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TEAMtalk’s Top Men (3-4-1-2): Myhill; Lescott, Terry, Morgan; Albrighton, Cambiasso, Delph, Silva; Sanchez; Benteke, Aguero
“The defending of West Brom (was very good) – a fantastic goalkeeper today.”
That was Louis van Gaal’s assessment after Myhill was instrumental in keeping Manchester United at bay on Saturday. Among his nine saves was a penalty stop from Robin van Persie, as the keeper put in a man-of-the-match performance to help Tony Pulis’ men secure three points, a clean sheet, and probable safety.
Myhill more than deserves his place, but he wasn’t the only star performer at Old Trafford. Every good goalkeeper needs a solid defence in front of him, and with Lescott, Jonas Olsson, Gareth McAuley and Craig Dawson more than playing their part, van Persie and co. struggled to make an impact.
But it was Lescott who manned the backline impeccably, topping the table for interceptions (2) and ranking second for clearances (7) tackles and blocked shots (both 1). The 32-year-old has been revitalised under Pulis.
A third straight Top Men nomination for the Chelsea captain, and yet more deserved accolades are bestowed upon the country’s finest central defender. The 1-0 win over Crystal Palace owed much to another controlled display at the back, and Terry was the star man, albeit marginally against team-mates Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill.
“One person said I couldn’t play twice in a week and he knows who he is,” the stalwart crowed after Chelsea were crowned champions. “I’ve not only proved him wrong but everyone wrong – I’m still fighting, I’m still in the side, I’m feeling great.”
It’s difficult to argue.
Question marks were asked over Morgan earlier in the season, but the skipper has more than answered them during Leicester’s incredible fight against relegation. After the defeat to Chelsea, the Foxes would be forgiven for letting their heads drop, but Morgan led from the back as they secured a comfortable 3-0 win over Newcastle, including a goal for the centre-back. One step closer to Premier League football next season.
A bit-part player thus far, Albrighton has played a key role in Leicester’s recent renaissance. Two fine deliveries assisted the first two goals, while his corner led to the penalty award from which Leonardo Ulloa bagged his second. He made at least four more key passes than anyone else on the pitch (7), and the former Aston Villa has made the wing-back role his own of late.
At 34-years-old, and with a Champions League winners medal littered amongst his numerous team titles and individual accolades, you wouldn’t think Cambiasso would necessarily have the fight needed for a Premier League relegation battle. Look back at Leicester’s revival though, and the one constant is the Argentinian. Against Newcastle he was at his best once more, harrying the beleaguered visitors, recycling possession and preaching calm in front of the defence.
“There isn’t a better midfield player in the country than Fabian Delph at the moment”
Tim Sherwood certainly has his critics, but he mightn’t be too far off the mark with his recent assessment of the midfield maestro. His 85 touches against Everton outstripped everyone on the pitch, and was 26 more than his next best team-mate. Add an assist, and Delph outperformed everyone once more at Villa Park.
“He’s got everything, he breaks the game up, he’s got trickery, he bursts through with the ball. He has everything to his game, and he can score.” Sherwood must be thanking his lucky stars that Delph has already committed his long-term future.
Manchester City may have endured a season of relative struggle, but Silva and Sergio Aguero have saved it from being an absolute disaster. Not exactly famed for his defensive capabilities, the Spaniard put in more tackles (4) than everyone except Nabil Bentaleb in the win over Spurs. He also did what he does best in making the sublime seem easy, dribbling half the length of the pitch with the ball before slipping in Aguero with an excellent assist for the winner.
You often have to remind yourself that this is the Chilean’s first season in the Premier League. Two more goals against Hull in a typically workmanlike but irresistible performance takes Sanchez to 16 league goals – and 24 in all competitions. He had the most shots (8) and dribbles (5) of any player at the KC Stadium as Arsenal closed on Champions League qualification once more. Could they launch a Premier League title challenge with Sanchez on-song next season?
10 goals in his last eight Premier League appearances, this following just two in his previous 18. Benteke is truly a striker in form, coinciding with the appointment of a more attack-minded manager in Sherwood. His double against Everton could yet prove crucial in Villa’s battle for survival, which would surely already be over if it wasn’t for the Belgian’s recent surge in form. Can Villa keep a hold of him in the summer or will the vultures swoop?
Take nothing away from the Eden Hazards, Harry Kanes and Diego Costas of this world, but the fact that Sergio Aguero found himself omitted from the six-man shortlist for PFA Player of the Year must stick in the craw. His expertly-taken 28th goal of the season came against Spurs, where he was a constant nuisance and should have added to his tally. With a two goal lead in the race for the Premier League golden boot, it seems likely Aguero will pick up some deserved individual accolades for another brilliant season.