This week in England’s top flight, Chelsea secured a crucial win over Manchester City that probably secured the Blues the title, Everton came out with a hard-fought point against Manchester United and Hull City scrapped their way out of the bottom three with a win over Middlesbrough. Through all ten matches, there were many standout performers and these are the best 11 of them. This is the Team of the Week for Gameweek 31 in the Premier League! Enjoy!
Goalkeeper: Joel Robles
Joel Robles was brilliant against Manchester United, pulling off some stunning saves and nearly helping lead them to victory. It all fell apart for the Toffees at the end of the game but that was no fault of Robles, who was so good at the back for Koeman’s men all game long. On top of three world class saves, Robles also claimed five cross claims, just giving Manchester United no shot at winning balls in the air despite their countless number of attempts. It might not have been enough to help Everton win the match, but Joel Robles was excellent against the Red Devils and deserved to keep a clean sheet. Rating: 8.5/10.
Right Wing Back: Cedric Soares
Cedric Soares has attracted interest from both Manchester City and FC Barcelona for his performances at Euro 2016 with Portugal and Southampton this season in the Premier League. He’s been steady all season long and on Wednesday night had his best performance of the season, helping the Saints to a 3-1 win against the Eagles. Cedric was key for Southampton at both ends of the park. In attack he assisted 1 goal from 3 chances created and 6 crosses, while also taking 2 shots of his own. In defense he was stable and solid, making 4 clearances, 4 interceptions and 2 clearances; just completely taming Wilfried Zaha who had arguably his worst game of the season after coming off of his best game of the season. Cedric Soares was key at both ends of the pitch for Southampton on Wednesday and if he continues on like this that surprise big money move to City or Barcelona may happen after all. Rating: 9/10.
Centre Back: Phil Jagielka
Phil Jagielka has been a staple in Everton’s back-line for over a decade now but this season under Ronald Koeman has not been given a fair chance to shine in the side and has been replaced by Ramiro Funes Mori. However with Funes Mori’s injury, Jagielka was given his chance to play again and proved exactly why he is still a very capable footballer and can still have a major role to play for the Toffees down the line. Jagielka was in fact Everton’s best player on Tuesday as they narrowly secured a victory at Old Trafford. With a goal and a fantastic last-man tackle on Marcus Rashford, Jagielka was key for the Toffees at both ends and did everything he could possibly do to try and lead his side to victory. The club captain was fantastic in defense, blocking 2 shots, making 2 tackles, 3 interceptions and 8 clearances without making a single foul. In addition his goal almost took Everton above Manchester United in the table until what was practically the last kick of the game. Phil Jagielka was brilliant against Jose Mourinho’s United and was so unfortunate not to lead his side to a famous victory. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Back: Michael Keane
Both of Burnley’s centre backs were brilliant against Stoke City on Tuesday and both make this week’s Team of the Week. Starting with Michael Keane, the full England international has carried over his good form from the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers and continues to lead Burnley safely into next season. The solid centre back hardly put a foot wrong all match, going the entire 90 without committing a single foul and also being in the right place to snuff the ball away with 10 clearances! He also contributed massively with 5 interceptions, 5 aerial duels won, 1 tackle and 1 blocked shot, leading Burnley to another clean sheet. Michael Keane is one of the best defenders in England at the moment and I will be very surprised if a top six club does not come in with an offer for the British defender this summer. Rating: 9.5/10.
Centre Back: Ben Mee
Michael Keane may be the defender getting all the credit at Burnley, but Ben Mee has been equally good all season long and continues to quietly go about his business with very little recognition. His tally of 11 clearances was unsurprisingly more than any player on the pitch while like Keane, he also didn’t commit a single foul or defensive mistake. The 27-year old also like Keane won 5 duels in the air contributed massively in all areas of defence with 3 interceptions, 2 blocked shots and 1 tackle. His only shot in the match was also on target. Ben Mee was awesome against Stoke City, led the Clarets to an eighth clean sheet of the season and with his fantastic defensive performances definitely deserves to start getting more recognition as a very good defender in this league. Rating: 9.5/10.
Left Wing Back: Marc Albrighton
Until Marc Albrighton entered the frame in Leicester’s 2-0 win over Sunderland, the Black Cats were the far more likely side to get a goal. But Shakespeare’s substitution of Gray out and Albrighton in, completely changed the match and inspired the Foxes to a comfortable 2-0 victory. His work ethic and energy were just second to none in that final thirty minutes and completely changed the tempo of Leicester’s play as they became far more dominant and went on to grab two goals. Both of those goals came from amazing cross-field passes from the British winger as he put the ball on a plate for Slimani in the 69th before working tremendously hard to get the ball to Vardy in the 78th. Two assists in thirty minutes is absolutely amazing, especially for a player who had to start 2/3 of the game sitting on the bench. Marc Albrighton doesn’t have to settle for the bench on this team though as he is straight into the Best XI of Matchday 31 for his amazing performance against Sunderland. Rating: 9.5/10.
Centre Midfield: Dele Alli
Dele Alli is truly the next Frank Lampard and with the way he’s going he might even become the better player than the Chelsea legend. His movement into the box and knack for scoring crucial goals is just unlike anything else seen from a midfielder in this league since Lampard and what he has managed to do for Spurs this season is absolutely unbelievable. Just when it was looking like Spurs were about to lose this match to Swansea City and be out of the title race for good, Alli popped up with a crucial tap-in to get them back into the match. That goal inspired Spurs to go on and score two more, which Dele again was at the forefront of; even assisting Eriksen’s last-minute strike. Alli was excellent in all areas of the game against the Swans, creating 3 chances, taking 4 shots, completing 86% of his passes and making 2 tackles. Dele Alli is truly one of the best players not just in the Premier League but in the world right now and he’s still only 20 years old. Rating: 9.5/10.
Attacking Midfield: Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is back! Mr. Inconsistency has seemingly been injured for what seems like months now but came straight back into the side after returning from that injury to help lead Arsenal to a 3-0 victory. The German midfielder was essential to Wenger’s team on Wednesday as he scored a goal and assisted another while also proving teammates with a countless number of chances to score, which we actually counted to be 5. Ozil who often gets criticized for not getting involved enough in matches, was all over this one, touching the ball 117 times, completing 93 passes and making 2 interceptions. Highly influential in attack, West Ham never had a shot when Mesut Ozil was in possession of the ball and the German proved to be the inspiration to a 3-0 win. Rating: 10/10.
Right Wing: Nathan Redmond
As a way of celebrating his first cap for England last week, Nathan Redmond continued his good form in the Premier League, leading Southampton to a crucial 3-1 victory against Crystal Palace. Redmond was phenomenal against the Eagles and Sam Allardyce’s side had no idea how to handle him as their most capped Premier League player ever Joel Ward was exposed yet again. With 5 chances created and 4 shots, the Southampton winger was just constantly buzzing like a bee around Palace’s defence, providing numerous opportunities for Southampton to score. Despite always trying the most intricate of passes, Redmond completed 94% of his passes, more than any other player on the pitch to make more than one pass. He also proved to be quite well-rounded in his game, making 2 tackles, winning 2 duels in the air, drawing three fouls and scoring one great goal. Nathan Redmond is one of the rising stars in this league and could be set for an incredible season in 2017/18. Rating: 9.5/10.
Centre Forard: M’Baye Niang
M’Baye Niang has been anonymous for Watford weeks but came to life on Tuesday night to lead his side to a smashing victory. With their 2-0 win against West Brom thanks to Niang, the Hornets surely are safe now, with no shot at being relegated at all. Niang was a constant presence down the wing and with his verve and energy, West Brom’s aging defence hardly had a chance. The Senegalese forward had 3 shots and created 2 chances in the match, scoring one and assisting another as he contributed to both goals in brilliant fashion. The Watford winger also added 2 successful take-on’s and 2 fouls drawn to his resume, just causing all sorts of problems for the Baggies. M’Baye Niang was the best player on the pitch on Tuesday and deservedly picks up his second Team of the Week appearance of the season. Rating: 9/10.
Left Wing: Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard was absolutely outrageous on Wednesday night as he secured a crucial 2-1 for Conte’s side as the Blues now look to have sewn up the title for good. The Belgian winger scored both of Chelsea’s goals and was just absolutely everywhere on the field, involved in everything good from a Chelsea perspective. His twists and turns were outstanding, just dancing around City’s defenders and making them look silly while also setting himself free to create a multitude of chances for teammates to score. The wing wizard’s talent in attack was just on full display against the Sky Blues, creating 3 chances, having 3 of his 4 shots on target, completing 3 dribbles, and drawing 3 fouls. But it wasn’t just about individual brilliance for Hazard, his work for the team was exceptional, always looking for passes and helping out in defense with 4 interceptions and 1 tackle. Eden Hazard was brilliant on Wednesday and led Chelsea to a very important 2-1 win as the Blues look to certainly be untouchable now. Rating: 10/10.
Formation: 3-4-3: Robles, Jagielka, Keane, Mee, Cedric, Alli, Ozil, Albrighton, Redmond, Niang, Hazard
Substitutes: Harry Maguire, Steve Cook, Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Eriksen, Philippe Coutinho, Jamie Vardy, Troy Deeney
Player of the Week: Eden Hazard
Chelsea had 18 touches in Manchester City’s box on Wednesday and Eden Hazard had 9 of them. That just shows how influential the Belgian winger is to Chelsea’s attack and how crucial he was to this pivotal victory. Hazard was unbelievable against the Citizens, not just for his goals. He helped out in defense with 4 interceptions, he always had his head up, looking for teammates with 3 chances created and he danced his way around City’s defense with 3 dribbles and 3 fouls drawn. But we can’t forget to mention that without his goals, Chelsea very well may not have won this match. Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Manchester City was massive for the Blues as they now look to have sewn up the title, and Eden Hazard was the key reason why as he has been practically all season long.
Manager of the Week: Antonio Conte
Although Ronald Koeman and Sean Dyche both deserve credit for securing impressive results for their teams this week in impressive fashion, Antonio Conte has to be the Manager of the Week this week. This isn’t the first time I’ve said this but this may be looked back on as the week that Chelsea officially won the Premier League as how can Spurs possibly catch them now? Conte was brilliant against Manchester City as he has been all season and as the Blues catered to Hazard in an attempt to really exploit Navas and Fernandinho, Chelsea just completely dominated whenever they were in attack. Getting Hazard on the ball at every opportunity proved to be Chelsea’s success this week as the Belgian was just phenomenal. Starting Azpilicueta at right-wing-back also proved to be a smart move by the Italian manager as he popped up with an early assist, while taking off Zouma at half time and implementing Matic back into the midfield proved equally effective in keeping Manchester City out. Pep Guardiola’s men could have easily secured themselves a draw in this match but they didn’t and Antonio Conte deserves a whole lot of credit for that.
So there it is! The Premier League Team of the Week for Gameweek 31! Who do you think should have made the team? Comment below to join the discussion and be sure to follow on Twitter for more updates all the time. See you soon!
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