Deputising just like he was born to do, Jack Fantham once more fills in for Sam Bernard and takes an in depth look at this week’s standout performers. With Liverpool edging a thriller, United disappointing yet again and Chelsea denting Arsenal’s title hopes, it’s fair to say the Premier League delivered once again.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
The Spurs skipper once again makes it into Mr Bernard’s team of the week, producing a stunning save to deny Wilfried Zaha at 1-1 and keep his side in the match. Certainly, Alan Pardew was quick to claim that “We wouldn’t have lost the game if it hadn’t been for their goalkeeper”, and whilst those who watched the game will know this was perhaps an exaggeration, nothing can be taken away from the French international’s performance.
Defender: Patrick Van Aanholt (Sunderland)
Whilst Sunderland are certainly questionable defensively, this Dutch defender just can’t stop contributing goals, notching two in consecutive matches, a further two assists and an additional goal this season. Rifling home a vital equaliser for the Wearsiders in this relegation fixture against Bournemouth, he is certainly proving to be an astute acquisition from Chelsea.
Defender: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
Whilst his contact extension was met with intense criticism from many Chelsea fans, Ivanovic paid the Chelsea hierarchy’s faith back with a vintage performance which would not have looked out of place in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign of last season. Assisting Chelsea’s winning goal, it’s no accident Ivanovic’s return to form coincided with arguably Chelsea’s best win of the season.
Defender: Ashley Williams (Swansea)
Swansea’s solid captain was an absolute rock at the back for Francesco Guidolin’s side on Sunday, pumping away crosses like no tomorrow. He severed Deulofeu’s supply line into Lukaku – whom most expected to tear up a fragile Swansea – and inspired his side to a much much needed win.
Defender: Matt Targett (Southampton)
The young left back is the latest talent off the Saints production line, and has impressed with three clean sheets in his last three starts. With a good engine and excellent crossing ability, it’s no wonder Ronald Koeman pushed Bertrand into the left wing position to incorporate Targett into the starting eleven.
Midfielder: Danny Drinkwater (Leicester)
Leicester’s freshly labelled “Andrea Pirlo” (thanks for this, Christian Fuchs) may not quite have the same pedigree as his Italian counterpart, however he did chip in with Leicester’s first goal from outside the box this season. Additionally, a fourth assist of the season (incidentally, all of which have been for Jamie Vardy) cemented his position in this team of the week’s midfield.
Midfielder: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
With four goals in his last three games Firmino, who has looked tidy all season, is beginning to chip in with some goals. Utilised as a false nine by Klopp, I have cheekily snuck the Brazilian in as the number ten in this weeks 4-3-3 formation as he oozed class against Norwich. A beautifully taken second goal bodes well for Liverpool fans, if it is truly a taste of what’s to come.
Midfielder: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
The control, the flick over Jedinak, the volley – the goal cried Gascoigne. But it cried Hoddle as well, and Ginola and Anderton; this youngster has got it all. Skill, passing ability, an eye for goal, the potential Alli has is terrifying. The midfielder’s progression under Pochettino has certainly been staggering; much to the aid of Tottenham’s push for the top four.
Forward: Andre Ayew (Swansea)
Subject of intense transfer speculation, the experienced Ghanaian’s signing has proved to be a bit of a coup for Swansea. Scoring in four of their six wins this season, it was he who won the penalty for Sigurdsson to score their opener before picking up a goal of his own. The 3rd placed African Footballer of the Year will be pivotal in Swansea’ potential revival under Guidolin.
Forward: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
What more can be said about Sergio Aguero? Clinical finisher, lethal when fit, the Argentine showed his worth to City and turned his side’s poor performance into a point away to a West Ham side strong at home. Keeping him fit will be vital if City are to win the title this year.
Forward: Enner Valencia (West Ham)
The Ecuadorian forward, who has struggled with injury since signing for the Hammers, is clearly an important player for Bilic’s side when fit. Bagging twice, matching his opposite number in the process, the busy striker terrorised Otamendi all game and deserved both of his goals – in turn earning the final place in this week’s team.