Team of the Week: Arsenal striker Giroud stars on final day as Newcastle’s best players turn up at last

Ben Wills picks his top XI from an unexpectedly entertaining final day of the Premier League season….

Embed from Getty Images

Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (Everton)

Tim Howard did not have a great deal to do in Everton’s goal on Sunday, but he did not concede on his last ever appearance for the club.

Howard tweeted an emotional tribute to Everton after the game and kissed the goal he had kept guarded for a decade at full-time.

Norwich only forced two saves out of Howard during the 90 minutes at Goodison Park, but he had to react smartly from Robbie Brady late on.


Right-back: Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle United)

Daryl Janmaat’s defensive abilities are all-too-often brought into question, but his forward play as a wing-back is often quite impressive.

Janmaat supplied the cross that Rolando Aarons put away for Newcastle’s fourth of the afternoon in their 5-1 demolition of Tottenham and then was celebrating a goal of his own not long after.

The Dutchman broke free down the right-hand side and left himself with the simple task of slotting past Hugo Lloris to seal Newcastle’s remarkable rout over once title-chasing Tottenham.

Centre-back: Jonjoe Kenny (Everton)

The end of the season often sees youth products given some first team football as a result of a lot of dead rubber matches being played, and that was certainly the case at Everton.

Jonjoe Kenny impressed in the back four for a Toffees defence that has had its issues all season.

Kenny helped Everton keep their first clean-sheet since mid-April and he also managed to get an assist when he squared the ball across goal for Kevin Mirallas to tap in.

Centre-back: Jordi Amat (Swansea City)

Swansea failed to deny Manchester City Champions League football on the last day of the season, although Jordi Amat will still be proud of his performance.

Amat had to impress due to the absence of Swansea captain Ashley Williams and he stepped up to the plate.

He made seven clearances, seven interceptions, and won possession back nine times.

Left-back: Leighton Baines (Everton)

For the first time since 2010, Leighton Baines is not preparing for a summer tournament with England after an underwhelming season with Everton.

Like Kenny, Baines had a hand in Everton keeping a sought-after clean-sheet and also scored a goal as he made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Maybe he should have gone to the Euros – we know what England are like with penalties…

Right midfielder: Sadio Mane (Southampton)

With Southampton finishing in the Europa League spots again, there could be significant interest in winger Sadio Mane this summer.

Mane was the star man as the Saints marched all over Crystal Palace at St.Mary’s, with the Senegalese forward scoring one and playing a part in another.

Southampton broke the deadlock when Mane looped one over Julian Speroni and then he was bundled over in the box with Ryan Bertrand scoring the resulting penalty.

Centre midfielder: Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

A large number of Arsenal fans, if you asked them why they failed to win the league this season, might come back with: “If Santi Cazorla did not get injured, we would be champions.”

Cazorla was back in the line-up for the Gunners on Sunday and he was superb as he owned the midfield.

He made more passes than any other Arsenal player (81) and made more in the opposition half than anyone else on the pitch.

Centre midfielder: Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)

Moussa Sissoko has been given the captain’s armband at Newcastle and he looks like a completely different player – he was Man of the Match in the best result of the Magpies’ season.

Sissoko registered two assists, first providing the cross for Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header and bring ‘fouled’ for the penalty converted by Georgino Wijnaldum.

He also came close to scoring himself, twice, but only two magnificent stops by Lloris denied him a deserved goal.


Left midfielder: Jermain Lens (Sunderland)

Jermain Lens’ first season at Sunderland has been a stuttering one at best, although he showed signs of his quality in the Black Cats’ 2-2 draw at Watford.

Jack Rodwell, on his 50th Sunderland appearance, tapped in Lens’ ball across goal to put the Mackems 1-0 up at Vicarage Road.

And Lens scored Sunderland’s second to put the away side back in-front after Watford levelled with a cultured strike, although Quique Sanchez Flores’ men levelled again for a share of the points.


Centre attacking midfielder: Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United)

Given the talent Georginio Wijnaldum clearly has, he is a frustrating figure at Newcastle due to a lack of consistency, but he was on top form at St. James’ on Sunday.

Newcastle’s top scorer this season netted his tenth and 11th of the season on the final day as he first slid in the opener that made it 1-0 and then kept his cool from the penalty spot later on.

It looked like Newcastle’s two-goal cushion would be eradicated when they went down to ten men, but Wijnaldum restored the advantage when he tucked home from 12 yards.


Striker: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

Olivier Giroud has, as always, had his critics this season, but what no-one can deny is his tendency to score goals against the lesser sides.

Already-relegated Aston Villa were no match for Arsenal or the France international at the Emirates Stadium, as Giroud bagged a final-day hat-trick.

A trademark header led to his first goal, an impressive finish from a tight angle made it two and Giroud was walking off with the match ball after tucking in under Mark Bunn for number three.

Read more from Ben here
Follow Ben on Twitter @_BenWills

Advertisements
About lakirk41 (93 Articles)
24, Cambridge grad, Arsenal fan, unfortunate hair colour

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: