Coral’s Premier League team of matchweek 23: Awesome Arsenal
On a weekend when Arsenal crushed Aston Villa, Spurs humbled Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion, and title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City settled for a 1-1 stalemate, there’s plenty left to play for in the Premier League.
Without further ado, here’s who made it into Coral’s all-star XI from the latest round of matches, selected by our football experts. We’ve gone with a midfield diamond:
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
Spurs stopper Lloris lands another nomination between the sticks as Mauricio Pochettino’s team ran out 3-0 winners at The Hawthorns. Keeping out an in-form West Brom makes the France captain worthy of inclusion.
Right back: Hector Bellerin
This young Spaniard continues to impress for the Gunners, and rounded off the scoring in a 5-0 home romp against lowly Villa with his first senior goal. Couple this with a clean sheet, and Bellerin’s brilliance deserves recognition.
Centre back: John Stones
Youth continues to be a theme in defence of our XI. Everton’s much-needed win at Crystal Palace was as much down to a fine rearguard action as an early Romelu Lukaku strike. Stones twice blocked goal-bound shots, and the Toffees are now 20/1 for a top six finish.
Centre back: Ashley Williams
Swansea skipper Williams marshalled the visiting defence to a first clean sheet in seven across all competitions, as Garry Monk’s men finally beat Southampton away. Heroic blocks and goal-line clearances were a feature of an outstanding display from the Wales captain.
Left back: Massadio Haidara
It wouldn’t be right to overlook John Carver’s first win as Newcastle United boss, and hard-working Haidara notched an assist to go with a Magpies clean sheet against hapless Hull City.
Defensive midfield: Daley Blind
Versatile Dutch international Blind is an underrated player. From an anchorman role against Leicester City, he was hugely effective for Manchester United, setting up Robin van Persie’s opener before meeting a Wayne Rooney corner that Foxes skipper Wes Morgan turned into his own net.
Attacking midfield: Philippe Coutinho
Brazil’s Coutinho laid on assists for both Raheem Sterling and the returning Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool beat West Ham United 2-0 an Anfield. Brendan Rodgers’ Reds are now 4/1 to crash the top four again.
Attacking midfield: Santi Cazorla
Silky skills were the order of the day in Arsenal’s midfield, and Cazorla teed up both Bellerin and Theo Walcott to strike in their massive win. Sandwiched between those assists, the Spain star converted another penalty.
Attacking midfield: Mesut Ozil
This World Cup winner with Germany took a lot of stick from Gunners fans before sustaining a serious injury. After setting up Olivier Giroud for the opener with a superb flick, Ozil scored himself as the France striker returned the favour against Villa.
Striker: Harry Kane
A brace for England Under-21 international frontman Kane against the Baggies took his Spurs tally to 20 across all competitions. Roy Hodgson simply has to call him up to the senior squad. Tottenham are 11/2 to finish in the top four.
Striker: Jon Walters
It’s a given if you hit a hat-trick, you’ll get in the team of the week. We won’t let Stoke City’s hard-working forward Walters down, then, despite a woeful away record vexing QPR. Only Robbie Keane and Leon Best are the other Republic of Ireland internationals to take a Premier League match ball home.