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Premier League Team of the Week XXXVII feat. Sunderland and Southampton stars

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Premier League Team of the Week XXXVII feat. Sunderland and Southampton stars

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Vito Mannone: The weekend saw arguably another man of the match display for Sunderland’s Italian goalkeeper who; throughout this career, has hardly been known for his consistency between the sticks. Nevertheless, he is becoming a key performer for Sam Allardyce’s side in these closing weeks, repeatedly earning draws and victories when defeats appeared likely but for his endeavour. While the score-line was still 2-1 to the visitors, Mannone made a couple of superb stops from a rampaging Diego Costa in the second 45 minutes that prevented his side from falling further behind. The second of these was the better of the two, rushing out towards the burly striker at a rate of knots to cut down the angle while remaining big so as to block as much of the goal as possible. Rather appropriately, it was a final save by the Italian which coincided with the referee blowing the final whistle, thus meaning that Mannone had the final say on a match which he had already had such an influence on.

Virgil Van Dijk: In the aftermath of signing a new six-year contract with the club – despite only arriving at St Mary’s in the summer – Virgil Van Dijk put in another top drawer display against Tottenham Hotspur, emphasising just why Southampton are so keen to keep hold of him. The Dutchman made nine clearances and two blocks to help keep the back door locked alongside Jose Fonte, ensuring that the early defensive lapse that allowed Son to score did not repeat itself. Van Dijk used his tremendous upper body strength and speed across the ground to deal with Harry Kane. Almost as important was his composure on the ball to counter-act Tottenham’s infamous high-pressing approach from the front.

 

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Federico Fernandez: It was West Ham United’s poor attempts at keeping Swansea City at bay which drew much of the attention on Saturday – with the Swans running out 4-1 winners in the end – but Federico Fernandez more than showed his Hammers counterparts how it should be done. With Ashley Williams not included in the starting line-up, Fernandez stepped up and led by example from the back, making 11 clearances and four interceptions. Perhaps most importantly, he blocked three goal-bound efforts, and if the centre-half had not been as committed to the cause, West Ham may well have scored from any number of these and found their way back into the game as a result.

Christian Fuchs: Having been a significant presence on social media during the week as he recorded the initial scenes of celebration when the full-time whistle was blown at Stamford Bridge to secure the title for Leicester City, Christian Fuchs was back amongst the action successfully on the pitch too. He was progressive, and always keen to cross the ball into dangerous areas, creating six chances throughout the match. He even had a couple of efforts on goal himself but unfortunately for almost everybody watching, the Austrian was unable to find the back of the net. Fuchs dealt well with the searing pace of Aaron Lennon, using his defensive nous to keep the wide man at bay. He put in four tackles and five interceptions, translating his huge character in the dressing room to a great display on the pitch.

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