The Premier League continues to ramp up the excitement as the end of the year approaches. It’s officially into the second half and the no. of developments is staggering. Liverpool still maintain the undefeated record and it’s clear that everyone else has them pegged for champions. The ones with hope of eclipsing the Reds are probably worse off, sweating bullets 24x7. This week almost resulted in a second tie for Liverpool but Wolves were not strong enough despite a second win against Manchester City. City pushed closer to Leicester City while Man United jumped to 5th position. There was the big Chelsea v Arsenal game with Chelsea clinching victory, tightening the grip over the top 4 spot. A lot of great performances gave way to this interesting matchday.
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Here’s a look at some of them in the Team of the Week:
GK: Matt Ryan (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Brighton had a difficult game against Bournemouth but they were able to achieve victory. He was sharp and his reflexes were in fine form, which is why he made 2 crucial saves. He was just as strong in the air where he won 1 battle, helping his team maintain a clean sheet.
LB: Dan Burn (Brighton)
Another person that helped Brighton get those 3 points and a clean sheet along with it was Dan Burn. He was exceptionally strong on the left flank. His tackling and aerial presence were pivotal to the victory. Burn had 7 wins in the air along with 2 completed tackles. He also managed 3 interceptions
CB: Fabian Schar (Newcastle United)
Fabian Schar continues to be a critical player for Newcastle and despite the loss, he made his presence felt in a good sense. He showcased a level of grit and defensive intelligence that would’ve garnered them the victory in better days. He was exceptional in the air with 7 wins. He managed 1 tackle, 2 interceptions and 4 clearances.
CB: James Tomkins (Crystal Palace)
Keeping with the trend of being superb in the air is the next entry, James Tomkins. He was a big reason as to why Crystal Palace edged out with a draw against Southampton. Not only did he score the lone goal for his team, he was also crucial in defence, thwarting attacks as much as possible. He had 8 aerial victories, 1 tackle and a staggering 12 clearance proving beyond a doubt how much of rock solid defence he put forth.
RB: Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool)
Trent Alexander Arnold seems dead set to stand atop all the best fullbacks in the world. In the previous game he managed 1 goal and 3 assists. In this one, while he did not have such a boisterous output, it was vital. He was adept in both attack and defence, producing as many runs as he could. He had 2 dribbles throughout the game and 2 key passes. He also made 6 important clearance along with 1 tackle.
CM: Etienne Capoue (Watford)
Watford had the biggest victory of the week and Etienne Capoue had a huge role in that. He played a sharp cross to Ismaila Sarr for the 3rd goal. He was impressive throughout the game, helping immensely in both attack and defence. He managed 3 key passes, 2 dribbles and 2 tackles. He also made 5 clearances and 2 interceptions showcasing maximum effectiveness as a player.
CM: Kevin De Bruyne ( Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne is proving time and time again that he is not only one of the best in the PL but in the whole world and this week was testament to that yet again. He is Manchester City’s most crucial asset, constantly in the midst of the attacking play, making the most out of every ball that comes his way. That was the story in the recent 2-0 victory against Sheffield. He not only put another assist in the books with a nice pass to Aguero, but his goal itself was fantastic. His finishing was sublime and the goalkeeper had no chance as he rocketed the ball towards the bottom left. De Bryune had 2 shots on target, 2 tackles and 1 key pass.
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CM: Mario Vrancic (Norwich)
Mario Vrancic was Norwich’s best player on the field and he was imperative in them pulling a surprise draw against Mourinho’s Tottenham. His goal was clever and he utilized the gap left by Tottenham after being dispossessed. Vrancic was particularly strong in defence with 3 aerial wins and 3 successful tackle. He was essential in Norwich’s 2-2 draw.
LW: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Man United is slowly creeping up the table and this man is arguably the biggest reason why.His long distance shooting seems to get stronger with each game and was evidenced by his free kick early on in the game. He scored a goal where he won a 1-on-1 against the keeper. But the overall takeaway is that he’s become a very confident attacker and critical in putting Manchester United back on track. His dribbling was also impressive with the youngster managing 6 throughout the game. He also had 2 shots on target.
RW: Calvert Lewin (Everton)
While Calvert Lewin prefers the left, it would be wasteful to leave him out. He was Everton’s saviour in the 2-1 game against Newcastle. He was the attacking powerhouse they need in the game. He was exceptional in the air with 7 battles won. He managed 5 key passes showcasing a great level of attacking awareness and tenacity. He managed 3 shots on target. Most importantly both of the Everton goals came from him and while neither were jaw-dropping, his contribution was the most important.
ST: Troy Deeney (Watford)
Troy Deeney netted a brace for Watford and if Watford manage to get out of relegation this game and performance along with the previous victory against Man United will be touted among the games that turned it all around.His awareness and positioning were excellent, the latter skill helping him to open up the scoring. His penalty was also textbook. Watford needed an attacker to give them the crucial 3 points and Troy Deeney was the man to step up. Deeney had 3 shots on target and won the ball 4 times in the air. He also had 3 key passes throughout the game.