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Heroes and Villains: Premier League Gameweek 35

Following the latest round of Premier League action, we pick out some of the heroes and villains from the best and worst of the weekend fixtures.

There’s much to play for at both ends of the table as we reach the season’s final fixtures, with the latest round of results tightening up the battles for the title, top four and Premier League status.

From star showings to poor performances, here are our Heroes and Villains from the weekend’s Premier League action.

Hero – Dejan Kulusevski

Dejan Kulusevski was left out of the Spurs side after two quieter performances in recent weeks, but the rest seemed to do the trick as the Sweden international came on to impress against Leicester.

Kulusevski drove forward to set up Son Heung-Min’s first goal of the afternoon, drifting inwards before threading a pass into the South Korean.

The January signing added a second assist to make it eight in the Premier League since arriving at Spurs from Juventus, with his record now 11 G/A in just 11 starts in English football.

Kane and Son remain the leading lights in this Tottenham team, but the arrivals of Kulusevski and the excellent Cristian Romero have provided a fine supporting cast on which to build around.

This is a team in transition but there are promising signs despite their current inconsistencies, with the 22-year-old Kulusevski having been a shrewd signing.

Villain – Junior Firpo

It was a bad weekend of results for Leeds who were dragged ever closer to the bottom three, a humbling 4-0 defeat to Manchester City – coupled with wins for Burnley and Everton – leaving Jesse Marsch’s side in real danger.

Leeds were outclassed at Elland Road with Junior Firpo struggling once again, the full-back having endured a difficult debut season in the Premier League.

Hopes were high that the former Barcelona defender could thrive at Leeds, but his performances have been below the standard required with his latest another sorry showing.

Firpo was cautioned inside the opening six minutes after pulling down Phil Foden and struggled to get to grips with City’s attacking talent, being dribbled past on five occasions and winning just 2/9 duels.

Hero – Mike Jackson

Burnley’s bounce has continued under u23 manager Mike Jackson, who has done a remarkable job since taking the reins from the sacked Sean Dyche.

Jackson has led Burnley to three wins and a draw from four games in charge, with the Clarets scoring twice inside the final seven minutes to turn defeat into victory at Watford this weekend.

Burnley’s win saw them climb above Leeds in the race for survival and the momentum is with Jackson’s side as we reach the final fixtures of the campaign.

Dyche’s exit was greeted with surprise despite Burnley’s perilous position, but the caretaker boss has more than steadied the ship and a Clarets team increasing in confidence are in pole position to complete a miraculous escape.

Villain – Cesar Azpilicueta

Chelsea might just be looking over their shoulder after more dropped points this weekend, with a flat performance contributing to a 1-0 defeat to struggling Everton.

Cesar Azpilicueta was guilty of an error for the game’s decisive moment, the defender hesitant in possession in a dangerous area as Richarlison robbed the Chelsea captain on the edge of the penalty box.

Richarlison made no mistake to score the winning goal in an embarrassing moment for Azpilicueta, who later saw Jordan Pickford make a miraculous save to deny him redemption at the opposite end.

Hero – Jordan Pickford

Onto that miraculous save… Jordan Pickford produced an outstanding moment of athleticism to ensure Everton earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Chelsea.

The England international’s fine form has been somewhat hidden by Everton’s struggle for results in the Premier League, but he was at his best as the Toffees secured a precious three points this weekend.

Pickford’s save from Azpilicueta was arguably the most impressive seen in the Premier League this season, whilst he made another brave block from Antonio Rudiger to secure a well-deserved clean sheet.

Everton will need more performances of this calibre if Frank Lampard’s team are to escape from the division’s bottom.

Villain – Wolves

Bruno Lage was critical of Wolves following a home humiliation this weekend, his Europe-chasing team beaten for the third consecutive Premier League fixture.

Wolves were second best as the Seagulls’ midfield trio of Yves Bissouma, Enock Mwepu and Moises Caicedo took charge at Molineux, with Brighton’s 3-0 win a scoreline that could – and perhaps should – have been greater.

Lage questioned whether his team had the drive to reach the next level and a run of four defeats from five games has halted their run towards European football.

Changes are expected in personnel this season and a new forward must be on the club’s agenda, with the expected sale of Ruben Neves set to raise significant funds.

Goals have been a problem throughout the campaign despite largely impressive results and a disappointing slump has threatened to undo much of the club’s hard work this season.

Hero – Phil Foden

Just where is Phil Foden’s best position?

The 21-year-old has excelled in multiple roles for Manchester City and has promised world class levels in each, from operating as the club’s go-to false nine to tormenting full-backs out on the flanks.

Foden was handed a central role in the 4-0 win at Leeds this weekend and shone, finishing with two assists as the Premier League champions moved back to the top of the division at Elland Road.

Guardiola has suggested Foden could soon take a central role on a more regular basis with the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ having long been tipped to be David Silva’s long-term replacement.

“He can play in all five positions up front: winger on both sides, striker through the middle and in the pockets like an attacking midfielder,” Guardiola said, as per mancity.com.

“I think in time he will be more capable to play in positions in the middle, he still has all the actions, the high speed, so maybe now the wide positions suit him better.

“You remember David Silva, sometimes he slowed the rhythm to increase the rhythm, (but Phil’s) rhythm is always high. It’s good as he is so aggressive and we need it but sometimes he needs a little bit, but that is a question of time. He can do it no problem, it’s just a question of time.”

Villain – Norwich

Norwich will once again be playing Championship football next season, as the Canaries inevitable relegation was confirmed with defeat at Aston Villa this weekend.

It continues a yo-yo existence for a club who have now swapped between the top two divisions in fourth consecutive campaigns.

The club’s decision to sell Emi Buendia – named as the Championship’s Player of the Year last season and the heartbeat of their promotion campaign – proved unwise even given his underwhelming impact at Aston Villa.

Perhaps worse than that, however, was the reinvestment of the funds brought in as Norwich acquired a group of additions who have looked out of their depth and offer few assurances of a strong season in the second tier.

Even given their past pedigree, it will take some effort from Dean Smith to ensure the yo-yo finds its way back on an upward trajectory next season.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Gameweek 35

Read Also – Premier League Awards: Son’s stunner and Pickford saves the day

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