Premier League Team of the Week: West Ham dominance eases the pressure off David Moyes

2NNB9AF West Ham United's Declan Rice celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday February 25, 2023.

No other Premier League manager breathed a larger sigh of relief than David Moyes this past weekend after West Ham put together their most complete performance of the season to beat Nottingham Forest.

Their 4-0 victory is just their second in 12 games but they did pull away from the relegation zone as Everton, Bournemouth and Southampton all dropped points.

With another round of Premier League action over, here is PFF's Premier League Team of the Week using the data metrics from all eight games.

Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez, Aston Villa

Martinez’s theatrics in goal ensured Villa extended their unbeaten run over Everton to eight games, as they moved level on points with Chelsea.

It is now six wins and two draws for Villa in their head-to-head league contests with Everton since their return to the Premier League in 2019, but Martinez was called into action on multiple occasions en route to a fifth clean sheet of the season.

The Argentinian, winner of FIFA’s Best Men’s Goalkeeper award on Monday, produced a superb save to deny a headed shot by Amadou Onana and successfully saved three other shots on target – joint-most with Wolves’ José Sá.

Right-back: Emerson Royal, Tottenham Hotspur

Emerson has not given Antonio Conte any reason to drop him for January signing Pedro Porro with his performances over recent weeks.

Emerson showed his value at the back for Spurs with his best defensive performance of the season as the winner of seven of his 11 challenges (64%). Dribbles defended was an category in which he topped all defenders, successfully stopping five of the seven he faced, as Chelsea recorded their lowest number of chances created (8) in six games.

Center-back: Rúben Dias, Manchester City

The Manchester City defender dictated play in the 4-1 win over Bournemouth as he tallied the second-most completed passes in a match by a center-back this season (113), and was just two off Thiago Silva’s record of 115 against Nottingham Forest on New Year’s Day.

Of his passing tally, 17 were successfully completed through a line of opponents by Dias – a feat bettered only twice all season among defenders.

Center-back: Cristian Romero, Spurs

Tyrone Mings came close to being included but Romero just edges out the Villa defender after completing nine of his ten line-breaking pass attempts, to go with his nine challenges won out of 13 as Spurs put Chelsea’s Champions League hopes in serious doubt while boosting their own.

Despite losing captain and first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to injury last month, Spurs have now kept four clean sheets in their last five league matches.

Left-back: Junior Firpo, Leeds United

Leeds United defender Junior FIrpo
2NNARE7 Southampton's Theo Walcott shoots at goal, under pressure from Leeds United's Junior Firpo during the Premier League match at Elland Road, Leeds. Picture date: Saturday February 25, 2023.

Defeat for Leeds to Southampton could have seen them fall to the bottom of the Premier League, but Firpo’s goal in the second half gifted Javi Gracia a win in his first game in charge and lifted Leeds out of the danger zone.

Firpo also recorded one chance created, an area where he outranks fellow full-back Pascal Struijk on the season at 1.02 chances created per-90 to 0.44.

Midfielder: Declan Rice, West Ham United

It has taken until late February, but West Ham finally produced an all-round good team performance as they made light work of Nottingham Forest. Declan Rice’s inclusion is no surprise, however, has he has been a consistent figure for David Moyes in an otherwise dire season.

Rice completed 57 of 58 passes to finish with his most accurate true-pass accuracy percentage of the season, 98%, while also scoring a goal and creating four chances – tied-2nd among all players.

Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucouré, Everton

Doucouré has picked up his form as he gets more game time following the sale of Anthony Gordon forcing Alex Iwobi back to a wide position.

The Malian international attempted and completed more dribbles – four or five – than any other midfielder in the defeat to Aston Villa. With Idrissa Gueye anchoring the midfield three, Doucouré also played a progressive passing role with 28% of his passes intended to break a line – the highest rate among midfielders with at least 30 attempts.

Midfielder: Martin Ødegaard, Arsenal

It wasn’t pretty against Leicester but the fact Leicester failed to register a shot from within Arsenal’s indicates how in control the league leaders were at the King Power Stadium.

Ødegaard produced four key passes for the Gunners, all four led to a chance being created.

Right wing: Phil Foden, Manchester City

Foden looked back to the levels he was at in 2021-22 after being out of the picture at Manchester City at times this season. He completed four key passes and created five chances against Bournemouth – the best of any player in the Premier League this past weekend.

Left wing: Saïd Benrahma, West Ham United

Benrahma sits on the summit of PFF’s dribbles per-90 metric (5.41) and was clear in his intent to take on defenders once again with a league-leading nine attempts against Forest, completing five.

He finished with two assists as West Ham inflicted a heavy defeat on Steve Cooper’s men.

Striker: Danny Ings, West Ham United

Ings benefitted from the wing play of Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen to open his account as a West Ham striker.

It was his first start since arriving from Aston Villa as a £16m signing in January, with both of Ings’ shots on goal finding the back of the net.

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