EPL Best X1: Gameweek 23 (21 Jan – Feb 5, 2022)
A victory at Elland Road breathed life into Newcastle United’s relegation fight, Manchester United stayed in the top four courtesy of a stoppage time winning goal, Leaders Manchester City were pegged back with a draw at Southampton and a drone stopped play before Wolverhampton Wanderers sealed three points at Brentford. Here, we look at the best 11 from an entertaining week in the English top flight in a 4-3-3 formation.
BEST 11 (4-3-3 formation)
GK #1 Nick Pope (Burnley) – With Burnley deep in the relegation fight, Pope came up big while anchoring the Scarlets to two important clean sheets in draws against Arsenal and Watford. Arsenal racked up 21 shots at the Emirates Stadium but could not beat Pope who registered 5 saves. Pope tallied another 5 saves against Watford including a sharp stop to deny Joao Pedro and deflecting away a late Tom Cleverley shot.
LD #26 Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – Robertson was a dominant attacking force as Liverpool stayed in the title race with a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace. A Robertson corner was headed home by Virgil Van Dijk to open the scoring before the Scotland fullback teed up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to double the lead. Robertson also contributed defensively with 4 ball recoveries, 2 interceptions and 1 clearance.
CD #6 Ben Mee (Burnley) – Mee was a dominant defensive presence in the 0-0 draw at Arsenal, winning 6 of 6 aerial duels while also tallying 7 interceptions and 8 clearances. Another impressive performance followed in the scoreless draw against Watford with Mee winning 5 of 6 aerial duels to go with 14 ball recoveries, 5 interceptions and 4 clearances.
CD #22 Mohammed Salisu (Southampton) – As the Saints held league leading Manchester City to a 1-1 draw, Salisu was a phenomenal presence in the heart of defense. The 22-year old Ghanaian led his team in 6 statistical categories contributing 31 completed passes, 71 touches, 7 tackles, 15 clearances, 18 interceptions and 2 blocks.
RD #20 Diogo Dalot (Manchester United) – Dalot and the Manchester United back four kept a clean sheet that set the platform for Marcus Rashford’s stoppage time winning goal against West Ham United. The Portugal international won 8 of 9 defensive duels, also making 5 ball recoveries, 6 interceptions and 1 clearance.
CM #6 Oriol Romeu (Southampton) – Spanish playmaker Romeu was a force at both ends of the field for Southampton in their draw against City, starting the move that led to the Saints goal with a raking switch ball out to Kyle Walker-Peters. Romeu also split the City defense with a through ball to Armando Broja only for VAR to disallow the subsequent goal. Defensively, Romeu tracked back and made an important play to stuff Kevin De Bruyne in the 76th minute with the score locked at 1-1. Statistically, Romeu completed 20 of 23 passes while making 8 ball recoveries, 5 in the opposing half. The Spanish battler also won 7 of 11 defensive duels and made 5 interceptions.
CM #8 Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) – After forcing Illan Meslier into a good save in the first half, Shelvey later netted the game winning goal from a free kick in a vital victory for relegation battlers Newcastle at Leeds United. Shelvey completed 20 of 29 passes and was at the heart of the physical battle as he made 12 ball recoveries, 7 in the opposing half. Shelvey also won 3 of 5 defensive duels and made 5 interceptions to stifle the Leeds attack.
CM #28 Joao Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers) – All-action Moutinho was instrumental in the heart of the Wolves midfield, leading his team to a 2-1 win at Brentford. Moutinho fired a lovely finish past Jonas Lossl before teeing up central midfield partner Ruben Neves to fire home a 78th minute winner. Moutinho completed 54 of 63 passes and made 12 ball recoveries, 6 in the Brentford half. The dominant midfielder also won 6 of 8 defensive duels in addition to 12 interceptions and 6 clearances.
LM #10 Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle United) – Saint-Maximin looks set to be a key weapon for Newcastle in the relegation fight ahead. The wing wizard led all players on the field with 7 successful dribbles, including covering 40 yards and going down in the area for a penalty claim. Late in the game while defending a 1-0 lead, Saint-Maximin kept Leeds on the back foot by gliding past defenders to tee up chances for Ryan Fraser and Joe Willock.
RM #22 Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) – Ziyech was the star man as Chelsea rolled to an impressive 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Pulling the strings in attack, Ziyech scored an excellent goal to open the scoring and led all players the field in 4 statistical categories as he racked up 96 touches, 10 crosses and 5 shots, 4 of which were on target.
CF #29 Patson Daka (Leicester City) – Zambia international Daka scored his team’s lone goal in a 1-1 draw against Brighton and was efficient in possession, completing 13 of 15 passes. The striker also led the Leicester defensive press well, recovering 3 balls in the opposing half and making 4 interceptions.
EPL GAMEWEEK 23 RESULTS
- Watford 0-3 Norwich City
- Everton 0-1 Aston Villa
- Brentford 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Leeds United 0-1 Newcastle United
- Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United
- Southampton 1-1 Manchester City
- Arsenal 0-0 Burnley
- Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool
- Leicester City 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
- Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
- Burnley 0-0 Watford