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Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 31

Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 31:

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

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford – Everton

England’s number one responded to the predictable taunts on Tyneside with an inspired individual performance as he helped Everton to a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.

Pickford made a string of saves in a man-of-the-match performance, denying Jacob Murphy and Harvey Barnes before tipping an Alexander Isak effort over the crossbar. His displays have been crucial to Everton surviving relegation in recent campaigns and might just be the difference again.

Right-back: Neco Williams – Nottingham Forest

Neco Williams gives everything in every game and the Forest fan favourite was at it again in his side’s win over Fulham. Forest climbed clear of the relegation places with a fine team performance that saw Williams work tirelessly up and down the right flank.

The Welshman was non-stop in a crucial contest and unfortunate not to score after hitting the woodwork. So consistent this season, he will be a contender for the Player of the Season award at the City Ground.

Centre-back: Kurt Zouma – West Ham

The West Ham captain led by example after his weekend woes at Newcastle and got the Hammers back – quite literally – into the game against Spurs. Zouma rose to divert Jarrod Bowen’s corner kick in off his back and racked up eight clearances during a solid showing.

He’s now scored 11 league goals across the last four Premier League campaigns, only Arsenal’s Gabriel Magalhães (14) has more among defenders.

Centre-back: Dan Burn – Newcastle

Excellent in the air against Everton after returning to a central role to help Newcastle deal with their centre-back crisis. Burn looked far more comfortable in the middle and relished his duel with Beto, winning a whopping 15 duels, including 11 in the air.

He also recorded six clearances and his distribution was good, completing 91.2% of his passes at St James’ Park. Was unfortunate not to score after his effort was disallowed by VAR.

Left-back: Rayan Ait-Nouri – Wolves

Rayan Ait-Nouri’s hot streak in front of goal continued as the Algerian made it three in four appearances during Wolves’ draw at Burnley.

The left-back – who has been used in a more advanced role in recent weeks – met Pablo Sarabia’s free-kick to head home in first-half stoppage time, after Jacob Bruun Larsen’s opener for the home side. An all-action outing also saw Ait-Nouri win 16 duels and complete 5/6 dribbles down the left flank.

Midfield: Rodri – Manchester City

Pep Guardiola made changes for this week’s clash with Aston Villa, though the undroppable Rodri remained in the side. The Spaniard missed the defeat at Villa earlier in the campaign – and indeed each of City’s four losses in all competitions this season – but bossed this contest.

He opened the scoring after slamming in from Jeremy Doku’s cut-back and recorded an assist with a wonderful pass for Phil Foden. Rodri is the man who makes this team tick and City cannot afford to be without him across the run-in.

Midfield: Morgan Gibbs-White – Nottingham Forest

Morgan Gibbs-White is a pleasure to watch in this mood and inspired Nottingham Forest to a crucial 3-1 win over Fulham. An audacious spin and pass set Callum Hudson-Odoi away for the opener at the City Ground, before he left Tosin Adarabioyo for dead to set up another chance for the winger.

Anthony Elanga should have done better with another chance created by Gibbs-White, who decided to take matters into his own hands with a well-deserved goal for Forest’s third. Back to his best and the vultures will be circling the City Ground for the 24-year-old in the summer.

Midfield: Phil Foden – Manchester City

Just so, so good.

Phil Foden’s fantastic season continued with a second hat-trick of the Premier League campaign against Aston Villa. The fixture with the top-four hopefuls was viewed as a banana skin for the champions in their title challenge, but Foden’s fabulous performance ensured a comfortable night for City.

His free-kick restored the lead for the Citizens after Jhon Duran had cancelled out Rodri’s opener, before the 23-year-old swept the hosts into the lead after the break. His hat-trick was completed in stunning fashion with an effort rifled into the top corner, extending his record to 21 goals in all competitions this season.

Right-wing: Cole Palmer – Chelsea

Cole Palmer’s remarkable season reached a new high as the Chelsea forward hit a hat-trick to earn his side a 4-3 win over Manchester United. The 21-year-old just oozes cool and confidently dispatched two spot-kicks before drilling in a deflected 111th-minute winner. Chelsea trailed deep into stoppage time, but Palmer’s late, late double turned the tie on its head.

He has been magic this season, and the odds for him to claim the PFA Young Player of the Year award must be shortening with each performance.

Left-wing: Emile Smith Rowe – Arsenal

Emile Smith Rowe provided a timely reminder of his talent with an encouraging display on his return to the Arsenal side. Mikel Arteta rotated his options against Luton and Smith Rowe seized the chance to send his manager a statement.

The midfielder’s energy in the press led to the first goal for the Gunners before he set up the second as Daiki Hashioka put through his own net. After a frustrating time for the midfielder, this was a welcomed opportunity and one he took.

Forward: Chris Wood – Nottingham Forest

A man in form. Chris Wood struck for the third consecutive game as Nottingham Forest boosted their survival hopes with a 3-1 win over Fulham.

The New Zealander opened up and let fly from distance with a finish that whistled past Bernd Leno in the visitor’s goal.

Some questioned his signing on a permanent deal in the summer, but Wood has delivered 11 league goals from limited service. He has the best conversion rate (46%) and shot accuracy (71%) of any player to have scored 8+ goals this season.

Read – Premier League Awards: Hat-trick heroes, outrageous assists

See more – Ranking the five best left-wingers in the world right now 

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