Premier League team of matchweek 15: Vivacious Vardy and Mkhitaryan magic
Holly Thackeray | 12 December 2016
Premier League team of matchweek 15
Arsenal soared to first place in the English top-flight this weekend, while Manchester City floundered and Swansea City swooped for a vital three points against relegation survival rivals Sunderland. There was also plenty of goal mouth action to entertain, with only four clean sheets kept, bundles of braces and a hat-trick.
So, who shone for their side? See below for Coral’s star-studded Premier League team of matchweek 15…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea (Manchester United)Manchester United edged out Tottenham 1-0 at Old Trafford to keep themselves in the top four race, in what became an increasingly tense tussle as time ticked on.
Spurs failed to consistently threaten the Red Devils’ net, but when they tried to turn the screw late on Man Utd’s cool and consistent Spanish stopper was there to expertly snuff out any danger.
Right back: Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)Now this is an impact substitute of a defender. Hauled on for injured Shkodran Mustafi, Bellerin reclaimed his right defensive flank from Gabriel Paulista and provided vital width and danger down the wing.
The Spain right back’s inclusion paid dividends as he romped down the pitch, his low cross causing havoc for Theo Walcott to level and convert his 100th club goal, as the Gunners went on to win 3-1 and go top of the PL on goal difference.
Centre back: Jose Fonte (Southampton)We’ve been giving all the shoutouts to experienced Portuguese Fonte’s defensive partner Virgil van Dijk lately, but it was the older centre half who ensured Southampton shut up shop to beat Middlesbrough 1-0.
Viktor Fischer can testify to the defender’s determination, as Fonte first caught the eye by clearing the Dane’s shot off the goalline in dramatic style.
Centre: Marcos Rojo (Manchester United)Rojo’s Red Devils rise under Jose Mourinho continued this week, as the Argentine stamped his authority all over Spurs’ attack, most notably keeping Harry Kane quiet.
Phil Jones also deserves mention as their unexpected partnership yielded yet more success, but it was Rojo who looked the most commanding presence, constantly deflecting aerial threats and helping Matteo Darmian out wide too.
Left back: Neil Taylor (Swansea City)In the relegation dogfight, Swansea’s shut out of Sunderland was tremendously important and Taylor was both tenacious and sturdy down the left as he dealt with Victor Anichebe and helped keep the Welsh club’s defence composed.
Right wing: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)As far as all-round performances go, Mkhitaryan’s output against Tottenham was about as complete as it gets for a winger, before the Armenia international had to be stretchered off with injury.
Using his deceptive speed and close ball control to give Man Utd a real threat on the counter-attack, Mkhitaryan took his goal with aplomb, running at the Spurs defence before rocketing home past Hugo Lloris. And all that is before we’ve even mentioned his workrate…
Central midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)If any one player can lift Swansea out of trouble, it’s Sigurdsson, who continues to rally his team and lead by example.
A coolly taken penalty set the tone versus Sunderland, before the Iceland hero’s precise corner found Fernando Llorente to help seal the three points and 3-0 scoreline. Vital.
Central midfield: Jeff Hendrick (Burnley)Burnley’s record signing unleashed a 25-yard rocket on the half-volley to open the floodgates for the Clarets at Turf Moor.
The plucky Republic of Ireland international’s exceptional effort sailed into the top corner and gave the hosts a morale boost to go on and win 3-2 in a thriller with Bournemouth.
Left wing: Stefano Okaka (Watford)Italian attacker Okaka grabbed his first goals for Watford from the left wing, with his deadly double helping the Hornets overcome shaky Everton 3-2.
An ingenious backheel strike and an opportunistic header ensure Okaka a place in our XI.
Centre forward: Fernando Llorente (Swansea City)Having won back his starting spot, Llorente is continuing to write his own script having come back from the ashes in his stint with the struggling Swans.
Proving he still possesses the goal threat he had in Spain and Italy, Llorente ‘the Lion King’ again helped himself to multiple goals, killing off any remaining Sunderland hope with his two second-half strikes. Romelu Lukaku also bagged a brace, but his efforts were a mere consolation for Everton.
Centre forward: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)What a way to silence critics, as Vardy illustrated he still has killer instincts with a heroic hat-trick against Manchester City, as PL champions Leicester showed their old form with a 4-2 victory.
At his potent best, Vardy opened the scoring for the Foxes within three minutes with two trademark finishes in the first-half before pouncing on a John Stones error in the second 45.