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Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 35

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

It’s as you were at the top after wins for Manchester City and Arsenal this weekend, with the latter passing an acid test at Champions League chasing Newcastle.

Defeats for the Magpies and Manchester United have tightened the race for the top four, as Liverpool make an unlikely late surge after a sixth straight win. Elsewhere, Wolves and West Ham earned crucial wins to move clear of trouble at the bottom.

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

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale – Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale was at his best as Arsenal passed a tough test to beat Newcastle at St James’ Park. At the scene of last season’s collapse to miss out on Champions League football, the Gunners showed how far they’ve come this season to earn all three points.

Ramsdale made a good save from Joe Willock in the first half and an even better one to keep out Fabian Schar’s header from point-blank range. That latter stop came with Arsenal leading 1-0 and was crucial to the north Londoners leaving Tyneside with a vital win.

Right-back: Pedro Porro – Tottenham

Pedro Porro has endured a challenging period since signing for Spurs in the January window, but demonstrated how effective he can be when relieved of defensive duties this weekend. Porro started in a more advanced position in Spurs’ flexible formation and was a constant threat as the north Londoners beat Crystal Palace 1-0.

Porro’s set-pieces were dangerous all afternoon with one corner headed against the crossbar, before the Spaniard created the winning goal with an inviting cross for Harry Kane to head home. Kane was full of praise for Porro after the game, hailing the defender’s delivery. With Emerson Royal offering defensive support behind him, Porro excelled in attacking areas.

Centre-back: Craig Dawson – Wolves

Wolves issued an impressive response to their shellacking on the South Coast last weekend, earning a hard-fought 1-0 win over Aston Villa.

Craig Dawson was a stand-out at centre-back for Wolves, as the veteran defender celebrated his 33rd birthday with a well-earned clean sheet. Dawson made one brilliant last-man challenge to deny Emiliano Buendia and provided old fashioned presence at the heart of Julen Lopetegui’s defence.

Wolves’ win saw them reach 40 points and all but confirm Premier League status for another season. Dawson’s arrival in the winter window has been a key factor to survival, with his £3.3m arrival one of the best value for money deals of the season.

Centre-back: Cristian Romero – Tottenham

Much, much better from Cristian Romero who bounced back from a poor run of form with an outstanding performance in Spurs’ 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

The Argentina international was a rock at the back as Spurs kept a much needed clean sheet, as he made eight clearances, five interceptions and three tackles.

This was a reminder of the World Cup winner’s ceiling, after a series of rash performances in recent weeks. When his aggressive defending is channelled in the right manner, Romero can be a top level centre-back.

Left-back: Toti Gomes – Wolves

Wolves’ match-winner against Aston Villa, Toti Gomes powered home a fantastic header from Ruben Neves’ corner to score his first goal for the club and earn his side three points at Molineux.

The 24-year-old is not a natural full-back but has adapted to the change in role impressively at Wolves and produced a positive performance this weekend, while his height gives Julen Lopetegui’s team additional presence in both boxes.

Midfield: Declan Rice – West Ham

Declan Rice returned to the West Ham side after illness in midweek and dominated his duel with a Manchester United midfield containing five-time Champions League winner Casemiro and Christian Eriksen.

Rice is the Premier League’s leading interceptor this season and was excellent in regaining possession in the Hammers’ 1-0 win, making a huge 13 ball recoveries and winning seven ground duels. Purposeful in possession with four completed dribbles, Rice’s box-to-box influence was central to West Ham earning a win that provides a seven-point buffer from the relegation places.

The expectation is that Rice will leave West Ham this summer and if he does he will improve whatever midfield he walks into. Each of the clubs reportedly interested would be considerably stronger with the 24-year-old at the heart of their side.

Midfield: Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City

Ilkay Gundogan often saves his best football for the run-in and was excellent as Manchester City made it 10 consecutive Premier League wins against Leeds.

The Germany international scored two goals with two perfectly placed finishes early on and was at his controlling best in midfield, setting a new Premier League record for most successful passes (170) in a single game.

The 32-year-old wasted a chance to score a hat-trick from the penalty spot, having irked Pep Guardiola after taking the kick ahead of regular taker Erling Haaland.

It mattered little in the end however, as City moved another step closer to the title.

Midfield: Martin Odegaard – Arsenal

Martin Odegaard is in brilliant form right now and made it five goals in five games with a superb effort to open the scoring at Newcastle.

The Norwegian was unplayable at times during the opening exchanges at St James’ Park as he provided guile in the final third and brought work-rate to match his invention. He should have had a second goal, but his miss was a rare miscue in a performance packed full of quality.

Odegaard – who has now scored 15 league goals this season – has been one of the stars of the Premier League season.

Forward: Noni Madueke – Chelsea

Noni Madueke has had to be patient for his chance at Chelsea, but has taken his opportunity under Frank Lampard across the past two games.

The 21-year-old scored his first goal for the club in defeat at Arsenal in midweek, before an encouraging performance at Bournemouth which saw the winger star as Chelsea’s chief threat. Madueke lacked some composure when offered a sight of goal, but was a constant problem for Bournemouth and excellent one-against-one.

This was an impressive performance from Madueke, who will want to build on his recent outings and form a key part of Chelsea’s rebuild.

Forward: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool

Mohamed Salah became the first player in Liverpool’s history to score in nine consecutive home games this weekend, with his winner against Brentford also his 100th goal scored at Anfield.

The Egyptian scrambled home an early opener after showing intelligent movement to reach Virgil van Dijk’s knockdown into a dangerous area and ensured Liverpool recorded a sixth successive Premier League win.

He was at the centre of Liverpool’s best moments offensively and kept alive the club’s faint hopes of a late surge to Champions League football.

Forward: Michail Antonio – West Ham

Michail Antonio might not be the most fashionable footballer in the Premier League, but the centre-forward provided the presence needed as West Ham beat Manchester United in the capital.

Antonio was all-action and high energy from the off at the London Stadium, with the 33-year-old’s power and physicality too much on occasion for Manchester United’s bullied backline. His work-rate and hold-up play were crucial to the Hammers’ getting up the pitch, while he was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed having been adjudged to have fouled David de Gea.

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It’s been a testing season for Antonio amid increased competition for places at West Ham, but he appears to be in possession of the club’s centre-forward role at a crucial time. With much to play for as the season reaches its conclusion, David Moyes can be certain that Antonio will – at the very least – run himself into the ground for the cause.

Read – Rising Stars: The best breakthrough player from each of Europe’s top 5 leagues this season

Read Also – Five Premier League youngsters who need a loan next season

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