Coral’s PL XI of Matchweek 15: strikers back with a bang
The Premier League proffered yet more thrilling fixtures this week, so here’s who made the cut in our XI from a marvellous Matchweek 15 full of surprises.
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart (Manchester City)
City stopper Hart kept his second clean sheet in three matches to earn this spot in our XI. Everton rarely troubled the Sky Blues’ goal, but the England number one sprang into action spectacularly to deny Romelu Lukaku’s volley and secure all three points. Manchester City are 2/1 to win the Premier League.
Right back: Alan Hutton (Aston Villa)
Hutton was rampant down the right to help Villa to a hard-fought, and vital, victory. The Scottish international bests fellow impressive performer Carl Jenkinson due to his rapid run down the flank to net the winner. His battle with Jeff Schlupp was key to keeping Leicester City quiet, and the 30-year-old was as effective in defence as attack.
Centre back: Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)
A perfectly timed diving header from Ashley Westwood’s curling set piece saw Clark score for the first time in two years. His equaliser was the catalyst to Villa’s comeback, and the Republic of Ireland international clearly had the bit between his teeth, crunching into tackles left, right and centre. Ron Vlaar’s eventual return will be a conundrum for Paul Lambert.
Centre back: John O’Shea (Sunderland)
The Sunderland skipper certainly put in a shift against Liverpool, organising the Black Cats’ belligerent backline to great effect and utilising his experience, to help shut out the Reds as they gained a foothold in the second half.
Left back: Paul Dummet (Newcastle United)
The Newcastle academy product was arguably the cream of the defensive crop against Chelsea, repelling almost everything that came his way and winning a super seven aerial duels. Debut stopper Jak Alnwick certainly benefited from the solid full back’s confidence and competency whilst the Magpies were on the back foot.
Defensive midfield: Jack Colback (Newcastle United)
Hassled Chelsea’s midfield non-stop, snapping at the heels of Cesc Fabregas and co in Nemanja Matic’s absence, never letting the Blues settle on the ball. Continues to be one of Alan Pardew’s best pick-ups this summer and may yet earn himself another England call-up. Newcastle are now 9/1 for a top six finish.
Defensive midfield: Liam Bridcutt (Sunderland)
Bridcutt was clearly intending to give boss Gus Poyet a selection headache with his performance against Liverpool and provided the Black Cats with bite. Finally given a chance to prove his worth recently, the Englishman did not disappoint, disrupting the Anfield outfit’s rhythm to help grind out a draw.
Attacking midfield: Bojan Krkic (Stoke City)
Finally showing the form that previously made him one of the highest-rated Barcelona academy products, Bojan dazzled yet again against a dismal Arsenal, and was instrumental in the best of Stoke’s attacking play. A lovely left-footed finish saw him add end product to his ingenuity, and a second goal was ruled incorrectly offside.
Striker: Peter Crouch (Stoke City)
Whilst Arsenal’s defence were undoubtedly dreadful, Crouch did what he could to capitalise, causing constant aerial issues for Arsene Wenger’s men. A simple finish saw the 6ft 7in striker make a triumphant return to the Potters starting XI and rack up his eighth Premier League goal against the Gunners.
Striker: Andy Carroll (West Ham United)
The battering ram bullied Swansea City’s defence into submission and was simply too much for Garry Monk’s men to handle. Two powerful, vintage Carroll headed goals and a knock down to assist Mamadou Sakho lifted the Hammers to a fantastic third place. West Ham are now 4/1 for a top six finish.
Striker: Papiss Cisse (Newcastle United)
Cisse certainly likes scoring against Chelsea. The Senegal striker’s brilliant brace ensured the Magpies did what no other team has been able to do this term and down Chelsea. Two well-timed runs saw him expertly poach a pair from close range and extend Jose Mourinho’s St James’ Park blues.