Team of the Week: Week 16

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Goalkeeper

David De GeaDe Gea

It has been incessantly repeated time and again this season but David De Gea remains Manchester United’s most important player and he proved it once again with a brilliant performance against Liverpool on Sunday night.

While the 3-0 score line suggests that United enjoyed a comfortable victory, Liverpool did create a host of chances throughout the match and it was De Gea who stood firm to deny the Reds from scoring.

The Spaniard thwarted Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli time and again, and the performance deservedly earned the young goalkeeper the man of the match award.

Defence

Antonio ValenciaValencia

United’s defensive crisis has meant that Antonio Valencia has had to fill in at right back on many occasions this season and it has to be said that the Ecuadorian star is acquitting himself very well.

Valencia put in another fine performance at right back during the 3-0 victory over Liverpool on Sunday. The usual winger was very effective on the night both in defence as well as in attack.

It was Valencia’s marauding run down the right in the first half that led to United’s first goal and his overall display throughout was very solid.

Eliaquim MangalaMangala

The most expensive defender in the history of the Premier League has endured a tough start to life in England but Eliaquim Mangala is finally coming to grips with the English game.

On the back of his fine performance against Roma in the Champions League, Mangala put in another very good display at the back during the Champions 1-0 victory over Leicester City.

The match was by no means a comfortable one for the Citizens and as a result, they had to dig in to claim the victory. Fortunately for City, Mangala was on top form during the clash and the Frenchman did brilliantly to keep the Foxes attack at bay.

Michael KeaneKeane

Burnley have enjoyed a wonderful upturn in fortunes in recent times and the key to their success has been solidity at the back.

The Clarets claimed another fine victory recently with a 1-0 triumph over high flying Southampton and it was their fine rearguard action once again which helped them to the triumph.

The star at the back for Burnley on the day was on loan defender Michael Keane. The young man dealt with the threat posed by the likes of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic really well and looked very accomplished at the back for the Premier League new boys.

Hector BellerinBellerin

Arsenal’s defensive crisis has been quite astounding this year and once again the duo of Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers were missing for the Gunners during the clash against Newcastle United.

As a result, Arsene Wenger was forced to deploy Mathieu Debuchy at centre back while use young Hector Bellerin in the right side of defence.

Much to the relief of the Arsenal fans though, the makeshift backline performed very well on the night and it was Bellerin who stood out.

Recovering from his horror show against Stoke, Bellerin put in a very good display both in attack and in defence, and he looks a good prospect for the future for Arsenal.

Midfield

Eden HazardHazard

Following their aberration against Newcastle United, Chelsea returned to winning ways after claiming a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hull City on Saturday and the star for them once again was Eden Hazard.

It was not a vintage performance by Chelsea on the day but with a player of Hazard’s calibre in their side, the Blues can get away with performing below par.

The Belgian international completely tormented the Hull backline and managed a goal as well as an assist to cap off another fine display.

Frank LampardLampard

It is strange to say but Frank Lampard seems a man intent on preventing Chelsea from winning the Premier League title.

Lampard has been a key player for Manchester City since his arrival over the summer and he provided another important contribution by scoring the winner in the Citizens’ 1-0 victory over Leicester City.

It was not the prettiest of performances from City but at the end it was Lampard’s uncanny knack of scoring goals from midfield that proved to be the difference.

With the goal against Leicester, Lampard is now level with Thierry Henry in the all time leading Premier League goal scorers chart and such a record is quite phenomenal for a midfield player.

Christian EriksenEriksen

Tottenham Hotspur claimed another crucial three points with a 2-1 victory over Swansea City but it was evidently a poor performance from Spurs.

As it has been the case so many times this season, Christian Eriksen was on hand to help Tottenham spare their blushes and Spurs would probably be languishing in the bottom half of the table without him.

Playing in an unfamiliar wide left position, Eriksen was easily the best player on the pitch for Spurs and helped his side claim an unlikely victory with a fine goal in the 89th minute of the match.

Craig GardnerGardner

The Midlands derby between West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa was a tight affair as expected, and the match was in no way a visual spectacle.

However, the three points against their rivals means everything for the fans and it was the Baggies who managed to claim the spoils on the day with a 1-0 score line. And it was former Villa man Craig Gardner made the difference by scoring the all important winner.

Overall, Gardner’s performance throughout the match was decent but the goal will now undoubtedly mean that the midfielder will go down in West Brom folklore – especially due to his past connections with Villa.

Santi CazorlaCazorla

Arsenal returned to winning ways with a fine 4-1 victory over Newcastle United and the man who plotted the downfall of the Magpies was Santi Cazorla.

The Spaniard has not been at his best so far this season but managed to remind fans what he is capable of by putting in a brilliant performance on the night.

Cazorla scored a brace of the highest quality during the match. His first was simply brilliant as he jinked past the Newcastle defence before beating Jak Alnwick with a glorious chip.

The Spaniard then embarrassed Alnwick once again with a fine panenka penalty for the fourth goal.

Attack

Olivier GiroudGiroud

While Olivier Giroud’s work rate has been questioned by some sections of the Arsenal fans, there is no denying that the Frenchman provides a different dimension to the Gunners’ game.

On his day, Giroud’s physical prowess is almost impossible to deal with for opposition defenders and the striker was on song during Arsenal’s 4-1 victory over Newcastle United.

Giroud grabbed a fine brace on the night with a headed effort and a cute finish, and his return to the squad is certainly a huge boost for Arsenal ahead of such a crucial period for the club.

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Hailing from the beautiful Himalayan nation of Nepal, I am an avid football follower with an enormous passion for the world game. I believe that nothing in the world can match the emotional roller coaster which fans experience while supporting their beloved teams. Founder & Owner of TheEaglesFC.com.