Premier League team of matchweek 22: Magpies soar to victory
Holly Thackeray | January 18, 2016
Team of the week
Another Premier League matchweek means another round of protagonists, super stoppers and surprise results. As the winter freeze began in earnest, there was plenty of tasty top-flight action to warm up the weekend, and an abundance of impressive performers. Here is the XI that caught our eye…
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)
Nods must also go to master and apprentice pair Petr Cech and Jack Butland for their battle to outdo each other at the Britannia Stadium, but determined De Gea once again stepped up to be the Red Devils’ most important big-match player. A delightful double save, with the ball pawed away from his goal posts, was the highlight versus Liverpool, as Emre Can and Roberto Firmino continually found themselves thwarted.
Right back: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)
City romped to victory against Crystal Palace, with Zabaleta a key figure in stretching the defence, as he proved a dangerous combination with Kevin De Bruyne. The Argentine may not have assisted like Daryl Janmmat, but he did keep a clean sheet and his defence locked down, and therein lies the difference.
Centre back: Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
All the talk from Stoke’s stalemate with Arsenal was about the goalkeepers, but skipper Shawcross was once again a standout. A fixture in the Potters’ staunch defence, he covered for teammates on several occasions and kept Olivier Giroud mostly quiet.
Centre back: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton)
This was a crucial shut-out for Southampton, who look to have regained confidence at both ends of the pitch. Defender Van Dijk was central to this, and looks a vital part of an increasingly solid spine to build upon.
Left back: Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth)
On the opposite defensive flank, fellow Cherries full back Adam Smith also deserves recognition, but it was Daniels who starred against Norwich City. A successful spot-kick was the cherry on the cake of his fantastic forays forward, with a rampant run down the wing and precise delivery resulting in Benik Afobe’s fantastic first goal for the club.
Right wing: Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United)
If the Magpies are to escape their relegation wrangle, this Dutch dangerman will undoubtedly be the hero of the hour. Once again decisive at St James’ Park, Wijnaldum timed his run perfectly to meet Janmaat’s cross to tuck away what would prove to be the winner, and also slid Ayoze Perez in for the opener.
Central midfield: James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Saints fans have long known they had a gem on their hands in academy product Ward-Prowse, and all his best attributes were on show at the weekend. A curling peach of a free-kick and a slickly taken penalty from this composed youngster ensured Southampton picked up the points.
Central midfield: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United)
Debuts don’t come much more influential than this, as Shelvey slotted into Newcastle’s midfield as if he had been orchestrating at St James’ Park all season. A range of the Englishman’s most potent passing was on display, conducting to help set up the first, before a spectacular pitch-long ping found roving Janmaat to create the second. Swansea City fans will have been tearing their hair out.
Central midfield: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
Spurs needed a little stardust against Sunderland and, after a recent quiet patch, it was silky Denmark international Eriksen who came up with the goods. The playmaker had a little help from deflections but made sure he was in the dangerous positions to mop up with two well-taken strikes.
Left wing: Kevin Mirallas (Everton)
It’s no secret the Belgian has found game time hard to come by recently, but the wideman proved just why he should be central to Roberto Martinez’s plans against Chelsea. Magician Mirallas had the Blues defence on the backfoot, and should have bagged a brace himself, though his lovely lashed in effort was still a fine return.
Striker: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
In a real boost for the Citizens, Argentina sharpshooter Aguero looks back to his best just in time for the business end of the term. The striker was in fine form as he bagged two and unselfishly set up a third on a plate for playmaker David Silva.
Check out our previous team of the week articles.