Premier League team of matchweek 34: Aguero electric, Cattermole conviction
Holly Thackeray | April 17, 2016
Premier League team of the week
There’s not long left to go, so Premier League teams have been putting on some of their best shows as the business end of this surprising season excitingly approaches.
Who has emerged as a hero in the relegation dogfight? Which players have spurred their side on in the top four race with a touch of stardust? Read on and find out in Coral’s terrific team of matchweek 34…
Goalkeeper: Vito Mannone (Sunderland)
Two top-class saves from Mannone denied Norwich City’s Martin Olsson and Nathan Redmond, keeping an absolutely crucial clean sheet – the Black Cats’ third in a row. Heurelho Gomes gets a notable mention for repelling two Saido Berahino penalties, but misses out on the XI for conceding the first of those sensationally saved spot-kicks.
Right back: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
The Red Devils sent Aston Villa packing from the Premier League thanks to a fine Marcus Rashford finish, but it was vibrant Valencia who romped forward to send in the assist, also helping Man Utd keep a clean sheet. Looking incredibly confident post-injury, the Ecuadorian could keep Matteo Darmian warming the bench.
Centre back: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City)
Citizens centre half Otamendi has often come in for criticism but was almost spotless against Chelsea. Equally maligned partner Eliaquim Mangala was also dominant in defence, but the Argentina international’s bailing out of Joe Hart as Diego Costa looked certain to strike sees the South American clinch this spot.
Centre back: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United)
Young Lascelles looked more than up for the challenge aerially and aside from helping the Magpies to only their second Premier League shut-out this season, the former Nottingham Forest man nodded home the opening header against Swansea City to boot.
Left back: Nathan Ake (Watford)
Chelsea-owned Ake has made himself invaluable for the Hornets; while Aaron Cresswell’s wonder-strike should receive attacking plaudits, he was part of a backline that leaked two. This Dutch defender, however, performed admirably against West Bromwich Albion with important blocks.
Right wing: Andros Townsend (Newcastle United)
At his mercurial best here, Townsend was terrific to hand Rafael Benitez a birthday to remember. As if assisting the first and being a crucial component in the second wasn’t enough, the rapid wingman even chipped in with a close-range strike to seal the deal for his new club.
Centre midfield: Lee Cattermole (Sunderland)
An inspiration in the middle of the park for the Black Cats, Cattermole’s industry was a magnificent help for the Mackems, as the Englishman made two determined and tenacious last-ditch off-the-line clearances to save Sunderland’s skin.
Centre midfield: Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)
Another Magpie worthy of mention but this time in midfield, as Sissoko found the net in Newcastle’s rout, but also generally proved to be a nuisance all over the pitch.
Attacking midfield: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
He may not have gotten on the scoresheet himself, but the brilliant Belgian De Bruyne did mostly everything else, assisting City’s opener with a breathtaking counter against his old club, before another dangerous break from deep meant he also had a crucial hand in setting up the second. The playmaker even chipped in with defending in his own box.
Left wing: Fabio Borini (Sunderland)
Italian attacker Borini bagged one from the spot after winning the penalty with exuberant work himself and also notably notched an assist for Jermain Defoe’s goal, as Sunderland secured what could be a crucial victory in the Premier League relegation fight. Admittedly started wide right, but the usual left winger floated everywhere.
Centre forward: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
The Argentine had amends to make after his midweek penalty miss and he did – in emphatic style with a hat-trick to put him back in contention for the Premier League Golden Boot.
Scoring all of City’s goals, Aguero banished his spot-kick demons with a cool conversion from 12 yards into the left-hand corner to finish off Chelsea following his deflected strike and a second sensational effort lifted lethally over Thibaut Courtois. Exceptional.