Premier League Team of the Week: The goals keep on coming for Marcus Rashford

2NGW61P Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Leicester City at the Stamford Bridge stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

There was change at the top and bottom of the table after this past weekend's set of matches in the Premier League, with Arsenal regaining top spot while Everton, to their own benefit, managed to drag Leeds United into the relegation zone after going head-to-head at Goodison Park.

Every pass, every shot, and every challenge, among other facets, have been viewed, collected and graded at PFF. And using that data has led to the following XI being selected for our Premier League Team of the Week.

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno, Fulham

Fulham moved into the Europa League qualification spots at the expense of their opponents Brighton thanks to the efforts of Bernd Leno in goal.

The German has now kept three-consecutive clean sheets for Fulham and was on top form in denying all six of Brighton’s shots on target, including smart work to rush out and meet Evan Ferguson’s attempt on the half-hour when faced with a one-on-one.

Right-back: Seamus Coleman, Everton

Not only did Seamus Coleman score the goal that moved Everton out of the relegation zone, but he also finished as our top-graded full-back with an 87.4 challenge grade on an afternoon where he kept Leeds’ Wilfried Gnonto quiet.

Center-back: Victor Lindelöf, Manchester United

Based on minutes played, Lindelöf had been the fourth-choice option at center-back under Erik ten Hag this season behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Harry Maguire. On the evidence of his display against Leicester, the Swede could at least move ahead of captain Maguire after recording a 92.8 challenge grade – the best of any player this gameweek.

Center-back: James Tarkowski, Everton

Tarkowski has been key for Sean Dyche in the two wins he has steered Everton to in the three league games he has overseen as manager.

After Tarkowski delivered the match-winner against Arsenal earlier this month, the defender was superior in the air against Leeds with an 89% win rate on nine duels. His 89.9 challenge grade was second only to Lindelöf and is the eighth time this season he has registered a grade above 80.0 in that category.

Left-back: Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur

Davies had never started a league game at left wing-back under Antonio Conte but came up with the goods in the London derby against West Ham by setting up Emerson Royal’s goal which handed Spurs the lead.

Preferred to start out wide in place of Ivan Perišić, Davies ranked top 10 at his position in ball carry (79.4) and pass (71.3) grading.

Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse, Southampton

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse
2NGMR3X Southampton's Theo Walcott (left) and James Ward-Prowse celebrate after the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Saturday February 18, 2023.

Southampton’s talisman needs just one more goal from a free-kick to equal David Beckham’s record of 18 free-kicks scored in the Premier League. Ward-Prowse earned an 84.1 shooting grade for his set-piece strike which helped managerless Southampton to beat Chelsea and close the gap on West Ham and Leeds.

Earlier this month, we wrote about how Ward-Prowse’s ability in dead-ball situations also leant itself to a high crossing grade and that was true again in his performance at Stamford Bridge as he recorded a 72.8 cross grade – the third-best among midfielders.

Midfielder: Pascal Groß, Brighton & Hove Albion

Groß, together with Solly March, tried to break the deadlock for Brighton in a match the hosts dominated. Though they were ultimately punished at the Amex Stadium by a late Manor Solomon goal for Fulham, Groß was PFF’s top-graded passer of the week at 93.0 – the first time he has topped a 90.0 grade all season.

He also attained an 82.5 crossing grade on his five attempts which equalled his best for the season.

Right wing: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United

Fernandes played at a wider position than usual as Wout Weghorst was utilised in the middle of United’s attacking three behind Marcus Rashford. That made little difference as Fernandes equalled his own record for chances created by any player in a single game all season (9), finishing the game with two assists.

His ten cross attempts were the third-most by a player this past weekend, but few could match his efficiency as Fernandes graded out at 89.7 – the second highest of all attacking midfielders.

Attacking midfielder: Martin Ødegaard, Arsenal

Yes, he did miss a clear chance at goal but the Norwegian was still totemic in attack for Arsenal as they regained top spot in the Premier League.

Ødegaard finished the dramatic 4-2 win at Villa Park with an 85.1 passing grade, fourth out of 64 midfielders, and set a new season-high for chances created (7).

Left winger: Darwin Núñez, Liverpool

Núñez looked to be running all systems go for Liverpool until a shoulder injury forced him off in the victory over Newcastle.

His shooting grade of 84.8 was second to none while his 75.7 ball carrying grade ranked sixth out of 69 qualifying attacking midfielders.

Striker: Marcus Rashford, Manchester United

The goals keep on coming for Marcus Rashford as he continues to fuel Manchester United’s unfancied chances of a quadruple this season.

Leicester had looked more than a match for United in the first half at Old Trafford but Rashford’s goal on 25 minutes helped sway the balance, prior to him scoring his sixth goal in five games after half-time. The England international led all strikers with a shooting grade of 84.6 and was also top five in ball carrying, 72.8.

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