The penultimate gameweek of the Premier League season has come and gone. Who were the winners and losers?
There’s just one round of games left this season. Well, one round and a handful of live games during the midweek being played to help sides catch up on their games in-hand. This was the gameweek where Chelsea were confirmed as Premier League Champions and Hull were finally relegated.
But which players stood apart from their peers, both in a positive and negative sense? Who were the heroes and villains of the gameweek? Squawka investigates!
Best XI of the weekend:
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois
Tony Pulis sides are Lions when they cross the ball but the gigantic Belgian made them look like meek little house cats with a dominating performance at the back. His claim success rate of 100% helped his side to a title-winning clean sheet.
Right-back: Héctor Bellerin
Shorn of that stupid haircut, Bellerin was back in the saddle as a wing-back in Arsenal’s 3-4-2-1. He raced up and down the right touchline, winning 100% of his take-ons and getting two assists (the joint-most in the gameweek).
Centre-back: Rob Holding
We’re talking about him now, Arsene! Holding had another solid game at the back, shining in the back three. He dominated the Stoke aerial threat, winning six aerial duels at a rate of 75%. Also won 100% of his take-ons, for added effect.
Centre-back: Phil Jagielka
Everton continue to impress without ever actually threatening to crack the top six. They won 1-0 on Friday night and one of their standouts was yet again Phil Jagielka. The old stager managed 18 defensive actions, 6 aerial duels won and even got an assist for the only goal of the night.
Left-back: Jeffrey Schlupp
Fresh from his struggles at centre-back against Manchester City, Schlupp needed a good performance here and he delivered just that. Six duels won (only one Palace player managed more), plus eight defensive actions (only three Palace players had more) and he won the penalty that settled the game.
Defensive midfield: Victor Wanyama
The colossal Kenyan was once again a dominating force in the centre of the pitch, only this time it was against Manchester United. Mourinho’s side were mangled by Wanyama, whose nine duels won beat out all other Spurs players (including 100% take-ons won). Moreover he, y’know, scored the opening goal of the tie with a superb header, setting the tone for Spurs to give White Hart Lane the perfect goodbye.
Central midfield: Cesc Fabregas
He’s been in and out of the side all season but was the lone bright spark in an otherwise workman-like display as Chelsea went from champions-elect to just plain Champions. More passes attempted and completed (97/106) than anyone and more key passes (7) than anyone.
Central midfield: Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho was a marvel in midfield against West Ham. The Brazilian ran the show in what was effectively a perfect audition for a transfer to Barcelona this summer. 50/56 passes completed, six chances created (including one mind-bending assist), 3/4 take-ons completed and a couple of absolutely superb goals.
Right-wing: Wilfried Zaha
The Premier League’s wing king was at it again vs. Hull as Palace shot the Tigers right in the face to ensure their own survival whilst relegating their rivals. Zaha pounced on Andrea Ranocchia’s early mistake to score a crucial opening goal in the decisive showdown.
Left-wing: Alexis Sánchez
With 55 minutes gone, Alexis Sánchez picked the the ball up 30 yards from the Stoke goal. He saw Mesut Özil making a run and then played a pass, an unreal light-bending pass. It split the atom and created new life, leaving four Stoke players standing either side of a tunnel of pure energy like a Hadron collider, utterly impotent as Mesut Özil collected the ball and finished with ease. They should build a monument to that pass outside the Brittania, with a soundbyte from Con Air with Nic Cage saying “I’m gonna show you God does exist!” on a loop. He also scored a goal and completed 5/5 take-ons, but who honestly cares? That pass, my goodness, that pass!
Striker: Christian Benteke
Big Benteke has been a revelation for Crystal Palace this season (after struggling so much for Liverpool). And when they needed it most, he stood up and delivered, heading home Jason Puncheon’s corner to make it 2-0 Palace against Hull.
Worst XI of the weekend:
Goalkeeper: Eldin Jakupovic
When you concede four goals in a game your side can’t afford it lose, then it doesn’t reflect well on you. Jakupovic seemed powerless in the face of Palace’s attack, and despite the colours Palace are not Barcelona.
Right-back: Glen Johnson
Ripped to bit by Arsenal, Johnson’s Squawka Performance Score of -44 was worse than any outfielder this week. He won just 3/9 tackles and 1/3 take-ons and had shockingly bad 41% pass completion.
Centre-back: James Collins
Collins wasn’t really at fault for Liverpool’s first goal, but he failed to close Coutinho down for the second. And the third? Well, he bought Coutinho’s bodyswerve so severely despite it being so gentle that really he should just retire. Utter humiliation.
Centre-back: Andrea Ranocchia
Oh Andrea. It didn’t used to be like this. Back in the day when Ranocchia and Leonardo Bonucci were both playing for Bari it was Ranocchia who was the greater of the two prospects. Injury and bad career choices stifled him, and while Bonucci is now one of the world’s best centre-backs, Ranocchia is whiffing at simple clearances and allowing Crystal Palace to score.
Left-back: Erik Pieters
Pieters has been a big part of Stoke’s awful run of one win in their last 10, and at the weekend he was rent asunder by Arsenal and Héctor Bellerin in the sixth loss of that stretch. He didn’t even attempt an aerial duels and managed no interceptions either.
Defensive midfield: Michael Carrick
Carrick could barely handle an intense midfield press when he was in his pomp six years ago. Now at 35 he is most definitely unable to deal, and Spurs took full advantage. Pressing him into oblivion and making him look every single second of his age.
Defensive midfield: Havard Nordveit
Nordveit was tasked to hold midfield against Liverpool and judging by the ease with which Liverpool repeatedly got at the back four it’s hard to say he did anything other than a useless job. Sure, he completed 94% of his passes, but Liverpool ran by him like Usain Bolt did to Justin Gatlin in last year’s 100 metre dash.
Central midfield: Adam Clayton
Clayton attempted six passes against Southampton and won just one of them for a shocking 17% completion rate. He committed three fouls and just 86% of his passes.
Right-wing: Andre Ayew
That miss, Andre. Oh my goodness that miss. With Liverpool 1-0 up, West Ham had a corner. Somehow the ball made it through to Ayew at the back-post and he had a simple tap-in from two yards out. Somehow he conspired to pull his shot onto the post, and then when the rebound fell back to him he poked that into Simon Mignolet’s arms.
Left-wing: Wayne Rooney
Forget the goal, that was a distraction and besides, it was all down to the genius of Anthony Martial. Wayne Rooney was hideous at White Hart Lane, plodding about the pitch with no sense of purpose at all. He won just 1/5 headed duels, 0/1 take-ons, and a shocking 0/7 tackles. They haven’t invented words for how useless the England and United captain was at the Lane.
Striker: Stefano Okaka
It’s been 408 minutes since Watford scored a goal. 408. You could watch The Godfather and The Godfather part II in that time and still have have half an hour left over. That is ridiculous. Okaka was poor against Everton, hitting the target with just 1/4 shots and winning just 3/10 aerial duels.