic’s side. Without him, West Ham may have found it a lot harder to win this game and certainly wouldn’t have been able to do so as comfortably as they did. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Back: David Luiz
This season a whole new David Luiz has emerged. Under Conte playing the role of the sweeper with all kinds of protection around him in every direction, Luiz has been seamless in his play and hasn’t made a single mistake all season. He’s become a much more mature and calm presence at the back than the rash and often naive Luiz that we all came to know in his first stint at Chelsea and nothing was different this weekend against Leicester City. Luiz handled everything against the Foxes comfortably and was always in the right place a the right time to break up any attack. If another defender found themselves caught out, Luiz was always there to clean up the mess and due to his confident and controlled on the ball presence he was also a starting point at the back for Chelsea’s attacks. The Brazilian completely shut out Jamie Vardy and co in the game as Courtois was made to have very little to do due to the Blues’ brilliance in defense. Luiz himself made 9 clearances, 2 interceptions and 100% of his duels in the air. The Brazilian defender once tipped to be a future Chelsea captain by John Terry now looks to be living up to that potential as he has been one of the Blues’ most integral players in their incredible run of form. Rating: 8.5/10.
Centre Back: Laurent Koscielny
On paper with players like Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey Arsenal could be a title-winning side. However, only Sanchez and Koscielny have lived up to their potential this season and as a result the Gunners have failed to really make a stamp on this 2016-17 Premier League season and the discussions of “next year” for Arsenal have already begun. But through their struggles Laurent Koscielny has still had a very good season and continues to be one of the best centre backs in the league. The Frenchman had a brilliant performance against Swansea City on Saturday, completely dominating over the other man pictured above, Fernando Llorente. The 31-year old won 7 duels in the air compared to the Spaniard’s 3 while also making 9 clearances and 4 interceptions in the process. Koscielny also completed 93% of his passes as Arsenal kept all of the possession and were able to drive to a 4-0 win. Laurent Koscielny is a brilliant defender and might just be the best in the league. If only Arsenal’s other superstars could live up to their potential the Gunners might actually have had a shot at winning the league. Rating: 9/10.
Left Wing Back: Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso would have probably made the team of the week this week even without his two fantastic goals this weekend as he was just that good at defending against Leicester’s most potent right-hand side attacks. The Spanish left-wing back made 2 interceptions, 2 tackles, 3 clearances and won 4 duels in the air, dealing with absolutely everything he was asked to as Leicester could never get going in the match. Meanwhile, going the other way he was fantastic, scoring his first ever brace as a professional footballer, one with his left-foot and the other with his right-foot as Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 win. Just to prove how crucial he was to Chelsea’s play, Alonso had 104 touches against the Foxes, the second most, only behind Matic, and that was nearly double the amount of the always-infleuntial Pedro. Marcos Alonso was brilliant against Leicester City, had probably the best game of his entire professional career and was the best player on the pitch by miles. The once-upon a time Sunderland player has had an incredibly successful season so far under Antonio Conte and is now establishing himself as one of the best left-backs in the world. Rating: 10/10.
Defensive Midfield: Tom Davies
Andy Carroll’s amazing bicycle kick goal may have stolen the show this weekend but Tom Davies’ incredible goal to give Everton a 3-0 win over Manchester City was equally amazing, if not more given the circumstances. The midfielder won the ball in his own half as he had done all game long and then made a darting run forward. Surprisingly he was just too quick for Manchester City to catch and with a daft bit of skill he completely took two defenders out of the game. He then played a one-two with Ross Barkley got it back and chipped the goalkeeper. This was just an incredible goal and one that sent Everton into ecstasy and Guardiola into despair. A smooth operator in midfield, Davies won every single battle he found himself involved and was fantastic in all areas of the pitch, going box to box and holding like the tough tackling midfielder that he is simultaneously. The 18-year old controlled play from midfield and completely stopped David Silva from playing. Meanwhile he also made a vital clearance off the line to stop Guardiola’s side from getting back into the match and it was his vital interception and pass that set Kevin Mirallas free for Everton’s first goal of the game. After a brilliant performance he capped it all off with that amazing solo goal to help Everton claim a historic 4-0 victory over a side that made it to the UEFA Champions League semi-final last year. Tom Davies has been Everton’s best midfielder in the past few weeks and just looks like an amazing player. At the age of only 18 he could have an amazing career to come and this will always be a week to remember for him. Rating: 10/10.
Right Attacking Midfield: Christian Eriksen
One of the main problems in Tottenham’s failure to win the domestic title last season was their lack of a killer-instinct at the tail end of the season to see the tough games out and get them across the line. But now with Eriksen, Kane, Alli and the entire starting 11 for that matter all firing on all cylinders, all on the same wavelength and all playing their best football this Tottenham side looks absolutely unbeatable and remains the only team in the league to lose just one game this season. Eriksen in particular has just been unbelievable in recent months and might just be the most important player in Pochettino’s title charge this season. The Danish midfielder had another fine performance in Saturday’s early game this weekend against West Brom, assisting (in a way) both of Tottenham’s first half goals. He set free Harry Kane for Tottenham’s first of the afternoon which by the way was superbly finished and then made Gareth McAuley look foolish when his deflected shot went off the 37-year old defender into the back of the net. He also assisted Dele’s Alli amazing off-side goal with an incredible chip pass only to have it not count. Eriksen had 103 touches on the ball in the match, surpassed only by super dribbler Mousa Dembele and amongst those 103 touches were 4 chances created and whipped in 7 crosses proving to once again be highly inventive and involved in Tottenham’s attacking play as they cruised to a 4-0 victory. Christian Eriksen is just an incredible player and a player who had so much potential when he first arrived at Spurs and is now finally fulfilling all of it. Right now he is one of the best players in the Premier League and makes his fifth team of the week appearance of the season this weekend. Rating: 9/10.
Left Attacking Midfield: Marko Arnautovic
No man bun no problem, Marko Arnautovic is on the score sheet again as he bagged a brace in Stoke’s 3-1 win over Sunderland. Arnautovic made Sunderland look silly at the weekend as they just did not know how to defend against him. The wing wizard took four shots in the match, three of which were on target and two of which found the back of the net. The Austrian also won three take-on’s and rounded out a fantastic performance with a bit of defensive work, making 2 clearances and 2 interceptions. Marko Arnautovic is an excellent player, he just hasn’t shown it enough on a regular basis this season. Rating: 9.5/10.
Right Striker: Harry Kane
Harry Kane was an unstoppable force against West Brom, scoring a hat-trick in what might have been best ever game as a Tottenham Hotspur player. The British striker has been in insanely good form lately and Tony Pulis’ side just could never figure out how to mark him as the striker was able to take 11 shots, 7 of which were on target. Among those seven shots on target were three fantastic goals as his finishing was just sublime at the weekend, perfectly finishing off every big chance to score that he was given. The Tottenham man also created 2 chances and was fouled four times just giving McAuley, Olsson and the entire West Brom squad an absolute nightmare. Harry Kane might be the best striker in the league at the moment and it still amazes me that he is still only 23. If he carries on at this rate Harry Kane might be set for a second straight golden boot. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Forward: Peter Crouch
Mark Hughes has been reluctant to play Peter Crouch in the past and revert back to Stoke City’s old robust-like style but since the manager has brought his 6’7 forward back into the side at the start of December, Stoke have been in amazing form. Throughout that amazing run of form, Peter Crouch has been at the heart of everything good and not just through his size and strength in the air, he’s even been good with his feet, linking up with other players and finishing off chances as well. Against Sunderland, the 35-year old was Stoke’s key man, scoring Stoke’s third and assisting Arnautovic’s second as the Potters claimed a 3-1 victory. As he has been throughout his career he was also magnificent in the air, winning 19 aerial duels this weekend, the most in the league by quite some distance. Crouch also used his height to his advantage in defense with 4 clearances and going the other way created 2 chances for his teammates to score. Peter Crouch hasn’t been given a chance to shine a lot under Mark Hughes but in the past few months has arguably been Stoke’s key man as they now sit back in their usual 9th place position. Rating: 10/10.
Left Striker: Abel Hernandez
New Hull City manager Marco Silva got off to a winning start this weekend as his side claimed a 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth. One of the keys to success in that incredible victory was Uruguayan forward Abel Hernandez. Hernandez led the line brilliantly for the Tigers, scoring 2 goals from four shots. His running power, energy and finishing were all second to none on the day as Bournemouth’s defenders, particularly Tyrone Mings, just could never figure out what to do with him. Hernandez was the key man in Silva’s win in his first game in charge and if both men continue to do their best for the Tigers, Hull City being relegated might not actually be a foregone conclusion. Rating: 9/10.
Substitutes: Simon Mignolet, Kyle Walker, Ross Barkley, Alex Iwobi, Kevin Mirallas, Romelu Lukaku, Andy Carroll
Player of the Week: Marcos Alonso
Harry Kane might have scored a hat-trick of goals and Michail Antonio might have notched a hat-trick of assists this weekend, but Marcos Alonso also had an amazing performance, stepping up in the absence of Diego Costa to score two goals from left-wing-back! Alonso knew exactly when to go forward and timed his runs into the box perfectly to finish off two chances in style. But it wasn’t just his attacking play, Alonso was also magnificent in defense, completely controlling Marc Albrighton and boasting impressive numbers in every defensive aspect of the game. With an incredible performance against Leicester City, Marcos Alonso now surely has to be considered one of the best wing-backs/fullbacks in the world.
Runners Up: Harry Kane, Michail Antonio
Manager of the Week: Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman hasn’t always been spectacular for Everton this season but in recent months he has completely turned the club’s poor form around as they now sit in 7th in the table. They’ve achieved magnificent results recently like a 2-1 victory over Arsenal and a 3-0 thrashing over Southampton but their most impressive of the entire season so far came this weekend against Manchester City as Koeman’s side eased to a 4-0 victory. Koeman got his tactics absolutely spot on and it ensured that this game wasn’t even close. Tom Davies, Ross Barkley and Gareth Barry completely stopped Manchester City’s primary playmaker David Silva from getting into the game while Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta were also completely anonymous. His change to a 3-5-2 also ensured that Kevin de Bruyne never found any time on the ball while Williams was completely attached to Sergio Aguero never giving him any room to roam as well. Meanwhile going the other way, the Toffees were magnificent on the counter-attack capitalizing on every single major chance they were given in the game to score four goals! Playing Ross Barkley in a deeper position in midfield proved incredibly effective as well as the 23-year old controlled Everton’s play and assisted two goals! Playing Kevin Mirallas up top beside Romelu Lukaku also worked out for everyone as the pair of Belgians combined wonderfully well and brought the best out of each other’s games. This move gave Lukaku someone to work with up top and ensured he never became isolated from the rest of the squad and it also allowed Mirallas to get into areas where he can do the most damage as he scored a goal and assisted another.
Ronald Koeman also has to be given a tremendous amount of credit for giving youngsters a chance to play. Mason Holgate was brilliant at the back yet again while 18-year old Tom Davies looks a star in the making. The English midfielder has been Everton’s best player in recent weeks and has really, really impressed in the centre of midfield. Meanwhile the signing of Adama Lookman looks a good one as the 19-year old came off the bench to score just minutes afterward, giving Everton a 4-0 lead. Ronald Koeman just put Pep Guardiola to shame on Sunday and made him look absolutely foolish. Now Everton sit in 7th place and if they can continue to play like this better things are to come for the Toffees for sure.
So there it is! The Team of the Week for Gameweek 21 in the English Premier League! Like what you read? Click the follow button for more articles like this every single week.