Premier League Team of the Week: Arsenal make big gains in the capital, Havertz has best game for Chelsea

2PBXAB2 London, UK. 12th Mar, 2023. Leandro Trossard of Arsenal during the Premier League match at Craven Cottage, London. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage Credit: Sportimage/Alamy Live News

It was a weekend to remember for London's biggest Premier League clubs as Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea all recorded convincing victories.

While West Ham were held to a draw and Fulham and Brentford were both defeated, the aforementioned trio found the back of the net three times in their respective matches.

They are represented in this week's Premier League Team of the Week which uses PFF grades and data to pick out the star performances.

Goalkeeper: David Raya, Brentford

There was very little David Raya could do to stop Dwight McNeil’s early goal after just 45 seconds, but his point-blank save to deny Alex Iwobi following a corner was another example of why the Spaniard could be a highly-sought after free agent this summer.

Raya leads all goalkeepers on shots on targets saved with 137 for the season and added six more to that tally against Everton, as well as finishing with the second-best passing grade at his position this week, 70.9.

Center-back: Armel Bella-Kotchap, Southampton

The difference in Southampton’s defence between Nathan Jones and Rubén Sellés has been night and day since the Welshman’s sacking on Feb. 12. In the four league games under Sellés, Saints have conceded just one goal and came away from Old Trafford with another clean sheet thanks to the work of Bella-Kotchap.

Against ten-man Manchester United, the German international finished with an 80.5 challenge grade and 75.7 passing grade – both top 10 ranks among 50 qualifying central defenders.

Center-back: Gabriel, Arsenal

Arsenal rarely gave Fulham a glimmer at goal as Gabriel made contributions in both defence and attack to help deliver three points for the league leaders at Craven Cottage.

The defender finished with a 72.2 challenge grade and did not receive a single position downgrade to couple with his headed goal from a corner. He may not find the goal often, but two of the Brazilian's three goals this season have come against Fulham.

Center-back: Ben Mee, Brentford

Brentford were left to pay for conceding less than a minute after their game at Goodison Park had kicked off, but Mee was still a key figure for Thomas Frank’s side.

Mee’s 87.3 challenge grade was the second-highest grade at his position, and was particularly successful on aerial duels in winning 79% of all challenges. That is higher than the average of 71% by center-backs to win at least ten challenges in a match this season.

Defensive midfielder: Rodri, Manchester City

Pep Guardiola said there were ‘no words to describe’ the performance of Rodri in Manchester City’s win over Crystal Palace and that shows in his high productivity in facets key to a holding midfielder.

He was solid in contact to record an 81.5 challenge grade and was consummate in controlling possession with an 83.8 ball carrying grade – both rank fifth and first amongst 63 qualifying midfielders.

Midfielder: Mateo Kovačić, Chelsea

Victory over Leicester means Chelsea have now won three-consecutive matches for the first time since mid-October, boosted by the work in midfield of Mateo Kovačić.

It was a well-rounded performance by the Chelsea captain, standing in for the injured Thiago Silva, as he earned a challenge grade of 78.2 and a ball carry grade of 74.4 – top ten rankings in both categories.

Midfielder: Enzo Fernandez, Chelsea

The World Cup-winner looks more an more settled in the Chelsea midfield with each passing week and showed his worth to Graham Potter once again at the King Power Stadium.

Chelsea midfielder Enzo Fernandez
2PA7310 Chelsea's Enzo Fernandez during the first half of the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea at the King Power Stadium, Leicester on Saturday 11th March 2023. (Photo: John Cripps | MI News) Credit: MI News & Sport /Alamy Live News

His on-the-ball qualities are reflected in his 87.4 passing grade, aided by his 14 completed line-breaking passes and assist for Kai Havertz’s goal, while he also covered plenty of ground to register the eighth-highest total of pressure attempts at 41 by a midfielder– West Ham’s Tomáš Souček led the way in that category with 48.

Midfielder: Granit Xhaka, Arsenal

Fulham’s deficiencies without key man Joao Palhinha due to suspension were highlighted by Arsenal’s formidable midfield trio of Xhaka, Martin Ødegaard and Thomas Partey, but it is the Swiss international who earns selection in this XI.

No player in the Premier League performed better than his elite 94.9 passing grade. It is the sixth-best grade registered by any midfielder in the league this season and comes after he completed 49 of his 51 pass attempts.

Attacking midfielder: Leandro Trossard, Arsenal

Trossard finished with a hat-trick of assists in what was comfortably his best game in an Arsenal shirt since arriving in January.

Pulling Fulham’s defensive line with his movement, Trossard was able to create openings in behind for wide men Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka and earned a position-leading 84.4 passing grade with his distribution.

Attacking midfielder: Kai Havertz, Chelsea

Like Trossard, Havertz also experienced success in coming deep to help affect play but the Chelsea forward was nonetheless exceptional in front of goal.

His shooting productivity in the 3-1 win over Leicester was by some distance his best of the season as he finished with a grade of 89.3. That is better than his previous best shooting grade of 78.6 back in October.

New peaks were reached in Havertz’s pass grading, too, at 88.7, as he created three goalscoring opportunities to go with his sixth goal this season in the Premier League.

Striker: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Kane was at his typical best for Spurs in a game where Heung-min Son and Richarlison were also on fine form. Two goals in the victory over Nottingham Forest took Kane to the 20-goal milestone in the league this season and generated a shooting grade of 88.3, his third-highest grade of the season.

With 11 games left to play, Kane needs to score 11 goals to beat his current seasonal-best goal tally of 30 league goals he scored in 2017-18.

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