Premier League Team of the Week

Premier League MW12 TOTW: Stalemate in boring Manchester derby, Liverpool held by fiery Fulham side and Leicester and Southampton shine.

MW12 in the Premier League was far from a stellar week for the Premier League, and was not full of out and out elite individual performances in every game. However, there was still some stars on show. Jozef Kostecki summarises who these are as he runs through the best players in the Premier League this week….

Premier League Matchweek 12 Results

11th December 2020 Leeds United 1-2 West Ham United
12th December 2020 Wolverhampton 0-1 Aston Villa
12th December 2020 Newcastle United 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
12th December 2020 Manchester United 0-0 Manchester City
12th December 2020 Everton 1-0 Chelsea
13th December 2020 Southampton 3-0 Sheffield United
13th December 2020 Crystal Palace 1-1 Tottenham
13th December 2020 Fulham 1-1 Liverpool
13th December 2020 Leicester City 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
13th December 2020 Arsenal 0-1 Burnley

Premier League Matchweek 12 Manager of the Week – Roy Hodgson

In a week that had not one but two three-nil games, I’ve instead elected to pick Roy Hodgson as my manager of the week after his one-one draw with Spurs. Coming up against the league topping Tottenham Hotspur and their three time Premier League winning manager Jose Mourinho, Hodgson got his team’s tactics spot on and seemed to eliminate any fear his team could have had coming up against this all conquering Spurs team.

Whilst other teams have been played off the park against Spurs, this was not the case with Palace. Going toe-to-toe with the Prem leaders was never going to be easy, however Hodgson’s team successfully managed just this. Whilst it was not quite flawless conceding a somewhat sloppy Harry Kane goal, it still was an all round quality performance from The Eagle’s. A true mastermind performance from the Premier League’s oldest manager. With the age of younger managers seeming to come in at some clubs in the league, it’s brilliant to see there are still some lessons this old gunslinger can teach.

Premier League Matchweek 12 Player of the Week – James Maddison

With every week that goes by, it seems one of the three young English midfielders fighting for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad. One week it’s Mason Mount, the next Jack Grealish, and this week it is James Maddison’s time to turn up in style. The former Norwich player picked up two goals and the Man of The Match award and easily was this week’s best performer in any game the Prem offered.

His first goal was slightly lucky to end up in the back of the net after travelling through a flurry of legs and Matt Ryan got a hand to it. His second goal however was exceptional, straight out of the top draw and into the top corner. It was a beautifully curled goal that put the game out of reach for Leicester. Twelve games in and Leicester are very much in the title race, and performances like this will keep them in the running for sure, and who knows lightning could strike twice for The Foxes.


Goalkeeper: Nick Pope (8.6 Player Rating)

With Burnley picking up their second win of the Premier League season, there really is only one man they can thank Nick Pope. Making six saves is fairly impressive for a keeper, but two of them were truly world class. The first denying Alexandre Lacazette was the pick of the bunch though, stretching out and dropping low denying what seemed a guaranteed goal. Following this up to stop Kieran Tierney shortly after, the Englishman showed once again why he has been Burnley’s number one for so long now.

Defender: Luke Ayling (8.0 Player Rating)

Some players when getting promoted from the Championship show they are not cut out for the top level of English football. Luke Ayling is not one of these players, taking to the Premier League like a duck to water Ayling has been brilliant. Against West Ham this was no different, and perhaps this performance was even more creditable with how he performed so well in both the centre-back and right-back role throughout the game. Even with the loss on the weekend there still has to be a significant amount of praise being heaped on Ayling, again not for the first time this year.

It’s clear this quality has not gone unnoticed by master manager Marco Bielsa, who has started Ayling in all twelve of Leeds games in the Premier League this year.

Defender: Angelo Ogbonna (7.6 Player Rating)

The other standout player in the Leeds vs West Ham game was another defender, West Ham centre-back Angelo Ogbonna. Whilst Ayling may have come away with the higher match rating, it was Angelo Ogbonna who came away with both the win and the match winning goal.

With the game nearing its end and there being no goal in the second half, Ogbonna leapt well above anyone else and powering home a brilliant header to secure West Ham a massive three points. Ogbonna has been one of the stars of a West Ham team. The Hammers now find themselves in sixth place under David Moyes, and if these performances keep going, it could be a very big year for West Ham indeed.

Defender: Ben Mee (8.1 Player Rating)

Europe has a strong imposing wall, but it’s not in Berlin instead it’s Burnley. Club captain Ben Mee was an absolute unit imposing his will on the Arsenal attackers. A disciplined performance Mee made a total of seven clearances, four interceptions and a flurry of tackles and blocks. He was at his very best, shrugging off an Arsenal team who were throwing their kitchen sink at him to go for the win, and yet he remained strong. Forming fifty percent of the wall alongside Nick Pope, if Burnley are to stay up these two will be key.

Defender: James Justin (7.7 Player Rating)

Last season James Justin made thirteen appearances in the Premier League, this year he has instead started every single one of Leicester’s twelve games, not missing a single minute of Premier League action. This is a clear sign of how he has come on leaps and bounds in the last year. In Ben Chilwell’s absence since leaving to join Chelsea, Justin has gone from a deputy to a starter on either side as Leicester’s full-back.

Picking up an assist with a perfect ball into Jamie Vardy, this was Justin’s first of the season.

Midfielder: Oriol Romeu (7.8 Player Rating)

Southampton’s Oriol Romeu has served at Southampton under five managers and has remained a consistent starter under every one of them. Performances like his one against Sheffield United show exactly why that has been the case. Offering the best of both worlds, Romeu showed off both the destroyer attributes he has become known for, whilst also providing two key passes in the game.

One of his key passes ended up in him assisting Nathan Redmond’s goal, the third of the game that put the game beyond any doubt. This assist was one of Romeu’s last contributions before being subbed off, perhaps getting a bit of rest before surely starting against Arsenal on Wednesday night.

Midfielder: Eberechi Eze (7.9 Player Rating)

Making his second appearance in the TOTW this season, Eze was easily the most exciting threat for Crystal Palace against Spurs. Eze offered five key passes in his eighty-nine minutes on the pitch, trying to pull his team to a result against fierce opposition. This is all very impressive when considering the lack of fear Eze played with, displaying an immense amount of confidence so early into his Premier League career.

Eze has showed a great deal of consistent quality so far this season, this is brilliant for Palace fans knowing at just twenty-two he has plenty more to offer.

Midfielder: James Maddison (9.0 Player Rating)

This week’s player of the week James Maddison has really found his stride in his last two Premier League games, and against Brighton he was at his best. Picking up two goals that make it three goal contributions already in December, perhaps making him an early frontrunner for Premier League Player of the month.

Five of Leicester’s players, including James Maddison currently have a seven or above average rating on Sofascore, showing there are multiple in form performers at the club. This will be news to Foxes’ fans with the club very much in the Premier League title race, and a somewhat easier draw in the Europa League. Could there be a trophy or two coming to the Midlands city this year?

Forward: Harry Kane (7.9 Player Rating)

Not necessarily the best performance of Harry Kane’s Premier League Career, and not the best showing from Spurs this season. However, there is a reason Kane is considered amongst the very best strikers in world football today, and it’s that even when he’s not at his best, he still scores.

Against Palace his goal may have been lucky after it wrong footed Palace keeper Guaita from range, but still it puts him just two goals behind top goal scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Chasing the Premier League golden boot down for the first time since 16/17 season, Kane also still leads the league on assists (10).

Forward: Che Adams (8.0 Player Rating)

Not long after signing for Southampton signed Che Adams’ at the start of last season, it looked like he just wasn’t made for the Prem. Adams’ would miss chances, present little in the way of build up play and really was not what Southampton expected for their fifteen million pounds.

Fast forward to today however and Adams’ is one of the first names on the team sheet, a goal scorer and chance creator, his link up play with fellow striker Danny Ings is one of the finest examples of two striker formations being far from dead. In a world which seems determined to move everyone towards a three forward set-up, it’s Southampton who are flying the flag for two strikers being the way forward.

Adams’ picked up a goal on the weekend, but also set up two big chances so was unlucky to not come away with an assist as well.

Forward: Jamie Vardy (7.7 Player Rating)

‘Jamie Vardy’s having a party….” After six years, the chant is still being sung, and Vardy’s goals have not dried up. It is admirable the way Vardy has stuck to what brought him to the dance, playing in the exact same way, and the results are still reaping great rewards. Picking up a goal and two assists, he showed real class linking up with his two fellow TOTW selections, finishing a Justin cross for his goal and assisting Maddison for both his goals.

Eight years on from Jamie Vardy signing for Leicester he may have aged a bit, but just like a fine wine he’s got better with every year and remains amongst the very best the Premier League has to offer.

Vardy currently sits on the second highest scoring frequency in the League, scoring a goal every ninety-two minutes. Only behind Manchester United forward Edinson Cavani.

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Honourable Mentions for Premier League TOTW 12

James Ward-Prowse : It was a real toss up between JWP and Oriol Romeu for a place in this week’s TOTW. However with his teammate picking up an assist he just misses out. However Ward-Prowse was still amongst the best players this week.

Vicente Guaita: Whilst he may not have managed to get into this week’s squad, the Crystal Palace performer was a huge factor in his side picking up a point against league leaders Spurs. Palace are a figure of consistency in the Premier League and so is Guaita.

Wesley Fofana: The young French defender was exceptional in Leicester’s dominant win against Brighton. Whilst for obvious reasons the attacking players will steal the headlines, there should be real credit given to Fofana on the defensive end. He showed real maturity, made even more special with a performance like that coming at the age of nineteen.

Ralph Hasenhuttl: Tactically spot on again, the Southampton manager was at his very best. Whilst the opposition in Sheffield United were far from the best the Premier League could offer, that should take nothing away from Hasenhuttl’s brilliant tactics.

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