That’s a wrap for Premier League football in 2023, following the final fixtures of the calendar year. After the latest action, we’ve selected our Premier League Team of the Week from the weekend’s fixtures.
Goalkeeper: Djordje Petrovic – Chelsea
A solid showing from the Serbian, who dealt with the aerial threat of Luton well at Kenilworth Road. Petrovic came for crosses and commanded his box, while offering confident distribution.
The 24-year-old did well to tip Carlton Morris’ header onto the crossbar and will be disappointed that another superb save from Alfie Doughty was not rewarded, as Elijah Adebayo steered in the rebound.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 31, 2023
Right-back: Gonzalo Montiel – Nottingham Forest
Up and down all game in a high-energy performance from the Argentina international against Manchester United.
The World Cup winner was full of hard-running and shackled the threat of the in-form Alejandro Garnacho, while producing a clever pass to tee up Nicolas Dominguez for the opening goal.
Centre-back: Craig Dawson – Wolves
Wolves won for the third consecutive game after beating Everton, cruising to a 3-0 win over the Merseysiders at Molineux.
Craig Dawon was on the scoresheet for the home side, the highlight of a standout showing from the centre-back. The 33-year-old made seven clearances, won three tackles and won seven duels in the game, adding old-school defensive nous alongside the calm of Max Kilman and athleticism of Toti Gomes.
Wolves are on the up, and outside the top half only on goal difference.
Centre-back: Calvin Bassey – Fulham
A dominant defensive performance from the Fulham centre-back, who led his team to a 2-1 win over Arsenal on New Year’s Eve.
Bassey controlled the threat of Arsenal’s forward line, making a game-leading five clearances, winning five duels, and completing 93% of his passes as he distributed the ball effectively. Fulham will feel his absence next month, as Bassey departs to lead Nigeria’s challenge at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Calvin Bassey’s game by numbers vs. Arsenal:
100% take-ons completed
93% pass accuracy
5 final third entries
5 x possession won
5 clearances (most)
5 duels won
3 tackles made
— Squawka Live (@Squawka_Live) December 31, 2023
Left-back: Antonee Robinson – Fulham
Another excellent outing from Antonee Robinson, who continues to show why he is at the centre of transfer links as the January window opens. Barring the early goal, Robinson largely locked down the threat of Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, with the USA international winning five duels, four tackles and making five clearances.
The 26-year-old completed the contest without being dribbled past as Fulham won 2-1 to upset the title-chasing Gunners at Craven Cottage. With improved decision-making in the final third, Robinson is capable of stepping up another level.
Midfield: Giovani Lo Celso – Tottenham
Ange Postecoglou has brought Giovani Lo Celso back in from the cold at Spurs and the midfielder has been like a new signing in North London.
Back from 18 months on loan at Villarreal, he has become an important part of the Spurs squad under the new manager and produced his best performance of the campaign against Bournemouth.
The 27-year-old created the opening two goals for Pape Matar Sarr and Son Heung-min, while leading the contest for fouls won (4), ball recoveries (9) duels won (10/13) and completed dribbles (3).
Lo Celso has never lacked for effort and that commitment has relaunched his Spurs career.
Midfield: Phil Foden – Manchester City
Another magical performance from the midfielder, who is thriving in a central role at Manchester City.
Foden was the best player on the pitch once again for his side, as the champions eased past Sheffield United at the Etihad. He created both goals in a 2-0 win for Pep Guardiola’s team, completed 98% of his passes, and fashioned six chances for his City teammates.
🔢 – Phil Foden’s last two games for @ManCity:
9 chances created
2 big chances created
130 successful passes
96% passing accuracy
17 touches in the opp box
74 off-ball runs
9 pressures resulting in opp turnover
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2023
Full of flair, invention and effortless ability on the ball, Foden is in fantastic form right now.
Midfield: Cole Palmer – Chelsea
Palmer returned from suspension to be Chelsea’s match winner at Luton, scoring twice and creating another in a brilliant performance. The 21-year-old rifled in the opening goal at Kenilworth Road after capitalising on a defensive mistake, before rolling in Noni Madueke to double Chelsea’s lead.
The third was a moment of real class, as Palmer sidestepped the goalkeeper, danced around another defensive challenge, and prodded in from close range. Cool, composed, and quality in the final third, only Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham has been involved in more goals among u-21 players in Europe’s top leagues this season. He’s been a superb signing for Chelsea.
Ice cold. ❄️ pic.twitter.com/qXa2i5FPts
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 31, 2023
Forward: Michael Olise – Crystal Palace
How Crystal Palace needed this win.
The Eagles’ star names led the charge as goals from Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze earned Palace a crucial 3-1 win over Brentford, ending the club’s nine-game run without a win.
Olise was on target twice to be Palace’s match winner, cancelling out Keane Lewis-Potter’s opener for Brentford with a controlled finish from Jordan Ayew’s cross. The Frenchman wrapped up the win just before the hour, as Olise drifted infield and placed a perfect finish into the bottom corner.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) December 31, 2023
It’s now five goals in seven Premier League starts for Olise this season. Back to form and fitness, he can be the driving force behind Palace’s bid to escape trouble.
Forward: Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa
So influential for Aston Villa, even without troubling the scoresheet.
Watkins worked his socks off for the cause against Burnley, running the channels with his usual appetite for closing down opponents and stretching defences. His work ethic was rewarded with two assists as Villa continued their charge for Champions League football, picking out Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby for the first two goals.
🅰️ No player has registered more assists than Ollie Watkins in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season (8) pic.twitter.com/ajrN8bwz2U
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 31, 2023
It’s now eight assists for the season for Watkins, a league-leading total. The 28-year-old is, selflessly, leading from the front.
Forward: Matheus Cunha – Wolves
Matheus Cunha was involved in all three goals as Wolves thrashed Everton 3-0 at Molineux.
The Brazilian’s dangerous cross ended with Max Kilman prodding home the opener, before Cunha struck the second for the home side with his sixth goal of the Premier League campaign. Cunha’s cross was then diverted home by Craig Dawson to make it three-nil, as the forward claimed a goal and assist in an influential performance.
Matheus Cunha’s game by numbers vs. Everton:
94% pass accuracy
32/34 passes completed
4 ground duels won
3/3 long balls completed
2/3 dribbles completed
2 key passes
1 big chance created
Superb performance. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/QDwbXdvdtE
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 30, 2023
Wolves will need more performances like this from Cunha in the coming weeks, as leading scorer Hwang Hee-chan takes his leave for the Asian Cup.
See more – Five of the best value signings of 2023/24