By Neil Leverett and Niall Clarke
- Arsenal, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are the winners of the week, after respective top flight wins
- Liverpool survive Anfield scare against Crystal Palace, whilst title rivals Manchester City dispatch Huddersfield Town
- Struggling Burnley pick up vital point away, whilst Southampton cling on for huge win versus Everton
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – A top flight trio all grab doubles spot in our Team of the Week, whilst one player keeps his place in Gameweek 23’s Premier League XI. But who?
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Goalkeeper & Defenders
Tom Heaton (GK) – After a lengthy spell out with injury and after seeing his place taken by Nick Pope and then Joe Hart in the Clarets’ goal, Heaton has been indirectly responsible for the resurgence of Burnley. Making four saves against and frustrating the Hornets Watford at Vicarage Road, Sean Dyche‘s men picked up their tenth point from a possible twelve in the last four league games.
Kiko Femenia (RB) – As the Hornets failed to break the Hertfordshire stalemate, like Heaton, Spanish full-back Femenia was a vital part of the Watford set-up both in defence and attack this past weekend. Sent in a cross, whilst making three tackles and completing four interception, as the the hosts at the very least ensured their defences would not be broken.
Fabian Schar (CB) – Newcastle’s Swiss centre-back has in the past been known for his goal-scoring proclivities for both country and former club FC Basel, and at St. James’ Park against a lacklustre Bluebirds side, Schar netted twice in the Magpies 3-0 romp on Tyneside. With his clean sheet, five clearances and two tackles to boot, the Switzerland international merits his place.
Laurent Koscielny (CB) – Arsenal have greatly their talismanic French defender with his troublesome achilles problem since the beginning of the season, but in the Gunners’ impressive 2-0 win over London rivals Chelsea, Koscielny was at his very best and scored the second for Unai Emery‘s charges. Converting with his shoulder, the centre-back won man of the match against the Blues for his further three interceptions.
Danilo (LB) – A trip to an at the time manager-less Terriers’ was always likely to be one of the easier tasks for Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City, however it took the versatile Brazilian to open the scoring on Sunday at the John Smiths’ Stadium. Making six tackles also against a game Huddersfield side who were out to prove them were no pushovers and live up to their nickname, Danilo‘s goal settled the nerves as goals from Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane saw the Citizens coast to a second half cruise.
Joao Moutinho (CM) – We billed it as One to watch and not only that, it turned into a Premier League classic. In the end it was Wolves who came out 4-3 winners over Leicester City on Saturday. The hosts controlled the opening exchanges and that is where Moutinho showed his quality alongside Ruben Neves in midfield. The Portuguese assisted Wolves’ first two goals, putting in some nice crosses for Diogo Jota and Ryan Bennett to finish.
James Ward-Prowse (CM) – It has been some transformation for Southampton since the arrival of Ralph Hasenhüttl, who have gone from relegation contenders to a potential mid-table finish since the Austrian took over. It has also seen a rise in form for Ward-Prowse who scored for the second week in a row in the Saints’ 2-1 win against Everton at St. Mary’s. The Englishman was at the top of his game on Saturday and he will be a key player for Southampton for the remainder of the campaign.
Isaac Hayden (CM) – In terms of all-rounded midfield performances over the weekend, there might not be one better than Hayden’s against Cardiff on Saturday. The Newcastle midfielder made four interceptions and three clearances defensively, and he also contributed a lot going forward. Hayden created three chances, took two shots and recorded one assist in The Magpies’ 3-0 victory.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – The Egyptian always seems to find his way into our Team of the Week and this weekend was no exception. Salah scored twice as Liverpool won a thrilling match against Crystal Palace 4-3 at Anfield. It was the wingers’ 50th and 51st goal in the Premier League in his 72nd appearance, and despite his controversial antics in the area, he deserves a place in our XI again.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – Arsenal put in arguably their most complete performance of the season in their 2-0 win over Chelsea at the Emirates, and Lacazette was a key part of the victory. The Frenchman scored the type of goal that reminded many of his days at Lyon to give Arsenal the lead over their London rivals. And his consistent pressure on the backline also meant Chelsea struggled to implement their game over the 90 minutes.
Diogo Jota (LW) – The Portuguese winger was one of the first names on our list as he was arguably the performer of the week. Jota netted a hat trick as his Wolves side won a thrilling encounter with Leicester 4-3 at Molineux. He opened the scoring with a neat finish from Moutinho’s cross and also grabbed a stoppage time winner as he converted Raul Jimenez’s pass with a tidy finish. It was his best performance of the season and he deserved the match ball at the end of it.
Premier League Gameweek 24 Game of the Week sees Liverpool entertain Leicester City at Anfield on Wednesday January 30th.
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