The conclusion of Gameweek 29, Chelsea lead the Premier League table by 6 points with a game in hand. Second placed Manchester City suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to strugglers Burnley. Wins for Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool maintained their push for a top 4 berth.
Lets take a look at the consolidated team of the Gameweek 29 –
A mettlesome performance from the Southampton stopper. Responsible for keeping Chelsea’s scoreline limited to one goal. Although he was left static for Diego Costa’s opening, the Englishman made string of excellent saves to deny the Blues from extending their lead at the top of the table to eight points. Man of the match without any shade of doubt.
Manchester United’s so called ‘replacements’ for Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in Chris Smalling and Phil Jones showcased against Tottenham why they are rated so highly. Smalling in particular was top notch. The former Fulham man allowed the free-scoring Harry Kane negligible breathing space, as Spurs drew blank. In all fairness, Smalling has been United’s best defender of late, with Marcos Rojo only the worthy competitor for the England International.
An authorized display from the French centre-back. Helped his side win a clean-sheet. Was calm in possession and distributed the ball quite efficiently. Injury to Enner Valencia meant Diafra Sakho alone spearheaded the attack, who was kept at bay with ease by Koscielny.
A captain’s performance from the veteran Burnley defender, Jason Shackell hardly put a foot wrong in their all-important victory over Champions Manchester City. Thwarted the Citizens on numerous occasions, with the excellent tackle on Edin Dzeko in the first half a highlight of his bright outing. Nine more similar performances could help The Clarets dramatically avoid the drop.
23-year-old Leonardo Bacuna was a constant outlay for Aston Villa. The right-back marauded time and again to torment the usually impressive Patrick van Aanholt as his side thrashed the Black Cats 0-4. He played his part in both of Christian Benteke’s goals, while being economic in defence.
Marouane Fellaini is fast turning out to be Louis van Gaal’s big game player. The Belgian put in one of his best performances in a Manchester United shirt. Opened the scoring with an excellent finish with his weaker left, and was too hot to handle for the young duo of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason. He also played his part in Michael Carrick’s goal, heading the ball across the goal for the former Spurs man to head in.
Southampton’s best player on the pitch after Forster, Morgan Schneiderlin was all over the Chelsea’s midfield. Intercepted and tackled well, while also being a towering presence in the air. The Frenchman made sure Cesc Fabregas didn’t get hold of the proceedings in the middle of the park, and helped his side restricting the leaders to one point.
An all-round performance from Aaron Ramsey saw Arsenal make light work of West Ham. The Welshman was influential at both ends of the goal, dominating possession and harassing the likes of Mark Noble and former teammate Alex Song. Had a goal to show for his combative performance.
If it were not for Danny Ings’ goals, George Boyd would have been Burnley’s best player by some distance. Was a constant threat going forward, and almost opened the scoring with a fierce shot that blazed juts wide. Eventually got his goal when he hit an elegant half volley that gave Joe Hart in Manchester City’s goal absolutely no chance.
Arsenal’s intelligent hitman Oilivier Giroud continues to lead the Gunners’ top 4 charge. Was unplayable against West Ham with his movement and clever flicks. Scored a venomous goal that opened the scoring, before setting up Ramsey and playing his part in Mathieu Flamini’s 3rd.
Looking more likely that Aston Villa might just stay up. Tim Sherwood has brought a fresh breathe of air along with him, and the -04 romping of Sunderland was itself evident of the fact. Christian Benteke was the hero, as he netted a poachers double to pile misery on the Black Cats. Was assisted by Bacuna on both occasions, a side-footed finish to start, and a header across goal to complete the rout.
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Image Courtesy: Express, Bleacherreport, .Birminghammail, DailyMail, Zimbio, Getty Images
Sunil A Markal
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