Gameweek 37 was one of the most important of all in the Premier League this season. Chelsea secured the title, Tottenham secured second and ended Manchester United’s hopes of reaching the top four in the process, while Swansea and Crystal Palace ensured their Premier League survival and sent Hull City down as a result. So much went on and through all the amazingness that was this weekend there were some fantastic performers and these are the best eleven of them.
Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet has had another relatively tough season in the Premier League with Liverpool, but since reclaiming the gloves from Loris Karius, he might have made it his best season at the club. Mignolet has been particularly superb in recent weeks and came up massively again against West Ham. The Belgian goalkeeper made 3 fantastic saves, claimed 2 crosses and completed 83% of his passes to have an all-around good goalkeeping performance and keeping his 8th clean sheet of the season. Rating: 8/10.
Right Back: Kyle Naughton
It’s taken him six years but Kyle Naughton has finally scored his first goal in the Premier League. Naughton was excellent against Sunderland this weekend, helping to lead Swansea to a 2-0 victory and probable safety. He was solid in defense, making 2 tackles, 3 interceptions and 5 clearances and going the other way he made his mark by scoring that thundering shot from outside the area. The former Spurs man has been positive all season long for Swansea City and certainly played a massive role in trying to help them ensure their survival on Saturday. Rating: 9/10.
Centre Back: Cesar Azpilicueta
Critical to Chelsea’s title clinching victory against West Bromwich Albion this week was Cesar Azpilicueta, the Blues’ ever-present rock-solid centre back. Azpilicueta’s transition from left/right-back over to centre-half this season has really just been seamless and towards the end of the season even when other players are beginning to tire, he is still playing some of his best football ever. Just like Chelsea’s match last week against Middlesbrough, Azpilicueta was constantly getting on the ball and had the second most amount of touches with 107 (only Fabregas had more). The Spaniard also took three shots, created 1 chances and delivered three crosses into the box, always playing a key role in the Blues’ attack. He also made 1 tackle, 1 interception and 3 clearances, not ever being beaten in defense. Most importantly it was he who assisted Chelsea’s fantastic title-clinching goal from Michy Batshuayi. Cesar Azpilicueta is just an amazing player and an an amazing defender and he arguably deserves this Premier League title more than anyone else. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Back: Phil Jagielka
Phil Jagielka has been amazing at the end of this 2016-17 season. He lost his place in Koeman’s side early on to Argentinean defender Ramiro Funes Mori, but he has now fully regained his spot in the XI and continues to be one of Everton’s most important players as they continue to try and challenge for a place in Europe next season. Jagielka was Everton’s most important player on Friday against Watford, leading his team to a clean sheet and assisting the only goal of the game, scored by Ross Barkley. The solid defender was also significantly good in the air, winning 7 headed duels and stuck to all of his defensive tasks well, making 3 interceptions and 16 clearances. Just when Phil Jagielka’s career at Everton seemed to be all but over, he continues to show everyone why he still has what it takes to play for one of this league’s top clubs. Rating: 10/10.
Left Back: Ben Davies
PFA Team of the Year member Danny Rose has only played half the games this season and he’s hardly even been missed at all with the wonders that Ben Davies has managed to achieve in his place. Apart from a bad day at the office against Liverpool, Davies has been brilliant down that left-hand side for Spurs and has ensured that Pochettino’s side continue to look perfectly balanced and never out of sorts whatsoever. He was very solid this weekend against Manchester United as well, assisting Wanyama’s goal, touching the ball more times (84) than any other Spurs player and also making 2 tackles and 2 interceptions. If someone were to come in for Danny Rose in the summer, Totenham already have a very good left-back that would be prepared to come into the team and fill the gap in Ben Davies. Rating: 8.5/10.
Defensive Midfield: Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijandlum was so highly industrious and influential on Sunday, helping Liverpool cruise to a simple 4-0 victory against West Ham United. The Hammers were coming into this game in high spirits having just set Tottenham back a peg a week earlier, but they just could not cope with Liverpool’s incredible lineup, led by men like Wijnaldum. The Dutch midfielder was a non-stop running and passing machine against the Hammers and he even assisted two goals, half of hose that Liverpool scored on the day. His passing really was exceptional, completing 93% of his passes, more than any other player for the Reds and coming up with two crucial assists. Georginio Wijnaldum has been such an underrated part of this Liverpool team and his role in helping them just about secure Champions League football on Sunday was absolutely integral. Rating: 10/10.
Defensive Midfield: Victor Wanyama
Victor Wanyama has been magnificent for Spurs this season and reminded us all of that again when he came up massively in Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Manchester United. It was Wanyama’s goal that got Pochettino’s side up and running against the Red Devils and allowed them to take control of the match. The Kenyan’s header to open the scoring was fantastic but he was also great the entire match in two key areas of the game – passing and tackling. The defensive midfielder completed 87% of his passes, completing all but one of his long ball passes and also helped out massively in defense with 5 great tackles. Victor Wanyama has been one of this season’s standout midfielders and even despite the big clubs that could come in for other Spurs players next season they will do just fine with this man in their midfield. Rating: 9/10.
Right Wing: Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho was absolutely incredible on Sunday, putting in what might just have been his best performance of the season as he led Liverpool to a wonderful 4-0 victory. Coutinho was constantly on the ball, constantly buzzing around and his finishing was just absolutely superb. He just seemed impossible to stop, dancing his way around Slavan Bilic’s side before picking picking out the perfect pass or finishing off the chance he just created for himself. With six chances created, six crosses and three shots, Coutinho really was just so impossible to stop and it’s not even as though he was even an inch wasteful, scoring two goals and assisting another. When the Brazilian is in this kind of mood it just seems absolutely unfeasible to stop him. He’s been the Reds’ key man this season once again and has now led them towards Champions League football for the first time since Luis Suarez left the club. Rating: 10/10.
Left Wing: Alexis Sanchez
After a blistering start to the season, it’s actually been quite a while since Alexis Sanchez has had a really stellar standout performance for Arsenal. It’s even his first Mastermind Team of the Week appearance in twelve games! But the Chilean was brilliant against Stoke and Arsenal’s quest to finish in the top four continues to look stronger with him in such good form again. In actuality, the reason why they probably started to fall away from that fight for top four was because his personal form (along with Ozil and Bellerin among others) dropped so significantly for a while there. On Saturday Alexis completed 5 take-on’s, forced 6 fouls and had a hand in half of Arsenal’s goals, scoring one and assisting another in a 4-1 victory. With Alexis Sanchez in this kind of form, Arsenal will finish in 5th at the very least, ahead of their arch rivals Manchester United and may even be able to sneak into 4th on the final day of the season. Rating: 10/10.
Centre Forward: Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud is a fantastic centre forward. Unfortunately he hasn’t been given enough of a chance to prove that to us this season. He was fantastic at Euro 2016 in helping France make it to the final, but he’s struggled to recover and rediscover his positive form of every other season he’s had at Arsenal. This is in fact easily the Frenchman’s worst season at Emirates Stadium and he hasn’t had too much to cheer about in 2016-17. However, Saturday against Stoke was perhaps Giroud’s best game of the season as he scored a brace and helped lead the Gunners to a 4-1 win. He actually only even had 26 touches in the match, which isn’t great, but what he did with those 26 touches was highly influential, scoring that brace, creating 2 chances and winning 3 duels in the air. Giroud still probably isn’t going to be Arsenal’s starting centre forward next season but he is a very capable striker and one that has been unlucky to spend so much time on the sidelines this season. Rating: 9.5/10.
Striker: Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke has ensured Crystal Palace’s survival this season with his performance against Hull City. The Belgian forward towered over Hull’s steadily strong defense, winning 8 duels in the air. But more importantly he scored a massive goal that took the game to 2-0 at the time. He also made 4 clearances, forced 2 fouls and took 4 shots, just having a massive impact on the way the Eagles played. Crystal Palace catered to Benteke’s strengths and that is why he was able to help them win in such an emphatic fashion just when they needed it most. Rating: 9/10.
Formation: 4-4-2 Mignolet, Naughton, Azpilicueta, Jagielka, B. Davies, Wijnaldum, Wanyama, Coutinho, Sanchez, Giroud, Benteke
Substitutes: Hector Bellerin, Marc Albrighton, Christian Eriksen, Ross Barkley, Willian, Joshua King, Michy Batshuayi
Player of the Week: Philippe Coutinho
Liverpool’s match against West Ham ends up nowhere near a 4-0 win without the industrious Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian was absolutely on top of his game and on top of the opposition, rolling over West Ham United players as if they weren’t even there. Two goals, one assist, six chances created and an unbelievable performance worth remembering. Philippe Coutinho is this week’s Player of the Week and is now the only player in the league to win the honour on three separate occasions this season.
Manager of the Week: Antonio Conte
With slip ups to Crystal Palace and Manchester United, it’s taken a little bit longer than he would have liked, but Antonio Conte has finally secured Chelsea the 2016-17 Premier League title. He’s just been insanely good all season long, particularly since that great bit of tactical management in moving his team to a 3-4-3 and instilling a winning mentality in thier minds again. West Brom basically just set up to defend, with 11 men constantly behind the ball. Their only task was to stop Chelsea from winning the title on their ground, but they just couldn’t do it because of how lethal Conte’s men can be. Even with Costa, Hazard and Pedro misfiring, there was always going to be a goal coming for the Blues and Conte made the right decision in throwing Michy Batshuayi on late in the game. It was the Belgian who ended up scoring the goal that has officially won Chelsea the title, a substitute that Conte put on towards the end of the game. The Italian manager has hardly put a foot wrong all season since moving to a back three and it was never really in doubt but it’s finally come true this weekend as Chelsea will now lift the 2016-17 Premier League title.
So there it is! The Premier League Team of the Week for Gameweek 37! Chelsea won the title, Tottenham ensured they would finish 2nd place and Crystal Palace and Swansea both steered clear of the relegation zone. Make sure to be back here for the last edition of Team of the Week this season. See you then!