We’re back with our Premier League Team of the Week, as we delve through the latest action and compile an XI of the weekend’s best performers.
It’s advantage Manchester City in the title race, as the Premier League champions capitalised on a slip up from Liverpool to move a huge step closer to defending their crown.
Everton climbed out of the Premier League’s bottom three with a 2-1 win at Leicester, whilst a season of disappointments for Manchester United reached a new low as the Red Devils were thrashed 4-0 at Brighton.
Here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford – Everton
In Everton’s time of need the England number one has risen to the occasion, following a heroic performance against Chelsea last week with another showing of superb shot-stopping at Leicester.
The Toffees are out of the bottom three after a 2-1 win at Leicester, with Pickford’s second-half showing ensuring Frank Lampard’s team left the King Power Stadium with all three points.
Pickford made a fantastic full-length save to palm away Nampalys Mendy’s strike before another smart stop to deny Harvey Barnes from close range.
Right-back: Kristoffer Ajer – Brentford
A great all-round performance from the Brentford defender, who helped his side to a 3-0 win over a Southampton team without a win in four and who are in danger of being dragged into the Premier League’s relegation battle.
Ajer has been a shrewd signing for the Bees since arriving from Celtic last summer, his comfortability at centre-back and full-back a valuable asset to Thomas Frank’s squad.
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) May 7, 2022
The Norwegian scored his first Premier League goal in fine style this weekend, showing nimble footwork inside the area to burst between defenders and fire home.
Centre-back: Cristian Romero – Tottenham
Another impressive performance from the Tottenham centre-back, whose front-footed defending helped his side to a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
Romero has shone in recent weeks for the North Londoners and was again a rock at Anfield, making nine ball recoveries, eight clearances and winning duels both in the air and on the ground.
Premier League forwards are already aware that there will not be a moment’s peace with Romero in direct opposition.
Cristian Romero's game by numbers vs Liverpool:
100% tackles won (1/1)
76% pass accuracy (38/50)
75% aerial duels won (3/4)
69 total touches
9 ball recoveries
1 block made
A rock at the back. 🪨⚪️ pic.twitter.com/w1tfKQFvDn
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 7, 2022
Centre-back: Marc Cucurella – Brighton
Cucurella featured on the left side of a back three against Manchester United, but the more disciplined position did not prevent the defender from bursting forward to join the attack.
The Spaniard was excellent in Brighton’s 4-0 thrashing of the Red Devils, bringing tenacity and energy to the side and capping a fine performance with his first Premier League goal.
Unbelievable 🔥 pic.twitter.com/iVs6ITCXq0
— Marc Cucurella (@cucurella3) May 7, 2022
The 23-year-old has been a brilliant signing for a Brighton team heading towards their highest ever Premier League finish and his first goal for the Seagulls was one to remember, lashing a finish into the top corner from Leandro Trossard’s cut-back.
Left-back: Vitaliy Mykolenko – Everton
Vitaliy Mykolenko has overcome a shaky start at Everton to grow in stature in recent weeks and the left-back got his reward for improved performances with a stunning first goal for the club this weekend.
The Ukrainian’s sublime strike set Everton on their way to a 2-1 win at Leicester, as Alex Iwobi’s lofted cross was volleyed in with perfect technique from the edge of the area.
VITALII MYKOLENKO. 🤩
— Everton (@Everton) May 8, 2022
Questioned upon his initial arrival, the travelling Toffees fans who sang his name loudly will hope the injury that later forced him from the field is not a serious one.
Midfield: Moises Caicedo – Brighton
Brighton’s strong finish to the season has been built on an impressive midfield axis of Moises Caicedo and Yves Bissouma, with the former having become an instant fans’ favourite since making his Premier League debut last month.
The 20-year-old was outstanding in the 4-0 win over Manchester United, performing with a maturity that defied his recent introduction into the side.
Caicedo completed 91% of his passes and won five duels against the Red Devils, whilst the midfielder was a celebrating a first Premier League goal against the team who overlooked his signing in 2021.
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 7, 2022
On the early evidence of his Premier League adaptation, there might be some regrets from the Old Trafford hierarchy at not following up on their reported interest.
Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
Exceptional from start to finish as Manchester City bounced back from their European exit with a 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle at the Etihad.
After the disappointment of midweek this was the perfect response from the champions, who capitalised on Liverpool’s dropped points to move a huge step closer to defending the title this season.
On this form there are few, if any, better footballers in world football than De Bruyne who carved out chances and found passes between defensive lines.
Kevin De Bruyne’s last 17 Premier League games:
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 8, 2022
It’s now 14 goal involvements in 14 games at the Etihad this season for the Belgium international, who has found his form at a crucial time in the campaign for Pep Guardiola’s team.
One of the most watchable footballers around when in this sort of mood.
Right-wing: Jarrod Bowen – West Ham
West Ham were another team to bounce back from a European elimination to impress this weekend, running riot against relegated Norwich at Carrow Road.
Jarrod Bowen continued his career-best campaign with another showing of creative class, finishing the clash with two assists – in addition to being involved in a third goal – to move to 10+ for both goals and assists in the Premier League this season.
Jarrod Bowen has become the first player to notch 10+ goals and 10+ assists in a single Premier League season for the Club since Paolo Di Canio in 1999/2000. pic.twitter.com/TmQE1NxJq0
— West Ham United (@WestHam) May 8, 2022
Only Harry Kane (21) has been directly involved in more than Bowen’s 20 goals in the Premier League this season and an England call-up can not be far away for the West Ham winger.
Left-wing: Leandro Trossard – Brighton
One of several standouts in a fantastic team performance from Brighton this weekend, with Trossard and Pascal Gross pulling the strings for a rampant Seagulls side.
The Belgian was a constant threat down the left in his wing-back role at the Amex Stadium and his quality around the area led to a big win for Graham Potter’s side, finishing the clash with two assists and a goal in an emphatic win over Manchester United.
— Leandro Trossard (@LTrossard) May 7, 2022
Trossard kept a cool head to pick out Marc Cucurella for his first-time effort, before showing great determination to follow in Danny Welbeck’s effort and bundle in a fourth for the home side.
With the likes of Trossard, Gross and Alexis Mac Allister bringing creativity to this side, there is a sense of wonder at what Brighton could achieve with a prolific forward in their ranks.
Forward: Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea
More like it from Chelsea’s record signing, who issued a statement performance to Thomas Tuchel against Wolves.
Lukuku won and cooly converted a penalty to open the scoring for the West Londoners, before scoring a brilliant second which showcased the pace, power and finishing ability of the Belgium international.
Romelu Lukaku is now Chelsea's top goalscorer this season with 14 goals 😲 pic.twitter.com/zUrwBwCUfI
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 7, 2022
It’s been a difficult season for Lukaku, but this was a reminder of his quality and what he can bring to his side. Despite his limited involvement and struggle for form this season, he’s now Chelsea’s leading scorer with 14 goals in all competitions.
Forward: Eddie Nketiah – Arsenal
Eddie Nketiah has taken his chance at Arsenal with the forward scoring twice in the club’s 2-1 win over Leeds this weekend.
The 22-year-old has made a huge difference to the Gunners since being introduced into the team and netted twice inside the opening 10 minutes against Leeds, first coming from a high press on Illan Mesilier before a second arrived soon after.
5'—Arsenal 1-0 Leeds
10'—Arsenal 2-0 Leeds
Eddie Nketiah with the double in just 10 minutes ⚡ pic.twitter.com/EhBC2ruCc1
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 8, 2022
It was a sweet moment for Nketiah after the frustration of his loan at Leeds in 2019/20 and it’s now four goals in five Premier League starts this season.
His latest could be decisive for Champions League chasing Arsenal, who now have a four-point lead over Tottenham ahead of this week’s North London derby.