Premier League XI of Gameweek 17 | Virgin Media
Premier League XI of Gameweek 17

The ultimate Premier League XI of Gameweek 17

20/12/2016Sport

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The busy festive period of Premier League football continued this weekend as many sides played their second game within three days.

Not that the viewers were grumbling as they were treated to plenty of exciting and incident-packed action over a three-day weekend.

Chelsea kicked it off on Saturday with a ground-out 1-0 win over Crystal Palace before Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal lit up Sunday.

Monday then rounded things off with a feisty Merseyside derby win for Liverpool at Goodison Park.

Let’s take a look at the best performers from this round of fixtures.
 

Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton (Burnley)

It might seem strange to select a goalkeeper from a side who lost 2-1 to Spurs, but in fact Heaton made six saves - more than any other goalkeeper over the weekend.

A trip to White Hart Lane isn’t the easier to overcome when you’re the man in between the posts wearing the gloves, but England’s third-choice once again proved himself to be an excellent shot-stopper, keeping out both Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. 


Left-back: Danny Rose (Tottenham)

Rose is one of the most improved players in the Premier League over the last year. Under Mauricio Pochettino’s guidance he has turned himself into one of the most consistent and dangerous fullbacks in the league – a detail that was on show over the weekend.

It was his goal which won the points as he flew forward at every opportunity, getting round the back of the Clarets’ defence to bombard the box with crosses and shots.

 

Centre-back: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Speaking of improved players, here’s Azpilicueta, whose move to centre-back has been conducted excellently. The Spaniard’s tenacious, unflappable style makes him the perfect fit in Antonio Conte’s system, which allows him to take up great positions.

Azpilicueta registered his first assist of the season against Crystal Palace with a great cross for Diego Costa before defending well to keep yet another win and yet another clean sheet for the Blues.

 

Centre-back: Ragnar Klavan (Liverpool)

Joel Matip’s injury looked to be a major blow for Jurgen Klopp, but Klavan’s steady displays have meant it’s not been much of a problem.

The experienced Estonian was consistent in possession and dealt excellently with the physical presence of Romelu Lukaku in the derby. His display was so assured that Matip, once fit, might have to wait for his return.

 

Right-back: Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

The mirror image of Rose on the other side of the pitch. Walker registered an assist and created five chances - more than any other defender over the weekend – during the win over Burnley and surely must be considered one of the best in his position. 


Holding-midfield: Idrissa Gueye (Everton)

Everton may have lost the derby, but that had nothing to do with Gueye’s performance. The Senegalese international was absolutely everywhere – and seemingly all at once.

His energy, tenacity and strength in the tackle and on the ball makes him the perfect midfield destroyer, but he also has good ability on the ball once he’s got it. Gueye is matching N’Golo Kante tackle for tackle and interception for interception – and that’s by no means an easy feat.

 

Centre-midfield: Adam Forshaw (Middlesbrough)

A tidier passer you could not wish to see. Forshaw is wonderful to watch on the ball and the former Brentford man was the only Premier League player to play 90 minutes and complete every attempt over the weekend.

Boro completed an impressive 3-0 win over Swansea and Forshaw’s work in the middle of the park was crucial to it.

 

Centre-midfield: Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Many of City’s players could have been picked out for their performances against Arsenal, but Toure’s resurgence has been especially noteworthy. Having come in from the cold under Guardiola he completed more than any other player over the weekend in a performance that reminded viewers of his old self.

The Ivorian is powerful and difficult to stop now he’s got his confidence back.

 

Attacking-midfield: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

The Belgian playmaker was truly on-song in the second half of City’s 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday afternoon. His touch and raking volleyed cross-field pass for Raheem Sterling’s goal was a thing of beauty, but it’s also come to be expected.

De Bruyne actually created more chances than any other player over the weekend and his fitness and form will be key for Guardiola this season. 


Striker: Jay Rodriguez (Southampton)

The former Burnley striker provided the most heart-warming and faith-restoring moment of the weekend, scoring twice in Saints’ 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

Rodriguez has endured a terrible last two years after suffering a cruciate ligament injury, but now appears to be back to his best. A tap-in from Steven Davis’ cross and a sublime turn and volley gave the Saints away fans delirium and plenty of neutrals a smile.


Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)

Not bad for a free transfer, eh? The big Swede has put his goal drought behind him and now cannot stop scoring, with two in an impressive 2-0 away win against West Brom.

He headed in Jesse Lingard’s inch-perfect cross to open his account and then benefited from a happy deflection to double his tally. Ibrahimovic now has 11 goals in 16 Premier League appearances. Those nagging doubts about his age seem a long time ago suddenly.