By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- Both Manchester United and Everton seals double spots in GW22 Team of the Week after respective wins
- West Ham United and Southampton pull off surprise weekend wins, as Liverpool and Manchester City win again
- Defence wins out in stalemate at Cardiff City Stadium as Bluebirds and Terriers draw blank
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – Everton and Manchester United take the honours this week with double berths in our XI, but who else made the grade for Gameweek 22?
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Goalkeeper & Defenders
David de Gea (GK) – The Spaniard was back to his best in Sunday’s Game of the Week, putting in arguably the best goalkeeping performance of not just this Premier League season but many before, in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. De Gea did not have a save to make in the first half, but in the second he sprung to life as Spurs searched for an equaliser. The United keeper made 11 saves to keep Spurs out and ultimately win the game for his side. Whilst there were little in terms of World class saves by the Spaniard, his positioning was on point and saved everything that was thrown at him.
Florent Hadergjonaj (RB) – Huddersfield largely controlled the match against Cardiff on Saturday, but when called to defend the Swiss was on point. Hadergjonaj made four tackles and interceptions over the 90 minutes and put in two key passes as he tried to unlock the Cardiff defence.
Sol Bamba (CB) – Cardiff earned would could be a vital point against Huddersfield on Saturday and that is due to a resolute defence that kept the Terriers at bay. Huddersfield had 14 shots on goal but could not find a way through in large part down to the efforts of Bamba who was a rock at the back. The Frenchman also led the back line and made sure they kept their shape as they found themselves
Kurt Zouma (CB) – It was a good week for French defenders and Zouma was no exception as he bagged a goal and a clean sheet at home to Bournemouth. The Frenchman headed home Lucas Digne’s cross to give Everton the lead in the second half, and his efforts alongside Michael Keane kept the Cherries from getting back into the match. It was a much needed win too given the Toffee’s recent poor form.
David Luiz (CB – The Brazilian proved once again he is one of the best ball-playing centre backs in the league in Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Newcastle on Saturday. Luiz’s long ball found Pedro who opened the scoring early at Stamford Bridge before Willian scored the winner later on. Luiz has undergone somewhat of a revival under Maurizio Sarri and he continues to perform well for the Blues.
Lucas Digne (LB) – When you talk about signings of the season then you have to include Digne in that conversation. The Frenchman has been a revelation since joining from Barcelona in the summer, and once again he proved pivotal in an Everton win. Digne put in the cross that Zouma scored from which was his third assist of the season.
Jeff Hendrick (CM) – Burnley recorded their third win on the bounce after an alarming slide down the table and Hendrick was indirectly – literally – involved in both goals against fellow strugglers Fulham at Turf Moor. After Andre Schurrle has customarily given the Cottagers the lead in Lancashire with a thunderbolt effort, two own goals from Denis Odoi and Joe Bryan, saw Sean Dyche‘s men take a fortuitous three points, with no shots on target registered. Irishman Hendrick’s two effort took wicked deflection to find the net, and though to call them assists would be generous, his contributions were telling this Premier League weekend.
Declan Rice (CM) – An unsung hero in the West Ham engine room, Rice finally stole the headlines in the Hammers 1-0 win against Arsenal scoring the only goal of the game at the London Stadium. Rice, who is currently the property of the Irish national team has been instrumental in leading West Ham into the new era under Manuel Pellegrini and after doing many a hard mile for his side in midfield, toppled the Gunners this past weekend. The versatile defender made three interceptions and registered two tackles also.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) – Southampton have very much been on an up-turn in fortunes since the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl. Whilst Nathan Redmond was the catalyst in attack over the festive period, it was Ward-Prowse’s return to the limelight that led ten-man Saints to a surprise win at Leicester City. Scoring from the penalty spot versus the Foxes, the former England midfielder also made three key passes, as the visitors clung on for the win.
Marcus Rashford (ST) – Aside from de Gea’s heroics, Rashford’s lone goal of the game against the Lilywhites saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pick up his fifth win on the bounce. Having overcome their first real test since the Norwegian took over in the Red Devils’ dugout, the England striker continued his run of fine form, scoring a minute before the break following Paul Pogba‘s majestic long ball from midfield. With four goals and two assist in his last five league outings, Rashford continues to keep Romelu Lukaku on the bench and goes from strength to strength.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – On a Gameweek of few stellar striking performances, Jesus shone like a beacon as Manchester City toppled ten-man Wolves. The Brazilian netted early at the Etihad before converting a penalty as Pep Guardiola‘s men firmly drove home their advantage following Willy Boly‘s sending off. With Kun Aguero continuing to nurse a troublesome injury, Jesus has hit his straps with aplomb scoring a double on Sunday to add to his four against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup in midweek, together with a further effort in the FA Cup. Jesus is back to his best.
Do you agree with our picks?
Premier League Gameweek 23 Game of the Week sees Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening.
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