EPL 2016-17: Team of the Week - Gameweek 21
Manchester City’s downfall at the hands of Evertonian teenagers might have never happened if this weekend’s fixtures had been postponed due to weather conditions in the United Kingdom. Gameweek 21, however, played itself out on schedule as Tottenham Hotspur kicked things off with a convincing victory over West Bromwich Albion. Arsenal and Chelsea stayed on track with wins of their own but the real contest of the week was the match between bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.
West Ham United pulled off a big win against London rivals Crystal Palace in the absence of Dmitri Payet as Hull City, Stoke and Burnley won their games quite unexpectedly. With the action of yet another week at an end, here’s a look at Sportskeeda’s Premier League Team of the Week:
Victor Valdes was undoubtedly the hero of the night for Middlesbrough as the Spaniard kept Watford at bay for 90 minutes despite their numerous chances. The former Barcelona keeper made two saves within the first half hour of the game denying Abdoulaye Doucoure and Stefano Okaka. Valdez was called into action once again soon after the start of the second half but kept Okaka out successfully yet again. His final save of the night was a crucial one as he kept out Etienne Capoue’s shot in the final minutes of the game.
The Everton right-back had a glorious time at Goodison Park on a rain-lashed night as his team downed Manchester City by four goals. Not only was he highly effective at keeping Guardiola’s men out, but ensured they were disorganised and sub-par in their final third machinations. Coleman wrapped up his night with an assist for Everton debutant Ademola Lookman as John Stones failed to deal with his pass to the new signing. Playing in a 3-6-1 formation, the Irish defender was a real threat going forward against City.
Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny had a comfortable game against Swansea who failed to test the Frenchman in spite of a change in management at the club. Establishing command in and around his penalty area, the 31-year-old was able to make up for a couple of Shkodran Mustafi’s mistakes as he himself dealt with Fernando Llorente with much ease. He was also strong in the air as he gave the Swans very little leverage.
West Ham centre-back Winston Reid managed a clean sheet against London rivals Crystal Palace. In a game of two halves, the New Zealand defender had his work cut out for him as the Eagles proved to be a threatening force during the first 45 minutes. His work was made easier as his side quickly gained the upper hand in the second half. Cutting off Palace attacks, the 28-year-old was strong in the air as he headed away any imminent danger.
Marcos Alonso was Chelsea’s unlikely hero in the absence of striker Diego Costa. The Spaniard took everyone by surprise after his brace more or less clinched a victory for the Blues against defending champions Leicester City. His first goal came from open play as he finished off the move with a strike with his weaker right foot.His second came from a set piece as he beat Schmeichel in the second half. The 26-year-old’s night was only bettered by yet another clean sheet as he blocked any kind of Leicester attack originating on the left flank.
With Dmitri Payet on strike, it was up to the lesser stars of West Ham United to hand their side a much-needed three points from their clash against Crystal Palace. England international Michail Antonio revealed himself to be the provider as he set up all three goals for Slaven Bilic’s side. The 26-year-old ran past Wayne Hennessey to cut it back across goal Sofiane Fegouli for the first.
The second goal was a result of some acrobatic deftness from Andy Carroll as the striker rose to meet Antonio’s cross and the third was an assist for Manuel Lanzini.
Mousa Dembele has really come into form this season forming a marvellous partnership with Victor Wanyama in the middle of the park. Considering West Brom’s recent form, the Belgian put in immense hard work in midfield to ensure the Baggies had very few chances. His passing was accurate with an attention to detail as very few of his deliveries went astray. The 29-year-old was a formidable presence as he stared down the opposition with successful take-ons and recoveries.
What a night Tom Davies had against Manchester City! The 18-year-old academy graduate had the night of his life as he turned out to be one of the driving forces of Everton’s victory against Guardiola’s side. Not only was his performance in midfield outstanding but the youngster sealed off an already great game with a goal of his own 11 minutes before the final whistle.
After picking up the ball in his own half, Davies skipped past two City defenders to set up his own goal. The fact that he had the audacity to put in between Claudio Bravo’s legs shows the confidence that was oozing through his veins.
Austrian midfielder Marko Arnautovic was not having a good season until they travelled to the Stadium of Light for their match against Sunderland. His brace sent the Black Cats to 19th as the Potters rose to the top half of the table.
The 27-year-old scored in the 15th minute after he escaped the notice of a Sunderland defender. Even though his first attempt on goal was blocked, he made sure his shot on the rebound found the back of the net. His second was a result of some fine one-two play between him, Xherdan Shaqiri and Peter Crouch as he fired high to beat Vito Mannone.
Harry Kane kicked off the weekend with a hat-trick for his side as Tottenham Hotspur laid waste to a usually decent West Bromwich Albion. He converted Christian Eriksen’s piercing pass into the top left corner of the net within 12 minutes of the first half. His second came much later in the game as he met Kyle Walker’s bouncing pass and fired it past Ben Forster. He wrapped up their victory with a third after a one-two with Dele Alli as his tally of goals for the season rose to 13.
Hull City pulled off a surprising win against Bournemouth after they kept Liverpool at bay in the EFL Cup during midweek. Abel Hernandez gave the Tigers some room to breathe as they rose to 18th position after their 3-1 victory. The 26-year-old equalised for Hull after Junior Stanislas gave the Cherries an early lead. After his two-month absence, the Uruguayan striker headed in a deep cross from Andy Robertson. Hernandez then gave his side the lead in the second half as he cut inside two defenders and executed a low finish past Artur Boruc.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman may have 99 problems but getting the best of Pep Guardiola and his multi-million euro side isn’t one. Deploying a 3-6-1 formation against the Citizens, Koeman’s men quickly established the upper hand going forward even though City controlled most of the possession. All kinds of credit are due to the Dutch manager for entrusting youngsters like Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman to see his side through against an intimidating opposition.
Guardiola’s men had no fitting response to the 53-year-old’s tactics as they looked disorganised and flustered at the back. Everton’s outstanding performance was a treat to the eyes as the Manchester side lost their second league game in three weeks.