Team of the Weekend

Welcome to Team of the Weekend! With just three weeks to go, we’re at the stage of the season where we need to enjoy every last minute of Premier League football. All 20 teams have played this weekend and as usual I’m on the look out for the best and worst. Shall we?

Goalkeeper

David De Gea – April hasn’t been kind to De Gea. High profiles mistakes against Barcelona and Man City were bad enough but Sunday’s may well finish off any hope of a top 4 finish. Rudiger’s shot should have been bread and butter but instead the butter was all over De Gea’s fingers. I’ve no doubt it’s a temporary blip but has he really been the same since his error in the World Cup?

Defenders

Andrew Robertson – Young defenders everywhere dream of one day being able to emulate Andy Hinchliffe. On Friday though, Andy Robertson did just that as he notched his 10th and then 11th assists of the season. Hinchcliffe set the record in 94/95 so it’s been a long time coming but Robertson’s endless runs down the left hand side are a vital part of Liverpool’s threat.

Issa Diop – Very few people expected West Ham to win at Tottenham on Saturday lunch time. We all knew Spurs wouldn’t be 100% at it but you can rarely rely on a West Ham clean sheet. Step forward Issa Diop. A titanic defensive display was almost capped off with a marauding run forwards towards the end. West Ham will hope for more of this next season.

Matt Targett – An unlikely goalscorer doesn’t begin to cover this one. It was however the 1,000th Premier League goal of the season and if that isn’t a reason for inclusion in the team then I don’t know what is.

Midfielders

Mo Salah & Sadio Mane – I can’t separate these two so I’ve cheated and included them both. It might have “only” been Huddersfield but I wanted to credit the desire of these two. A lot of players would have been begging for an early rest to prepare for Barcelona but their thirst for goals knows no bounds. Both have passed 20 goals for the season and their contributions will be vital as Liverpool head for a huge 7 days starting on Wednesday.

Diogo Jota – A goal and an assist for one of Wolves’ many Portugese stars. I’m not sure what Ben Foster was up to for his goal but his assist was on a plate for his partner Raul Jimenez. They’ve got a great understanding and Wolves must be optimistic for next season if they can add to what they already have.

Ryan Babel – SMASH! That was a mighty hit from Ryan Babel and it may prove to be a hammer blow to Cardiff’s survival hopes. A first time shot from 25 yards always looks impressive and Babel has added some quality to Fulham. If they had him all season his impact may have been greater but for now the Cottagers will have to enjoy him whilst they can.

Forwards

Callum Wilson – Two goals and an assist for the England man. Wilson was a constant thorn in Southampton’s side and he may well end his break out season by starting for England this summer. That is of course Harry Kane dependant but Wilson showed on Saturday he is a more than able replacement. Where will he be next season?

Shane Long – For a while now, Shane Long has been the butt of many jokes. The striker who doesn’t score. In midweek Long’s hard work paid dividends from the off and he netted the fastest ever Premier League goal. He carried that confidence into Saturday and gave his side the lead against Bournemouth. Everything was looking up in the world of Shane Long. Then he missed one of the biggest sitters of all time and normal service was resumed.

Jamie Vardy – This was always a recipe for disaster. The busy Vardy up against the clumsiness of Arsenal. Two late goals wrapped up Leicester’s win over 10 man Arsenal and Vardy looks razor sharp. If Harry Kane is out injured for the Nations League Southgate could do worse than ask Vardy to come back for one last hurrah.

Manager

Pep Guardiola – Twelve consecutive league wins for Man City earns their manager a spot in the dugout. What has been impressive in recent weeks is the defensive stability shown by his side, grinding out wins. For all Burnley defended well on Sunday they barely had a sniff and that was down to City’s set up. If Man City win the final two games nobody can argue they don’t deserve the title.

That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next week for the penultimate weekend of the season. Toodles for now.