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HomeOpinion/FeaturesPremier League Team of the Week - Matchday 34

Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 34

Names from Burnley, Brentford and Aston Villa feature prominently as we run through our Premier League Team of the Week from Matchday 34.

Goalkeeper: Arijanet Muric – Burnley

Bouncebackability.

After awful errors cost the Clarets points in successive fixtures, Arijanet Muric bounced back when Burnley needed him this weekend. In a huge relegation six-pointer with Sheffield United, Muric made fantastic early stops from Oliver McBurnie and Ben Brereton Diaz with the game goalless, providing the platform for Burnley to go on and claim a vital win.

An exceptional stop from James McAtee followed and he ended the contest with 10 saves at Bramall Lane. That will do him the world of good after a tough couple of weeks.

Right-back: Lorenz Assignon – Burnley

Purposeful all game as an attacking outlet from full-back for Burnley. The defender registered his first Premier League goal to double the Clarets’ lead at Sheffield United, with quick feet and positive intentions seeing Assignon burst into the box to fire home.

He later set up the third goal for Lyle Foster, chopping inside during another driving run and sliding a pass in the South African striker to convert.

Centre-back: Ezri Konsa – Aston Villa

Another day at the office for a defender who might just be one of the most under-appreciated in the division. Konsa was immaculate as Aston Villa survived a scare to beat Bournemouth, barely putting a foot wrong in another performance of composure and quality.

Back in his favoured centre-back role, he read the game superbly, including one brilliant challenge to stop Dominic Solanke, and exuded trademark calm when under pressure. So good one-against-one, on this form he should be heading to Euro 2024 this summer.

Centre-back: Jarrad Branthwaite – Everton

A much-improved performance from Everton defensively after their s***show at Chelsea on Monday night. Jarrad Branthwaite shook off an injury doubt to impress alongside James Tarkowski, providing composure alongside the Everton captain and winning 6/9 defensive duels.

One surging run forward lifted the home crowd on a big afternoon for the Toffees, who beat relegation rivals Nottingham Forest 2-0 to pull clear of the drop zone. It’s 10 clean sheets for the campaign for Everton – only Arsenal have more (15).

Left-back: Sergio Reguilon – Brentford

Sergio Reguilon has resurrected his career since arriving at Brentford in January, and hopes will be high that the Bees can afford deal to sign the left-back permanently.

The Spaniard was full of attacking endeavour in Brentford’s 5-1 thrashing of Luton and extended his record to three assists in three games, with Reguilon’s corner kick met emphatically by Ethan Pinnock for the third goal.

Defensively he impressed with three tackles and 7/10 ground duels won, and there will be a selection of suitors for Reguilon – unwanted at Spurs – in the summer if this form continues.

Midfield: Declan Rice – Arsenal

The dynamic difference-maker in Arsenal’s win at Wolves, Rice roamed around the pitch to influence proceedings at Molineux. He racked up four tackles, five key passes and a 90.2% pass accuracy, in a box-to-box performance full of quality.

Arsenal are a better team with Rice in the middle and their league-best defensive record has been in large part due to the security he brings ahead of the backline. He carried the ball confidently to help set up Martin Odegaard’s clincher and Rice’s arrival will be viewed as transformative if Arsenal get over the line in the title race.

Midfield: Eberechi Eze – Crystal Palace

How much fun is Eberechi Eze to watch?

The Crystal Palace fans certainly get value for money when Eze is in this sort of mood with the midfielder at his brilliant best in the 5-2 win over West Ham.

He scored a sensational goal and recorded an audacious assist, scoring the second with an acrobatic overhead kick as Palace went 4-0 up inside 31 minutes at Selhurst Park. His assist set up the fifth on an excellent afternoon for the Eagles, with a cheeky nutmeg on Kurt Zouma freeing Jean-Philippe Mateta to turn home.

Eze completed five dribbles in the game, more than the entire West Ham team combined. He is box-office in this mood.

Right-wing: Michael Olise – Crystal Palace

Eze’s partner in crime is just as watchable as his street footballer teammate.

Michael Olise has struggled with fitness problems this season but, when available, has been outstanding.

He took his total for the season to 11 goal involvements in 10 starts with a goal and assist against West Ham, scoring a rare header to open the scoring, before drilling in a low cross for Jean-Philippe Mateta to steer home.

Olise oozes quality in attacking areas and the Eagles will face a fight to hold onto him in the summer. It won’t be nice to hear, but the Frenchman looks ready for a bigger stage.

Left-wing: Cody Gakpo – Liverpool

Cody Gakpo has taken his fair share of flak at Liverpool this season but has shown shoots of growth in recent games. After some encouraging cameos, the Dutchman started at Fulham and was Liverpool’s best player in the 3-1 win at Craven Cottage.

Gakpo looked at home on the left flank after featuring more centrally since his arrival in the Premier League. He won the most duels (7), created the most chances (3), completed the most dribbles (3) and made the most recoveries (10) in West London.

He got his reward for an excellent outing with the assist for the third goal, skipping around a challenge from Tosin Adarabioyo to free Diogo Jota in behind.

Forward: Ollie Watkins – Aston Villa

Ollie Watkins moved clear in the race for the Premier League’s Playmaker Award with two assists in Aston Villa’s come-from-behind win over Bournemouth. Up against the aggressive attention of Ilya Zabarnyi, Watkins proved how effective he can be without troubling the scoresheet.

He took the Ukrainian defender into areas of the pitch he did not want to go and rolled Zabarnyi brilliantly in the centre circle for the third goal. Two assists took him to 12 for the campaign and 31 goal involvements in the Premier League this season. A Player of the Season contender, without question.

Forward: Yoanne Wissa – Brentford

Continues to deputise impressively in the absence of Ivan Toney. The latter’s ban and current injury problem has placed pressure on Wissa but he has delivered for Thomas Frank and his team.

Wissa opened the scoring with a fantastic finish on the run as Brentford thrashed Luton 5-1 to all but confirm their Premier League status for another campaign.

He added another, his 10th goal in the Premier League this season, with a second scrambled in from close range and was an effective focal point all game, winning 5/7 ground duels.

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