Premier League team of Boxing Day: Long and Hurri-Kane star
Lee Gormley | December 27, 2015
Team of the week for matchday 18
With a constant flow of enthralling Premier League fixtures occurring over this festive period, there were plenty of thrills and spills across the country, with top-flight stars running off their Christmas Day turkey feasts during Boxing Day encounters.
Following the action, here is Coral’s team of the week for such clashes. Enjoy…
Goalkeeper: Jack Butland
On another miserable day for Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium, Butland was a constant annoyance once the Red Devils did finally break through a solid Stoke City defence. The future England number one made several great saves to deny Juan Mata and Anthony Martial, eventually keeping a deserved clean sheet on home soil.
Right back: Cuco Martina
With each passing week during this intriguing campaign, there is another shock result, and the biggest one came from the south coast on Boxing Day. After overcoming Man City previously, Arsenal were thrashed 4-0 at St Mary’s, with Martina a constant terror to the bewildered Gunners, marking his maiden league start with an incredible 30-yard strike to set Southampton on their way.
Centre back: Jose Fonte
With newcomer Martina performing brilliantly to his right side, Fonte also put in a commanding shift for Ronald Koeman’s Saints in the heart of defence and headed in his side’s third goal to help earn a rampant result.
Centre back: Ryan Shawcross
Man Utd struggled to find many openings on their disappointing visit to Stoke, with Shawcross being key to a successful defensive performance on home turf. The towering centre half kept talented Frenchman Martial at bay for the majority of proceedings and comfortably dealt with Wayne Rooney when the Red Devils skipper was introduced.
Left back: Aaron Cresswell
Flying Hammers full back Cresswell enjoyed an impressive display at Villa Park, despite a poor 1-1 draw with the hosts, with the defender dispatching his first Premier League goal since April and his first for West Ham away from Upton Park.
Centre midfield: Jordan Henderson
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool rallied to a 1-0 triumph over top tier leaders Leicester City at Anfield, and it was their skipper Henderson that was the driving force in midfield. The England engine was superb, putting in a match-winning outing similar to ones that Reds fans were used to witnessing from former Merseyside hero Steven Gerrard.
Centre midfield: Ki Sung-yueng
Ki struck his first ever Premier League goal back in 2013 on Boxing Day, and he followed suit by firing in Swansea City’s winner over West Bromwich Albion this year, capping off an emphatic all-round midfield display in Wales.
Attacking midfield: Kevin De Bruyne
Man City’s record-signing De Bruyne continues to justify his mammoth price-tag, as he tucked away his eighth goal of a remarkable campaign against a helpless Sunderland, while also bringing his assists tally to nine in all competitions too. The mercurial playmaker was in inspired form yet again on home soil, being pivotal to the eventual 4-1 triumph.
Right forward: Shane Long
After his recent international heroics in the Republic of Ireland’s successful Euro 2016 qualifying bid, Saints striker Long has continued his form into club level and helped down Arsenal with a brilliant brace. The Tipperary hitman has now scored five and assisted two more goals in his last seven league starts, proving his worth to Koeman.
Centre forward: Diego Costa
It seems that all it took for a Costa to spring back to life was a managerial switch, as the Brazil-born Spain international fired in a deadly double to earn a draw with a defiant Watford. Temporary Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink will hope he can maintain his revived form for the rest of his short tenure this term.
Left forward: Harry Kane
Costa may just be returning to form, but Tottenham’s Kane hasn’t stopped scoring! The Spurs sharpshooter continued his sensational streak with another brace, scoring with his only two shots on target against Norwich City. Hurri-Kane has now netted more goals in 2015 than any other Premier League player.
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