Team of the Week: Vardy and Kanté make the weekend’s XI once again
Benjamin Wills picks his best XI from another terrific weekend of Premier League action. There’s a place for both pacey forwards Jamie Vardy and Divock Origi, playing off hat-trick hero Andy Carroll, while N’Golo Kanté and Toby Alderweireld deservedly make the cut yet again…Embed from Getty Images
Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace)
It always looked unlikely, but after a terrible 2016 thus far Crystal Palace had a slight worry of relegation. However, a 1-0 win on Saturday looks to have secured their Premier League status for another year.
Wayne Hennessey was crucial in the victory over relegation candidates Norwich City as he made four saves and kept a clean-sheet.
The best save of the bunch came just seconds after Palace had taken the lead as Hennessey denied Norwich a share of the points at Selhurst Park.
Right-back: Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Manchester United)
His afternoon may have ended in a disappointing injury, however Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s outing at right-back was a really promising one.
The Manchester United youth academy graduate, 18, was bright in the right-back spot until he picked up a knock. Matteo Darmian came on for the young Belgian and then it all went wrong.
Three minutes after Darmian’s introduction United were 1-0 down after Dele Alli turned in a cross from the left. Darmian then gave away the free-kick that led to Toby Alderweireld’s header and Erik Lamela’s goal to put Spurs 3-0 up also came due to the ex-Torino defender not stopping the cross.
Centre back: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur)
Players of fantasy football love Toby Alderweireld – the goal-scoring defender is one of the Premier League’s meanest defences and he was at it again on Sunday.
Tottenham secured another defensive shut-out, this time in a 3-0 win over Manchester United and Alderweireld headed in the second to make it 2-0 to the home side.
His goal secured three points for Tottenham to keep them in the title race, but maybe more importantly (for neutrals at least) he earned 12 points for people up and down the country for their fantasy league.
Left-back: Pape Soauré (Crystal Palace)
Hennessey was crucial in getting Crystal Palace their first league win since December, but it was left-back Pape Soure who earned the Man of the Match award.
Soure made a number of last-ditch blocks and clearances and was good going forward on the counter-attack too.
Right midfielder: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal)
Alex Iwobi has come on leaps and bounds since becoming an Arsenal regular towards the latter end of this season and he was nifty again in the 3-3 draw at Upton Park.
Both of Arsenal’s first two goals, scored by Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez, were set up by young Iwobi in a decent display.
Özil’s goal was provided by an intelligent Iwobi through-ball, while Sanchez’s came after a wonderful lobbed pass by the Nigerian winger.
Centre midfielder: Gareth Barry (Everton)
Gareth Barry returned from suspension for their 1-1 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road and showed how much Everton have missed him.
Barry was ineligible for the defeats to Arsenal and Manchester United and his return sparked a minor uplift in Everton’s form.
He added steel to the Toffees’ midfield and provided solid protection to their recently faulty back-line.
Centre midfielder: N’Golo Kanté (Leicester City)
The same is said of N’Golo Kanté pretty much every week, only because he does the same job every week and is consistently brilliant.
Once again Leicester won, once again they kept a clean-sheet (their fifth in a row) and once again Kanté bossed the midfield.
Kanté had an 86% pass accuracy, made five tackles, made four interceptions and created two chances.
Left midfielder: Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)
Once upon a time Erik Lamela was part of a group of flops bought with the Gareth Bale money. Now he is one of the more underrated members of the high-flying Tottenham squad.
The Argentine was instrumental in their weekend win as he scored one goal and assisted another.
It was his free-kick that Alderweireld nodded in for 2-0 and Lamela got his own name on the score sheet when he turned in Danny Rose’s low cross.
Striker: Andy Carroll (West Ham United)
You know a major international tournament is coming up when Andy Carroll’s name is being tipped for the England squad – but a hat-trick against Arsenal will do him no harm at all.
Carroll netted all three of West Ham’s goals in a 3-3 draw, with two of them coming in a matter of minutes just before the half-time break.
The first was a header in the 44th minute and 60 seconds later he had a second another, this time via a deflected scissor kick.
He completed his treble and West Ham’s dramatic comeback seven minutes into the second-half, with another header, to get the football world suggesting the idea of Carroll for England once again.
Striker: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
The fairy-tale is going to have a happy ending. With a 2-0 win over Sunderland, surely Leicester are now going to be champions and they largely have Jamie Vardy to thank.
Vardy was having a party on Sunday as he hit a double at the Stadium of Light.
Leicester’s top scorer opened the scoring when he latched on to a lofted Danny Drinkwater pass and tucked in past Vito Mannone and his brace was secured in stoppage time with a neat finish.
Striker: Divock Origi (Liverpool)
Divock Origi has often been the forgotten man at Liverpool this season, but he wasn’t this week as he netted two after coming on as a substitute.
First Origi headed in a James Milner cross to make it 3-1 to the Reds and soon after he had doubled his tally.
A cross -shot was the means of him getting his second of the day, but he put in a good shift to prove to manager Jürgen Klopp that he should probably start against Borussia Dortmund on Thursday.
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