Each week we delve through the Premier League’s weekend action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.
A big round of midweek action saw the the race for the top four and relegation battle heat up, with Newcastle thrashing West Ham in a statement of their Champions League credentials.
Manchester United climbed back into the top four after beating Brentford, while Brighton and Aston Villa continued their fine form.
Following the midweek action, here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Jason Steele – Brighton
Jason Steele has grown into his role as Brighton’s number one in recent weeks and produced a strong performance as the Seagulls won at Bournemouth.
Steele saved well from Jefferson Lerma in the second half and was a solid presence when required, as Brighton kept a clean sheet and continued their push for European football. His introduction to the side has surprised some, but the 32-year-old has taken his chance since replacing Robert Sanchez. His distribution was good as Brighton built from the back.
"We are a team full of guys who don't need plaudits! We know what we give every day!" #BHAFC goalkeeper Jason Steele speaks after a 2-0 victory at Bournemouth, now just four points off the UEFA Champions League places! pic.twitter.com/BmuBU5cPOk
— BBC Sport Sussex (@BBCSussexSport) April 4, 2023
Right-back: Reece James – Chelsea
James was an outlet all evening during Chelsea’s goalless draw with Liverpool, as the England right-back glided past challenges and got Chelsea up the pitch on several occasions.
He was unfortunate to see a brilliantly-taken goal ruled out for a fractional offside, in a performance which showed signs that James is returning to his best after a challenging period. Chelsea will need the defender fit and firing in the coming weeks, with his role crucial at both ends of the pitch.
The 23-year-old will face one of the most difficult tasks in world football when he comes up against Vinicius Junior, as Chelsea take on Real Madrid in the Champions League next week.
Centre-back: Michael Keane – Everton
A night of up and down emotions for Michael Keane, whose redemption at Everton continued with a crucial goal against Spurs. Having been on hand in the first half to clear a goal-bound effort off the line, a clumsy challenge from the centre-back conceded a penalty which Harry Kane converted to open the scoring for Spurs after the break.
As time appeared to be running out, Keane went from zero to hero. The defender took on a strike from distance and was rewarded with a spectacular outcome, as Keane’s last-minute thunderbolt flew into the top corner to earn Everton a valuable point in their fight for survival.
Michael Vincent Keane. pic.twitter.com/lFvyqUTHzu
— Everton (@Everton) April 3, 2023
Centre-back: Lisandro Martinez – Manchester United
Manchester United’s best player, again.
Erik ten Hag needed a response from his side after three games without a win and the Red Devils edged Brentford 1-0 climb back into the top four. Martinez was near faultless for the home side, as he crashed into challenges and conducted the game from the back with pinpoint distribution.
Lisandro Martinez’s game by numbers vs. Brentford:
92% pass accuracy
70 passes completed
7 bal recoveries
6/7 ground duels won
5 long balls completed
5 tackles won
1/1 dribble completed
Immense display. pic.twitter.com/pSDljjIxhy
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 5, 2023
The combative Argentine recorded a 92% pass accuracy and won 6/7 ground duels, a performance which typified his excellent first season at Old Trafford.
Left-back: Alex Moreno – Aston Villa
A bright performance from the Aston Villa left-back, who has proven a shrewd signing since his £12m arrival from Real Betis in January.
Moreno marauded forward from his full-back station and linked well with Emi Buendia on the left, producing quality whenever in possession without neglecting the defensive side of his game. Villa’s 2-1 win at Leicester continued their fine form under Unai Emery, who has transformed this team since replacing Steven Gerrard.
And 3 more points that we got!! we want more !! Saturday at our house! Villa Park @AVFCOfficial pic.twitter.com/Rhfcquz8V3
— Álex Moreno (@AlexMoreno) April 4, 2023
Only Arsenal have taken more points than Villa since Emery’s arrival and Europe cannot be ruled out if their current form continues.
Midfield: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
Back like he’d never been away.
If there was any argument needed (there wasn’t) over whether to hand N’Golo Kante a new contract at Chelsea, then this was it. Kante returned to the starting side against Liverpool and produced a fine performance in the Chelsea midfield, one which saw the 32-year-old create three chances, win five duels and regain possession on eight occasions.
How good is it to see N'Golo Kante back on the pitch? pic.twitter.com/O7i6xQet6U
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) April 4, 2023
His combination of unmatchable work-rate and under-rated technical ability shone through, against a Liverpool midfield whose issues are more apparent with each passing game. Graham Potter will be frustrated he was not able to call upon the services of the Frenchman, but Kante’s return will benefit the new manager.
Real Madrid will not be pleased to have seen Kante shine on his return, as the two teams go head-to-head in the Champions League next week. The midfielder has previous when it comes to facing the Spanish giants in Europe.
Midfield: Marc Roca – Leeds
Marc Roca produced his best performance in a Leeds shirt as Javi Gracia’s side came from behind to beat Nottingham Forest. The Spaniard was excellent on and off the ball, conducting the game with superb distribution and working tirelessly out of possession.
He led the game for chances created (3), completed 87.5% of his passes, won seven duels and made eight ball recoveries, in a performance of control in the Leeds midfield. Alongside an encouraging display from Weston McKennie, the duo set the tone for a crucial win at Elland Road.
What a performance!
Thanks to this amazing crowd, Love y’all @LUFC #MOT pic.twitter.com/q2Kd47pGcx
— Marc Roca Junqué (@marcroca21) April 4, 2023
Midfield: Joelinton – Newcastle
Joelinton was back to his bulldozing best as Newcastle thrashed West Ham 5-1 to record a fourth consecutive Premier League win.
The Brazilian was in brilliant form after returning to the side and doubled the Magpies’ lead after rounding Lukasz Fabianski to slot home. Joelinton added a second after driving forward and firing across Fabianski, a goal which put the finishing touch on a five-star performance from Eddie Howe’s team.
Joelinton. That's the Tweet. pic.twitter.com/VvQSbf0q6N
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 5, 2023
It’s hard to think of a better transformation than Joelinton at Newcastle, who has been a player reborn since Howe’s arrival at St James’ Park. Momentum appears with the Magpies, who are chasing down a place in the Champions League.
Forward: Callum Wilson – Newcastle
Callum Wilson just loves playing against West Ham.
Wilson continued his excellent record against the Hammers with two goals in Newcastle’s big win at the London Stadium, a brace which extended his record to 12 goals in just 14 appearances against the Londoners.
Most goals scored against West Ham in Premier League history:
◎ 14 – Wayne Rooney
◎ 13 – Michael Owen
◉ 12 – Callum Wilson
The Newcastle striker has also scored twice as many goals against West Ham as he has against any other side. pic.twitter.com/LsoiWAtdix
— Squawka (@Squawka) April 5, 2023
Having found himself out of the side in recent weeks, the 31-year-old came off the bench to score against Manchester United last weekend and followed that performance with two goals in midweek. He headed home a brilliant first from Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross to open the scoring, before turning in Jacob Murphy’s centre as Newcastle made a quick-fire start to the second half.
Newcastle boast the division’s best defensive record and their forward options appear to have found form at a crucial time. It’s a combination that could lead to a Champions League return.
Forward: Evan Ferguson – Brighton
Another goal for a teenage talent fast emerging as one of the Premier League’s most exciting prospects. Ferguson made it eight goals in all competitions this season with an instinctive finish, as Brighton won 2-0 at Bournemouth to maintain their push for Europe.
It was a moment of genius from the 18-year-old who back-heeled Kaoru Mitoma’s cross into the far corner, a continuation of a fine few weeks for Ferguson who celebrated his full debut and a first international goal for Ireland last month.
What a finish from @Evan_Ferguson9 last night! @BrightonTools pic.twitter.com/voqmXVXu77
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) April 5, 2023
He appears in the ideal development to continue his rapid development at the Amex Stadium, but his list of admirers continues to enhance with each passing performance.
Forward: Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa
Ollie Watkins is bang in form right now.
Watkins made it eight goals in his last ten league appearances with the opener in Aston Villa’s 2-1 win at Leicester, a goal which saw the forward become the first Premier League player since Sergio Aguero in 2017 to score in six consecutive away games.
Watkins has revelled in his role leading the line for Unai Emery’s improving side, with the Spaniard having placed his faith in 27-year-old.
Ollie Watkins is the first player to score in six consecutive @PremierLeague away games since Sergio Agüero in 2017.
Beautifully set up by @DGOficial and @EM10Buendia. pic.twitter.com/nd4WW4ZgCZ
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) April 5, 2023
Emery is reaping the rewards of that trust and Watkins must surely be in Gareth Southgate’s thoughts for this summer’s internationals. He’s been a menacing threat in recent games, full of hard-running, strength and a clinical touch.
Read – Iconic Performances: Messi’s four-goal demolition of Arsenal
Read Also – Five of the most iconic goal celebrations in Premier League history: Cantona, Klinsmann, Fowler
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The post Premier League Team of the Week – Midweek action first appeared on The Football Faithful.