Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the Champions League were kept alive in stunning style as a last-gasp winner from the most unlikely of sources saw the Reds win at West Brom and keep in touch with the top four in the latest round of Premier League action.
Manchester City played out a 4-3 thriller with Newcastle at St James’ Park, whilst Crystal Palace edged Aston Villa in another entertaining clash and Leeds thrashed Burnley at Turf Moor.
It was less positive news for Everton however, who were stunned at home to already-relegated Sheffield United in a hammer blow to the Toffees’ hopes of securing European football.
It’s that time of the week again where we compile our dream XI from the weekend’s action, here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Alisson – Liverpool
What a header, what a moment. Alisson has endured a difficult season both on and off the pitch for Liverpool, but the Brazilian’s bullet header may just have rescued the Reds’ campaign.
Liverpool’s hopes of securing a top four finish looked to be slipping away as they struggled to find a way past West Brom at The Hawthorns, the goalkeeper gambling in a final throw of the dice after venturing forward for a late corner.
Unmarked in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Alisson met Trent Alexander-Arnold’s delivery brilliantly to head home a dramatic winner, becoming just the sixth goalkeeper in history to score a Premier League goal.
It’s an exclusive club…@Alissonbecker #LFC pic.twitter.com/7HPQpXnySi
— The Football Faithful (@FootyFaithfuI) May 16, 2021
Alisson may have just scored the most crucial goal in Liverpool’s season so far and his match-winning moment sees him edge out Aaron Ramsdale’s display for Sheffield United at Everton here.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Another member of Liverpool’s title-winning side to have endured a testing follow up campaign, Trent Alexander-Arnold has looked somewhere closer to his best in recent weeks.
The 22-year-old was excellent in the win at Manchester United in midweek to provide two assists, and was similarly influential again this weekend, raiding forward from right-back throughout and making a vital block to deny Hal Robson-Kanu at the opposite end.
The full-back spurned a late chance to score a winner before providing a real moment of quality in stoppage-time, his in-swinging corner powered home by Alisson – is seventh assist of the season – to spark wild celebrations from the visitors.
Centre-back: Chris Basham – Sheffield United
Sheffield United’s win at Everton was more like the version of the Blades we became accustomed to last season, Paul Heckingbottom’s side gritty, organised and resilient to secure a 1-0 win at Goodison Park.
Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was in fine form, though he was protected by the club’s three central defenders who all gave improved showings from recent months.
Chris Basham defended superbly and made a brilliant block to deny James Rodriguez a sight of goal, whilst he regularly rampaged down the right in signature style as one of the Blades’ underlapping centre-backs.
Centre-back: Diego Llorente – Leeds
Diego Llorente continues to grow in influence for Leeds and has made a huge difference to the side’s defence since recovering from the injury that wrecked the first half of his debut season at Elland Road.
The seven cap Spain international was solid once again as Leeds kept a clean sheet to win 4-0 at Burnley, making a couple of vital early interceptions and standing up strong amid the aerial bombardment from the hosts.
Llorente has had a fine influence on young centre-back partner Pascal Strujik and the two have showed signs of forming a promising understanding – losing just one of their nine fixtures partnered together in central defence this season.
Left-back: Tyrick Mitchell – Crystal Palace
On a weekend where several Premier League youngsters enjoyed moments to savour, Tyrick Mitchell proved Crystal Palace’s match-winner as the Eagles twice fought back to win against Aston Villa.
Roy Hodgson’s team twice trailed before rallying impressively at Selhurst Park, their first equaliser coming through Christian Benteke as he met Mitchell’s floated cross to power home for the third consecutive fixture.
⭐ Tyrick Mitchell has scored his first senior goal (in 22nd career appearance). Aged 21 yrs, 257 days, he’s Crystal Palace’s youngest PL scorer since Clinton Morrison (18 yrs, 361 days) in May 1998 pic.twitter.com/j9KbaPq06t
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 16, 2021
Mitchell was energetic throughout down the left and dovetailed well with Jeffrey Schlupp, ghosting into the box six minutes from time to bundle home and score his first career goal.
Midfield: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Tottenham
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was back to his best as the midfield general of the Spurs team this weekend, influential at both ends of the pitch as the north Londoners kept alive their European hopes with a 2-0 win over Wolves.
The Denmark international was competitive and combative in regaining possession for his side, whilst his passing was assured as the 25-year-old completed 94% of his passes, including the assist for Harry Kane’s opener with a defence-splitting ball in behind.
Hojbjerg sealed the win with just his second Spurs goal after following up Gareth Bale’s strike, a quality performance from a player who has been amongst the bright sparks of the club’s season.
Dele Alli – back in favour under interim manager Ryan Mason – deserves a mention for an encouraging performance of creative class.
Midfield: Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool
The best player on the pitch as Liverpool left it late to win at West Brom, this was a performance that reminded fickle fans just what Thiago can bring to this side.
It’s been a difficult debut season for the midfielder since his arrival from Bayern Munich, sidelined following a knee injury in the Merseyside derby before returning to the side as Liverpool’s title defence capitulated.
After a period of indifferent adaptation, there are now signs the Spaniard is ready to truly shine in the Reds’ midfield, Thiago at the centre of his side’s play this weekend as he competed throughout and made things happen with his probing passing range.
Thiago’s game by numbers vs. West Brom:
100% take-on success
91% pass accuracy
96 passes completed
10 duels won
7 ball recoveries
6 penalty area entries
5 chances created
He was brilliant today. 👌 pic.twitter.com/Gj8BpwfObr
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 16, 2021
Always available and happy to shoulder the creative responsibility, he pulled the strings to carve out five chances for his teammates, whilst winning 10 duels and taking five shots on goal in a complete midfield performance.
Right-wing: Ferran Torres – Manchester City
An excellent showing as Manchester City set a new league record of 12 consecutive away victories, Torres scored a superb hat-trick in his side’s thrilling 4-3 win at Newcastle.
The Spaniard has shown flashes of his potential during his debut season in English football, with this latest performance his best yet as he took all three goals in fine fashion and flourished both wide and after moving into a central role.
Torres’ first came from an incredible flick before showcasing his clinical instinct to finish with a hat-trick, taking his tally to 13 goals in just 23 starts during a promising first season at the Etihad.
Night to Remember! 💥💥💥 ➕3 #betterneverstops pic.twitter.com/ox0MhWzYZR
— Ferran Torres (@FerranTorres20) May 14, 2021
Pep Guardiola believes the 21-year-old’s future could be as a number nine and on this showing City could yet save themselves a fortune in their search for a new centre-forward.
Left-wing: Jack Harrison – Leeds
Leeds followed up last weekend’s impressive win over Tottenham with a thumping of Burnley at Turf Moor, scoring four without reply to cement their place in the Premier League’s top half.
Jack Harrison has been a valuable contributor on the club’s return to the top tier this season and was the architect of the win over the Clarets, scoring once and providing a further two assists with the winger involved in his side’s best attacking play.
Harrison improvised brilliantly to flick home Leeds’ second goal after Mateusz Klich’s opener, before two perfectly-weighted passes assisted Rodrigo’s quick-fire double to secure a resounding win.
⭐ No English midfielder has more PL goal involvements this season than Leeds' Jack Harrison (16):
8️⃣ 🅰️ pic.twitter.com/qtORJHD8RT
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 15, 2021
Harrison now has eight goals and eight assists in the Premier League this season, with no English midfielder having registered more than his 16 goal involvements.
Forward: Rodrigo – Leeds
Fantastic influence off the bench as he scored twice in clinical fashion to seal Leeds’ win at Burnley, Rodrigo showed why he is often selected at centre-forward for the Spanish national side.
The club-record signing has featured in a variety of roles for Marcelo Bielsa during the current campaign, but showed his credentials after coming off the bench as a striker with two fine finishes.
The 30-year-old first collected Jack Harrison’s through pass before lifting a delightful dink over the onrushing Bailey Peacock-Farrell, before rounding the goalkeeper and firing home for his second.
Rodrigo has taken time to adjust to Leeds this season but his performances in recent weeks offer encouragement ahead of next season.
Forward: Nathan Tella – Southampton
The second super-sub to feature in our two-man forward line, Nathan Tella came off the bench as Southampton made it back-to-back wins to rise to 14th in the Premier League.
After a difficult second half of the campaign, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side won 3-1 against Fulham with Tella providing a glimpse of the future with his impact after arriving as a substitute.
The 21-year-old scored his first senior goal to double the Saints’ advantage, before showing both great awareness and unselfishness to assist Theo Walcott with a backheel for Southampton’s third.
The academy graduate came through the ranks as a winger but showed his quality in a more central role, Tella the latest exciting product to emerge from the Saints’ ranks.
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