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Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 35

The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week is back for another edition.

Arsenal edged an entertaining North London derby after seeing off a Spurs fightback, though Manchester City kept the title race in their own hands. Elsewhere, concerns continued for Liverpool and Manchester United, though it was better news for Everton who confirmed Premier League status for another season.

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

Goalkeeper: Arijanet Muric – Burnley

Burnley kept alive their hopes of surviving the drop with a 1-1 draw at Manchester United, a result which follows recent points earned at West Ham, Chelsea and Brighton. Arijanet Muric made some big saves for the Clarets, with Anthony particularly frustrated by the presence of the Kosovo international.

In possession, he was also impressive, with some eye-catching distribution from both feet and hands.

 

Centre-back: Dara O’Shea – Burnley

It’s been a tough season for O’Shea, and many of his Burnley teammates, but recent results and performances should offer encouragement even if the season ends in relegation. Burnley earned a 1-1 draw at Manchester United this weekend and have now lost just one of their last eight Premier League games.

O’Shea defended with determination at Old Trafford, racking up five clearances, winning seven aerial duels, and making some key blocks and interceptions. Better, from Burnley.

Centre-back: James Tarkowski – Everton

Successive inclusions for the Everton defender, whose side secured safety with a 1-0 win over Brentford. The Toffees earned a 12th clean sheet of the campaign, only Arsenal have more, with Tarkowski at the heart of their defensive performance once again.

The 31-year-old won 100% of his duels in the air and on the ground (10/10) and made a game-leading 11 clearances at Goodison Park. He’s not missed a single minute of Premier League football since arriving on a free transfer in 2022. Talk about value.

Centre-back: Dan Burn – Newcastle

Newcastle’s stand-in captain twice came to the rescue for Newcastle at St James’ Park, producing brilliant blocks to deny Cameron Archer and Ben Brereton Diaz.

The sizeable frame of Burn blocked Archer’s effort, and stopped Sheffield United from doubling their early lead, after the forward had skipped around Fabian Schar, before covering behind his goalkeeper as Brereton Diaz threatened to put the Blades back ahead after Alexander Isak’s equaliser.

He made four clearances, blocked four shots, and completed 93.6% of his passes in a solid showing in central defence.

Midfield: Idrissa Gana Gueye – Everton

Idrissa Gueye is not a regular goalscorer but the Senegal midfielder has come up trumps for Everton across the last week. Two big goals have helped the Toffees to three consecutive wins, securing the club’s Premier League status for another season.

The veteran hit the winner to sink Brentford on Saturday, keeping his composure to fire an effort high into the net through traffic. Either side of his match-winning moment he was at his industrious best, winning two tackles and 7/9 duels at Goodison Park. Safety assured, the Blues can breathe, for now at least.

Midfield: Bruno Guimaraes – Newcastle

An influential contribution to a big win for Newcastle. The Brazil midfielder led the contest with 116 touches at St James’ Park as the Magpies thrashed Sheffield United to keep alive their European ambitions.

He scored the second goal with a diving header at the back post from Anthony Gordon’s free-kick and stamped his authority all over this clash. With four successful dribbles, eight duels won, and seven completed long passes, Guimaraes was at the centre of everything good for the home side.

He has now won more duels and more fouls than any other player in the Premier League this season. The Newcastle fans will have been delighted to see his badge-kissing celebration and subsequent declaration of love for the club, amid speculation surrounding his future in the North East.

Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City

The man is an assist machine.

Manchester City were not at their best in their 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest, but De Bruyne created two goals to ensure there was no bump in the club’s title challenge. The Belgian’s set piece was powered home by Josko Gvardiol for the opener at the City Ground, before a familiar double-act combined as De Bruyne freed Erling Haaland for the second.

No player in the Premier League has provided more assists (14) in all competitions this season. He’s only played 21 games. A remarkable record from a Premier League great.

Winger: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal

A performance full of trademark electricity from Saka, who turned up on the big occasion. He created Arsenal’s opening goal at Tottenham with a corner kick delivery, that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could only glance into his own goal.

Saka doubled the lead as he finished off a clinical counter-attack, collecting Kai Havertz’s pass before cutting inside and firing in his 15th goal of the Premier League season. He now has 33 goal involvements in all competitions this season, while only Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne have provided more goals and assists against the ‘Big Six’ since Saka’s debut for Arsenal (20).

Winger: Jarrod Bowen – West Ham

Back from a minor knock, it’s not coincidental that West Ham’s fortunes improved. Bowen did his hopes of a place with England this summer no harm at all with a decisive performance against Liverpool, scoring one and creating another in the 2-2 draw at the London Stadium.

The 27-year-old escaped his marker to nod in the opener for the Hammers before a wonderful floated cross picked out Michail Antonio to score the second. On his 200th appearance for the club, Bowen became the first West Ham player since John Hartson in 1997/98 to score 20 goals in a top-flight campaign in all competitions.

His 16th league goal also equalled the club record for goals in a single Premier League season, held by Paolo Di Canio.

 

Forward: Kai Havertz – Arsenal

Excellent, again. Kai Havertz has been pivotal to Arsenal’s title challenge and continued his rich vein of form with a goal and assist in the North London derby. A raking pass freed Saka for the second goal, before the German escaped his marker to nod in a third that ultimately proved decisive.

In between there were moments of superb movement and hard work, with Havertz a real handful with his mix of physical and technical quality. One of his best displays to date, for a player who has found his groove in an Arsenal shirt.

Forward: Alexander Isak – Newcastle

Eddie Howe said at full-time that he would not swap Alexander Isak for anyone else and, on this sort of form, why would he? The Swedish striker made it seven straight Premier League games with a goal at St James’ Park after scoring twice in the Magpies’ 5-1 thrashing of Sheffield United.

Isak equalised for Newcastle after a shock opener for the Blades, latching onto Jacob Murphy’s pass to slide a finish into the far corner. He netted his second with a confident penalty kick, side-footed emphatically in for his 19th league goal of the campaign. Just one behind Erling Haaland and Cole Palmer in the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot, that trophy would add weight to Howe’s ‘world-class’ claims.

Read – The most goals ever conceded in a Premier League season

See more – Tweets of the Week: Arne Slot, Salah vs Klopp leaked audio, Leeds fall apart

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