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Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 26

Our Premier League Team of the Week for Matchday 26, following another round of brilliant action in the division this weekend.

Here are our leading performers from the Premier League’s weekend games.

Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 26

Goalkeeper: Ederson – Manchester City

Overcame an inauspicious start to make some important stops as Manchester City secured a hard-fought win at Bournemouth. The Brazilian tipped Milos Kerkez’s dipping drive over the crossbar in the first half, before clawing away Dominic Solanke’s close-range header after the break.

His 110th Premier League clean sheet for Manchester City set a new club record, overtaking Joe Hart.

Centre-back: John Stones – Manchester City

What a footballer.

John Stones was absolutely everywhere in Manchester City’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth, with the centre-back’s inversion into midfield taken to a whole new level. Against the Cherries, Stones was all over the pitch, popping up in the number ten position and galloping forward on ahead of the forward line.

The intelligence and execution of his unique role is outstanding and his return to full fitness should concern City’s title rivals. Stones’ is central to City’s control of games in a roving role around the ground.

Centre-back: Jarrad Branthwaite – Everton

Dominant defensively and took his goal like a seasoned striker, as Everton earned a 1-1 draw at Brighton. Branthwaite’s sharp touch and fierce finish opened the scoring at the Amex Stadium, the highlight of a performance in which the young centre-back excelled.

One perfectly-timed challenge on Simon Adingra in the box showed his qualities and the 21-year-old must be in contention for a maiden England call-up next month. Gareth Southgate has few options in better form – or of such promise – as Branthwaite right now.

Centre-back: Calvin Bassey – Fulham

Another defender on the scoresheet in a big win for Fulham at Manchester United.

Bassey battled well against an ineffective Manchester United forward line and opened the scoring with a thumping finish at the second attempt.

The Nigeria international bounced back from his AFCON final disappointment to star as Fulham celebrated a first win at Old Trafford in 20 years.

Jorginho – Arsenal

Ran the game from the base of the midfield and proved why he should have started in the midweek defeat to Porto. With Arsenal in control, Jorginho thrived, pulling the strings in front of the back four and getting the Gunners on the front foot with incisive passing.

His two-man pivot with Declan Rice brings balance to the Arsenal side and allows the club’s exciting quartet of attacking talent to thrive further forward.

Midfield: John McGinn – Aston Villa

Covered every blade of grass as Aston Villa beat Nottingham Forest 4-2 to improve their chances of a top-four finish. The Scotland international is known for his industry and appeared to be everywhere at Villa Park in his bid to regain possession and fashion chances.

A brilliant ball to Leon Bailey helped create the opener and McGinn continued in that vein all afternoon, registering an assist with a pinpoint cross for Douglas Luiz to head home. One of several Villa players producing the best football of their careers under Unai Emery this season.

Right-wing: Leon Bailey – Aston Villa

Continues to quietly impress as one of the most effective wide options in the Premier League. Bailey’s inconsistency has been replaced with a reliable end product this season and the Jamaica international helped himself to a goal and assist against Nottingham Forest.

His assist for Ollie Watkins’ opener was superb as he beat two defenders, including a nutmeg, and squared for the striker to tap home. Bailey then followed up a rebound to score the fourth after Nottingham Forest had threatened a comeback, taking his total to 15 goals and assists in the Premier League this season. Only Mohamed Salah (75) and Erling Haaland (79) have fewer minutes per goal involvement than Bailey (84) this season.

Left-wing: Alex Iwobi – Fulham

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.

Alex Iwobi was guilty of wasting some good chances during Fulham’s fixture with Manchester United but delivered when it mattered with a stoppage-time winner at Old Trafford.

Iwobi gave Andre Onana the eyes to whip a low finish into the bottom corner, the reward for a performance in which the Nigerian never stopped running for the Fulham cause. A great all-round performance from Iwobi, wrapped in customary endeavour.

 

Forward: Jordan Ayew – Crystal Palace

Olivier Glasner’s tenure at Crystal Palace got off to a dream start as the Eagles eased their relegation concerns with a 3-0 win over Burnley. Jordan Ayew was instrumental in the success at Selhurst Park, setting up Chris Richards for the opening goal with a fine cross, before getting on the scoresheet to make it back-to-back Premier League games with a goal.

The Ghanaian now has 10 goal involvements for the season, just one short of his career-best total of 11 set in 2019/20. A £2.5m signing from Swansea, he has pound-for-pound been one of Palace’s best signings of recent years.

Forward: Kai Havertz – Arsenal

Impressed from the offset leading the line against Newcastle, with his work rate setting the tone for Arsenal’s press. The German has hit a decent run of form as a stop-gap centre-forward and tucked away Arsenal’s second goal with confidence at the Emirates.

Havertz then turned provider for the third in a performance that saw him link the play all evening. Edu spoke before the game about Arsenal’s plans to sign a striker in the summer, though Havertz has helped ensure the club’s lack of an out-and-out forward has not been noticed during a free-scoring run in recent weeks.

Forward: Rodrigo Muniz – Fulham

Rodrigo Muniz has been a revelation for Fulham in recent weeks, with the Brazilian finding his feet after a largely underwhelming couple of seasons with the Cottagers. The 22-year-old followed a recent run of goals with a fine performance at Manchester United, who struggled to contain his physical threat.

The Fulham forward manhandled the United central defenders on occasion and showed brilliant hold-up play with his back to goal. His emergence has been a surprise in West London from the outside, though Marco Silva has been rewarded for his faith in a raw diamond.

Read – Ranking the most profitable Premier League academies

See more – Tweets of the Week: Tarkowski the charmer, disrespectful Messi, Champions League decline

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