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Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 22

Each week we delve through the Premier League’s weekend action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.

Everton began life under Sean Dyche with an upset of league leaders Arsenal at Goodison, but Manchester City failed to capitalise on that result after losing at Tottenham.

Elsewhere, Forest beat Leeds, Brighton and Brentford continued their impressive recent form with wins, and Liverpool’s season went from bad to worse after being thrashed at Wolves.

 

Here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.

GK: Keylor Navas – Nottingham Forest

It’s a funny old game, football.

Just 18 months ago, Nottingham Forest were rooted to the bottom of the Championship table. Fast forward to the current day and Forest have ended their 23-year Premier League exile, embarked on a staggering recruitment drive of 29 new players, and watched a three-time Champions League winner produce a classy debut at the City Ground.

Navas demonstrated his pedigree with a fine first performance for Forest, as the goalkeeper produced a string of first-half saves to keep his side ahead against Leeds.

Brennan Johnson’s goal had put the hosts ahead, but Forest relied upon the PSG loanee to make a number of interventions and preserve their clean sheet. It’s now five unbeaten for Steve Cooper’s side, in what felt like a big win this weekend.

Right-back: Kenny Tete – Fulham

Fulham frustrated Chelsea’s expensively assembled side on Friday evening as the Cottagers continued their impressive Premier League return with a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

Kenny Tete produced an outstanding individual performance at right-back for Fulham, leading the clash for duels won (10), crosses (7) and fouls won (4). The Dutchman shutdown more than £150m worth of talent, as Mykhaylo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and Raheem Sterling all tried and failed to get the better of Tete.

Mudryk was withdrawn at half-time of his full debut for Chelsea having failed to register a shot, take-on or create a chance, such was Tete’s performance of last-ditch challenges and intelligent defending at the back post,

Centre-back: James Tarkowski

Everton are up and running under Sean Dyche after a 1-0 win over Arsenal at Goodison Park, as an atmospheric home crowd roared on their side to an upset of the league leaders.

Arsenal have barely faultered all season, but a performance of grit and aggression from Everton unsettled the visitors and earned Dyche an important first win. At the centre of the performance was James Tarkowski, who ensured his former Burnley boss began with three points after meeting Dwight McNeil’s corner to head home his first Everton goal.

The centre-back was dominant in the air and willing to put his body on the line defensively in a performance that will have delighted Dyche. It’s early days, but his goal might just kick-start Everton’s climb from trouble.

Centre-back: Lisandro Martinez

Another top-class performance from the summer signing, who threw himself into blocks and challenges as ten-man Manchester United survived late pressure to beat Crystal Palace.

Martinez continued his fine form with another determined defensive display, in which the World Cup winner was positive in possession and alert to danger. Time and time again he nipped in first to frustrate the forward line of the visitors, ensuring Palace were unable to build on their man advantage and create clear-cut chances.

His exuberant passion for defending has earned ‘The Butcher’ cult status at Old Trafford. The early season doubts, from some, seem a long time ago now. He’s a prominent fixture in Erik ten Hag’s improving team, who saw each of the other three teams in the top four drop points this weekend.

Centre-back: Nayef Aguerd

An excellent performance from the Moroccan, who is beginning to underline just why David Moyes was so keen to bring him to the Premier League last summer.

Aguerd missed much of the opening months of the campaign with injury, but has shone since returning from the World Cup and was man-of-the-match as West Ham drew at Newcastle this weekend. The 26-year-old won seven duels, made five clearances, and completed 100% of his take-ons with a level of calmness under pressure as the home side pressed high.

He made one vital interception to stop Callum Wilson from reaching Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross, before a stunning last-ditch challenge denied the forward once again. What a tackle from the defender, who is fast becoming a favourite in the East End.

Left back: Victor Kristiansen – Leicester

Leicester’s new signings helped Brendan Rodgers’ side return to winning ways this weekend, as the Foxes edged an entertaining Midlands match-up at Aston Villa.

Victor Kristiansen was solid on his Premier League debut in Leicester’s 4-2 win at Villa Park, with the Danish left-back winning eight duels, making three passes into the final third and completing a game-high six tackles.

The 20-year-old – who became most expensive Superligaen player ever when leaving F.C. Copenhagen in January – looks an astute addition.

Midfield: Amadou Onana

Brilliant from the Belgian, who epitomised Everton’s high energy and intensity in Sean Dyche’s debut win.

Onana was everywhere in a fine midfield performance, as he crashed into challenges, showed fine footwork and drove Everton forward with lung-busting bursts forward into the final third. His physical presence and power when marauding from midfield was a feature of Everton’s success, with Onana winning seven duels and regaining possession on eight occasions.

On this performance, its clear to see why the 21-year-old was of interest to rival sides last month, including Chelsea and Arsenal. The Gunners felt the full force of Onana’s talents in an authoritative performance this weekend.

Midfield: Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves was fantastic as Wolves devoured Liverpool at Molineux, with the captain orchestrating a superb 3-0 win for Julen Lopetegui’s side.

Neves won challenges and dictated the tempo of the game in a fine performance, with the recent arrival of Mario Lemina – outstanding in regaining and recycling the ball – providing the club captain with licence to venture forward.

That tactic was rewarded in the second half as Neves capped an emphatic Wolves win, bursting forward from midfield and finishing confidently past Alisson. The combination of craft and energy in Wolves’ new-look midfield is a foundation that Lopetegui can build on.

Right-wing: Tete

Tete enjoyed a dream debut as Leicester came out on top in six-goal thriller at Aston Villa.

The 22-year-old became the Foxes’ first ever Brazilian player after signing on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk and enjoyed an encouraging debut performance in the club’s colours. The winger was electric on occasion at Villa Park, as he won ten duels and completed five take-ons.

Tete’s five completed dribbles were more than any Leicester player has recorded in a game this season, while he capped a perfect first performance with a goal after rounding Emiliano Martinez to score the visitor’s third on the stroke of half-time.

It is a strong start that has caused excitement at the King Power Stadium.

Left-wing: Kaoru Mitoma – Brighton

Kaoru Mitoma is hot property right now and continued his stellar form as Brighton beat Bournemouth this weekend. It’s now seven goals for the season for Mitoma, each of which have come across his last 11 appearances, at a rate of a goal every 164 minutes.

The Japan international has been a breath of fresh air this season, starring for the Seagulls with his ability to unlock defences with bursts of pace and dribbles through congested traffic. Mitoma is more than just a ball-carrier however, and showed his threat in the air after heading in Jeremy Sarmiento’s cross for an 87th-minute winner this weekend.

It’s a goal that keeps alive Brighton’s push for Europe, with the Seagulls sixth and dreaming of continental road trips next season.

Forward: Harry Kane – Tottenham

Harry Kane is now Tottenham’s all-time record goalscorer after netting his 267th for the north Londoners to decide Sunday’s showdown with Manchester City.

Kane’s goal earned Spurs a 1-0 win over the Premier League champions, continuing their hoodoo over Pep Guardiola’s side in the capital. It was far from a vintage goal from Kane, but he will care little as he scored his record-breaking winner and reached 200 goals in the Premier League faster than either of Alan Shearer or Wayne Rooney.

His goal capped an excellent performance from the 29-year-old, who used his body brilliantly to hold up the ball and provide Spurs with an outlet. In the absence of Antonio Conte, this was a team performance stamped in his style. Emerson Royal and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also deserve huge credit for their roles in a win that keeps Spurs in touch with the top four.

Read – Six January deals you might have missed across Europe

Read Also – Rating the impact of every striker Man United have signed since Fergie retired

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