Premier League – Stars of the Week: Matchweek 35

The last month of the English Premier League season is approaching. It may only take a couple of weeks for all of this season’s questions to be answered, but as April approaches May, many possibilities remain open, with the league showing absolutely no signs of fading out.

In the higher rungs of the table it was much business as usual, with both Liverpool and City winning to keep this incredibly tense race going, while Spurs got back on their feet with a 3-1 win over Leicester to stay motivated in the heels. From Arsenal in fourth place.

But the biggest talking point of the weekend, without a doubt, was Everton’s surprising 1-0 win over Chelsea. The seismic result not only intensified the relegation battle by several notches, but may have pushed Chelsea to the previously unimaginable position of having to battle it out with their London neighbors to secure the Champions League for next season.

This incredible drama may be going on for a long time – here are our five stars of Matchweek 35.

Stars of the Week: Match of the Week 35

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Pickford

Everton’s victory over Chelsea on Sunday was truly astonishing, not to mention absolutely vital, as the Toffees are now back with a shout of relegation after being five points from safety by Saturday night.

There were heroic displays across the field at Goodison Park, but goalkeeper Jordan Pickford stood tall above the rest with a massive display. With his side leading 1-0, the England goalkeeper made a miraculous save by shoving across the goal line to banish Cesar Azpilicueta’s rebound, a save so important that it was celebrated in the stands as much as Richarlison’s goal. Pickford later made an excellent stop to deny Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic, as Everton were close to winning.

Once again, the former Sunderland player made the difference for Everton with an invaluable result.

Defender: Rob Holding (Arsenal)

Arsenal’s recent recovery gained further momentum on Sunday night, when Arsenal overcame a tough test at West Ham to extend their league winning streak to three games.

It was a day for the centre-back, with Arsenal’s central defenders on the score sheet and surely few expected Rob Holding to be the hero on the day. He moved into the team after Ben White was injured, and Holding opened the scoring in the first half with a fine header to score his first Premier League goal.

In addition to his goal, Holding defended aggressively, making three blocks, two interceptions and seven passes.

The race for fourth appears to be making the most of Arsenal’s cornucopia, with Hold proving his value to the team with this win.

Midfield: Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Manchester City's Phil Foden

Liverpool’s narrow win over Newcastle could have created some tension for Manchester City when they faced the relegation gladiator Leeds United, but there were no such signs for the Nationals, as they eventually beat Leeds 4-0.

With Kevin De Bruyne resting, it was time for some of Manchester City’s other attacking stars to take on the creative burden, with Phil Foden filling the role superbly. Playing on the right side, the young midfielder scored an early free kick that headed Rodri to put the far side ahead.

Foden doubled his nursing tally in the evening in the second half with a superb through pass to Gabriel Jesus, and the Brazilian fired a shot past Ilan Meslier to put the match beyond doubt.

There is growing speculation that Foden could land some individual awards at the end of the season – a show like this would definitely increase his chances.

Attacker: Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

Heung Min Son from Tottenham Hotspur
MANCHESTER, England – APRIL 17: Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his first goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium on April 17, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse / Getty Images)

It was a strange two weeks for Tottenham’s once-heated three goals, and after failing in two games the trio immediately returned to their best against Leicester City, with each scoring goals to seal Tottenham’s 3-1 win.

Once again, it was Son who overtook Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevsky, scoring two magical goals with his weaker left foot to delight Tottenham Hotspur once again this season. For his first goal, he got a pass from Kulusevsky on the corner before firing back across the goal to the wrong foot of Kasper Schmeichel, and the second time, he curled home a thrilling effort from outside the area, one of his best shots.

In a tight race for the top four, could Son be the difference maker?

Manager: Frank Lampard (Everton)

Derby County manager/coach Frank Lampard

Well, where do you start with this?

Few would have made it to Everton when they faced third-placed Chelsea, and their Premier League status was hanging on the edge of a cliff following Burnley’s win on Saturday.

However, Lampard’s Everton went out to fight against Chelsea and, after a tense first half, the pressure paid off when Richarlison made a defensive blunder to score the winner, sending Goodison Park into euphoria. Everton missed a few good chances for a second and could have already paid the price had Pickford not been at his best, but in the end Lampard beat his former side with a potentially season-changing win.

Five games left for Everton to get out of this mess. You never know, this result might give them the confidence they need to make a great escape.

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