It’s seemed like a foregone conclusion for about 5 months now but this might have been the week that won the title for Chelsea Football Club. No side in Premier League history has ever been 13 points ahead of every other club and failed to win the title, putting it almost beyond doubt that the Blues won’t win it now. Elsewhere across the league, Swansea’s bid to survive was made worse when they lost to AFC Bournemouth, Everton picked up another smashing win to continue their unbeaten home record for 2017 and Leicester City picked up their first away win in the Premier League this season. Through all the entertainment, there were some standout stars and these were the best 11 of them.
Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton
Tom Heaton has been Burnley’s most important player all season long in this historic season for the club and came up big once again for the Clarets on Saturday against Sunderland. Burnley were quite comfortable in the first half, putting all of the pressure on the Black Cats, but in the second half something changed and Sunderland started to really come alive trying to claim a victory. But luckily for Sean Dyche’s men, Tom Heaton was up to the task and was pivotal in keeping the ball out of the back of the net, making 5 stunning saves. The British goalkeeper also made 1 claim, won 1 duel in the air and secured his 7th clean sheet of the season. Although Burnley haven’t won a game 7 matches, 2016-17 has still be an incredible season for the club and one in which Tom Heaton has established himself as one of the league’s top goalkeepers. Rating: 9/10.
Right Back: Craig Dawson
He struggled to find the net all season until a few weeks ago but all of a sudden Craig Dawson is one of the best goal-scoring defenders in the Premier League again. With two goals against Arsenal, Dawson took West Brom to new heights this week, helping them claim their first victory against top seven side this season. The British defender was just a beast in Arsenal’s box, thundering in two headers from set-pieces to snatch out a win for his side in surprising circumstances. The West Brom right-back was also solid defensively, winning 3 duels in the air and making 4 clearances to help the Baggies dominate over Arsenal. Craig Dawson has been a great soldier for Tony Pulis over the years at West Brom and this will be a game the 26-year-old remembers for a very, very long time. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Back: David Luiz
Even if Chelsea were unable to win against Stoke City on Saturday, the entire team defended excellently well, particularly David Luiz who was there to cut out every single attack Stoke had. David Luiz’s defending was excellent. The Brazilian’s positional sense was just fantastic and he always waited for exactly the right moment to make a challenge, never making any mistakes. Luiz was fantastic in the tackle and his reading of the game against Stoke was highly impressive, making 7 interceptions and 7 clearances! He was also strong in the air, winning 3 aerial duels including the header from the corner kick that led to Gary Cahill’s late goal. David Luiz is just an exceptional defender and has been so impressive and so influential for Chelsea this season in what has been an almost seamless season for the Blues. Rating: 9.5/10.
Left Back: Leighton Baines
Again Leighton Baines comes up with a massive performance for Everton. He’s been so underrated throughout his career and since the turn of the year has probably been the best left-back in the league without receiving any recognition at all for it. How on earth he was left out of Southgate’s recent and wacky England squad is beyond me when he’s been such a standout star for a side in such fantastic form. Baines was excellent against Hull City, not just defensively in helping his team keep a clean sheet, but also offensively as he always is, troubling Hull’s back-line all game long with sumptuous balls into the box for Lukaku and Valencia to get on the end of. In total, the British left-back created 3 chances for his teammates to score on Saturday, coming up unlucky to go the game without an assist. He was also great in possession, completing 88% of his passes and was fantastic in defense, making 3 tackles and 2 clearances. Leighton Baines is the best left-back in the league at the moment and was just so unlucky to be snubbed by Gareth Southgate’s England squad for March’s qualifiers. Rating: 8.5/10.
Defensive Midfield: N’Golo Kante
This could be said over and over again but without N’Golo Kante, Chelsea would have had a whole lot harder of a time at winning their match on Saturday. Kante like Luiz, was there to break up every Stoke attack and the Potters could hardly ever find a route passed him. We all know what Kante does best and on Saturday against Stoke he illustrated once again just how good he is at the defensive side of the game, making 6 tackles, 4 interceptions and 3 clearances! His underrated passing game was also crucial to Chelsea in this match, helping to keep the ball moving and acting as the architect in that steady midfield. The 25-year old completed nearly 89% of his passes against the Potters while also creating 1 chance and touching the ball 85 times, only surpassed by Luiz. N’Golo Kante is the best player in the Premier League at the moment and may well be on his way to winning not just the title for a second year in a row, but also quite possibly the PFA Player of the Year award. Rating: 9/10.
Right Wing: Willian
Willian has been unfortunate to miss out in place of Pedro Rodriguez this season but whenever he’s been involved in Chelsea’s matches has always performed to his best. With his fantastic display against Stoke City, the Brazilian midfielder has now made more Team of the Week Appearances this season despite not regularly appearing in the side than he did when he was Chelsea’s Player of the Season in 2015-16. The Brazilian midfielder was exceptional against Stoke, full of energy and vibrancy while being the main provider of chances. Willian set up three goal scoring opportunities for his teammates in the match, and scored from a phenomenal free kick to give the Blues the lead. The right winger also completed 3 take-on’s, completed 2 tackles and had 68 touches to help lead Chelsea to victory. Willian is so unlucky not be a regular in this fantastic Antonio Conte side and every single time he plays for the Blues he always has a significant impact. Rating: 8.5/10.
Attacking Midfield: Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez had an atrocious first half of the 2016-17 season but since Craig Shakespeare took over as manager, the Leicester City man is back to his best again and is playing exactly as he did when he won the PFA Player of the Year last year. Mahrez has been exceptional in every single game he’s played in the month of March and was even the standout star of the UEFA Champions League this week, winning The Mastermind‘s Player of the Week award! Although not being able to have as incredible of an influence as he did this past Tuesday, the Algerian midfielder was still fantastic and was Leicester’s standout player again this weekend. The wing wizard scored a brilliant goal, completed 5 take-on’s, and continues to show his improved defensive side of the game with 3 tackles and 1 clearance against West Ham United. Riyad Mahrez was Leicester’s star player this week as they claimed a 3-2 victory over West Ham United and it is great to see the Algerian back to his best again. Rating: 9/10.
Attacking Midfield: Manuel Lanzini
Filling the boots of Dimitri Payet excellently well and surpassing the expectations of him when he first arrived at the club, Manuel Lanzini has been sensational since the start of the year. The Argentinean midfielder is flourishing in his new starring role in Slavan Bilic’s side as a number 10 even despite not being able to lead his side to as many victories as Payet was able to during his time in London. West Ham may have lost against Leicester City this weekend, but Manuel Lanzini was still the best player on the pitch and nearly led them to a fantastic comeback. He’ll likely only be remembered for his fantastic free kick in this match that gave West Ham a fighting chance at getting this match but he did so much more than that. Highly influential whenever he found himself with the ball at his feet, Lanzini dazzled his way around Leicester’s defense with 4 successful take-on’s, 3 chances created, 2 fouls drawn and the distinction of never being dispossessed. Two of his three shots were also on target and he helped out in defense with 3 tackles and 3 interceptions! Manuel Lanzini is proving to be a complete midfielder for West Ham United and is proving to be practically just as effective as Dimitri Payet was for Slavan Bilic’s side. Rating: 10/10.
Left Wing: Jessie Lingard
Going into the international break in positive form, Jessie Lingard was Manchester United’s best player against Middlesbrough this weekend. The British midfielder was the club’s liveliest player, always looking to get on the ball and make things happen for his side. Lingard was just full of running power all game long, working his socks off for his team. He danced his way around Boro’s defence on several occasions, four times in fact, including on the build up to his superb long range effort that sent United 2-0 up. He also had 4 shots, created 2 chances and made 2 defensive actions. The 24-year old put in a brilliant performance, scored a fantastic goal and was Manchester United’s most important player on Sunday, leading them to an easy 3-1 win. Rating: 9/10.
Striker: Joshua King
Joshua King is in the form of his life right now and is having his best ever season at AFC Bournemouth. King has scored 11 Premier League goals so far, more than any other Bournemouth player and he’s also stolen the show in two matches in a row now. King was the star of Bournemouth’s fantastic 3-2 victory over West Ham United last week and again led the charge this weekend against Swansea as the Cherries claimed their first back-to-back victories in the league this season. King was just phenomenal for Eddie Howe’s men against Swansea, leading their high press and leading every single one of their attacks as the Cherries claimed a 2-0 victory. King troubled Swans goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with 4 shots and also proved to be Bournemouth’s key creator, teeing up three goal-scoring chances. He also completed 5 take-on’s, and did his defensive duties with 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 clearances. Joshua King has been so influential to Bournemouth’s recent success in both attack and defense and without them the Cherries might not have won either of their two recent victories. Rating: 10/10.
Striker: Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku is absolutely on fire at the moment. Everton were just cruising through this game at 1-0 with ease until Hull’s Tom Huddlestone got sent off and the Toffees took it to the next level under the leadership of Lukaku. The big Belgian came alive to score two great goals and assist another in the final fifteen minutes as Everton ended up thrashing the Tigers by a score of 4-0. Lukaku had a total of six shots in the match, putting a constant amount of pressure on Marco Silva’s men, while he also completed 2 take-on’s and completed 83% of his passes. After contributing to 75% of Everton’s four goals, Romelu Lukaku just could not be left off of this week’s Team of the Week! Rating: 10/10.
Formation: (3-5-2) – Heaton, C. Dawson, Luiz, Baines, Kante, Willian, Mahrez, Lanzini, Lingard, King, Lukaku
Substitutes: Kasper Schmeichel, Eric Bailly, Ashley Young, Nacer Chadli, Enner Valencia, Dele Alli, Andy Carroll
Player of the Week: Romelu Lukaku
Can anyone stop Romelu Lukaku at the moment? He’s just been uncontrollable in the Premier League these past few weeks and is scoring for fun against every side he comes up against. With a brace and another assist, the big Belgian has now scored 9 goals in his last 5 games at Goodison Park. In addition to his two goals and one assist on Saturday, Lukaku also troubled the Tigers with six shots, complted 2 take-on’s and found a teammate with 83% pf his passes. Romelu Lukaku is more important to Everton than perhaps any other player in the league is to their team and this week picks up his second Player of the Week Award of the season!
Manager of the Week: Jose Mourinho
There were several standout managerial performances this weekend, making it one of the toughest weeks to pick a Manager of the Week. Koeman and Conte have received the most Manager of the Week awards this season and both had fantastic performances again but that is a contributing factor to why this week, The Mastermind has decided to go a different route with Jose Mourinho. Mourinho initially introduced the incredibly popular 3-4-3 formation to Manchester United last week in an attempt to match Antonio Conte’s side and since that match is now two games unbeaten with the formation. This new switch up has re-introduced players like Eric Bailly and Ashley Young into the side and even managed to get the best out of Marouane Fellaini on Sunday. All three players in fact flourished against Middlesbrough on Sunday as Bailly was a standout at the back, Young assisted a goal and was excellent defensively, and similarly Fellaini scored a goal and was also excellent defensively. The Manchester United manager also re-introduced Jessie Lingard against Boro, which proved to be an incredibly smart addition as the 24-year old was United’s standout player on the day. The Portuguese manager’s tactics were also great on the day as the moment he went 2-0 up, he put on a fourth centre back, went with an incredibly defensive formation and then held out for the lead, playing on the counter attack where they were able to grab a late Antonio Valencia goal. Jose Mourinho has certainly impressed in recent months as Manchester United boss and although this season may not turn out as good as they might have hoped, the future certainly looks bright for the Red Devils with the Portuguese manager in charge.
So there it is! The Team, Player and Manager of the Week for Gameweek 29 in the Premier League! Like what you read? Click the follow button or follow us on Twitter @raadesmo for more great posts like this every single week. See you next time!