Previous
Sevilla FC
Rayo Vallecano
0
0
LIVE 43'
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Villarreal
11:30 AM UTC
Game Details
Getafe
Real Madrid
12:30 PM UTC
Game Details
Next
 By Chris Borg

Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez in our Premier League Team of the Weekend after derby heroics

After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC presents its Team of the Weekend, which is selected by Gab Marcotti, Paul Mariner and Mark Ogden.

Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section at the foot of the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #TOTW.

Premier League TOTW 20180408
ESPN FC's latest Team of the Weekend.

Goalkeeper: Life hasn't been easy for West Ham or Joe Hart this season, but Hart was key to earning the point at Chelsea that keeps the Hammers cushioned from the relegation places. It was just like old times for the keeper, who made a number of fine saves and was assured throughout. Two of his best stops came as Chelsea pressed late on, the first a leap to tip away a Marcos Alonso strike and the second a dive to deny Olivier Giroud. "Gets plenty of stick but ends up making the saves that might keep West Ham in the top flight," says Gab Marcotti.

Defender: Chelsea have become increasingly unreliable as the season has worn on, but there's nothing unreliable about Cesar Azpilicueta. A model of consistency even when Chelsea have been anything but, he was excellent in defence and attack against the Hammers and scored the goal -- dedicated to the memory of club legend Ray Wilkins -- that seemed to have put them on track. "Steady Eddie, defensively very sound," says Paul Mariner, with Marcotti adding: "Does his bit, getting a goal and keeping West Ham far away."

Defender: If Manchester United's extraordinary second-half comeback at Manchester City was a moment of general redemption for Jose Mourinho's team, it was one of personal redemption for Chris Smalling. In the first half Smalling lost Vincent Kompany as he scored from a corner but in the second he was superb, a performance of character crowned by the finish that completed the revival. "Responded to dominate the second half and then score the winner," says an admiring Mark Ogden; Marcotti, meanwhile, hails the mental strength of "another who's had plenty of stick in the past."

Defender: Huddersfield tend to go under the radar, but the point they got at Brighton could be key to keeping them up. On-loan Monaco defender Terence Kongolo had a fine afternoon, contributing well-timed challenges to thwart Brighton's attack and venturing forward to test their defence with some threatening crosses. "Few notice because it's Huddersfield, but he does double duty down the left flank and almost everything good David Wagner's team puts together comes from his side" says Marcotti, giving credit where it's due.

Midfield: Stoke posed problems for Tottenham, only to find that Christian Eriksen solved them. When Eriksen plays well, Spurs do, and he was at the heart of a hard-fought win. He linked with Dele Alli before sweeping in the opening goal and, after the Potters had levelled, swung in the free kick that bounced home and was credited to him despite Harry Kane's claims. "A beautiful player to watch," purrs Mariner, while Marcotti adds: "If you don't want to give him both goals, fine -- but it's another masterclass either way."

Midfield: Was this the day that kick-started Paul Pogba's transformation into a Manchester United hero? Pogba turned what looked like a title-winning stroll for Manchester City into a thrilling win for United, his quick-fire double dragging his side back from 2-0 down and transforming them. It wasn't just the goals -- he was everywhere after the break, winning challenges and passing with verve and confidence. "Inspired United's second-half fightback," says Ogden; Marcotti reckons Pogba "shut up the haters, at least for a while" and Mariner credits him with "taking the game over and changing United's mentality."

Paul Pogba's double against Man City could prove to be a turning point in his career at Man United.

Midfield: Not long ago, it appeared Jonjo Shelvey might be on his way to West Ham -- but Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez didn't like that idea. How right he was, with Shelvey at the heart of the run that has carried his team clear of the bottom three. He inspired Newcastle with an outstanding performance at Leicester, demonstrating poise to make time and space for the opening goal and keeping his side ticking with passing both long and short. "Drove Newcastle on to a big win which all but confirms Premier League survival," is Ogden's verdict.

Midfield: Jack Cork's father Alan knew where the goal was in his days as a Wimbledon striker, and Cork junior showed he has the knack as Burnley took another step towards European football. The Clarets were not at their best at Watford -- but they found a way to win, with Cork's drive and determination playing a huge part. His assured display kept Burnley calm and, when the tide turned, he popped up with the header that completed the transformation from 1-0 down to 2-1 up. "Scored the decisive goal and was rock solid in the middle of the park," says Mariner.

Midfield: Pogba was not the only man transformed for United -- they saw the best of Alexis Sanchez as well. The former Arsenal star has often looked a player on the fringes since arriving at United, but against City he sparkled and was a constant threat. His cross and Ander Herrera's chest pass created Pogba's first and his deliveries set up both the midfielder's second and Chris Smalling's winner. After a rough start, his combative fires appeared to have been well and truly rekindled. "Set up two of United's goals and turned in maybe his best 45 minutes of the season," says Marcotti.

Forward: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hailed Danny Welbeck as "exceptional" after the striker scored two and set up another against Southampton. Welbeck was in the thick of things throughout, his clever flick setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal before he cut in to score his first after the break. And after he had scooped a sitter over when it seemed easier to score, Welbeck bounced back with the winning goal. No wonder Wenger was pleased. "Two goals and an assist? Not bad!", says an admiring Mariner.

Forward: Newcastle's win at Leicester could be the one that keeps them up, and they produced a tremendous team display to get it. Few could have done more for the cause than Ayoze Perez, a constant menace with a mixture of shrewd runs and deft touches to bring colleagues into play. Denied by Kasper Schmeichel early on, he exacted revenge with a sublime 25-yard lob that sealed the points after the break. "The difference-maker on the day for Rafa" is Mariner's verdict, while Marcotti notes: "Gorgeous goal -- but also some serious running and graft."

Manager: "I am not such a bad manager as some people think I am," said Jose Mourinho after Manchester United's comeback had denied their neighbours confirmation of the title. Mourinho's men were out of the picture at the halfway mark -- outplayed, they seemed destined for the tamest of defeats. But the manager roused his team, urging them not to be "clowns" in a City parade, and was rewarded with a revival that had shades of Sir Alex Ferguson. "So what if he only delayed the inevitable City title for a week or two?" asks Marcotti. "It's a huge half, and one we may end up remembering as a real turning point."

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.