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EPL: Vardy, Ozil, Ighalo shine in a week of upsets

It was a week of upsets with almost all the big clubs, with the exception of Arsenal and Manchester City , failing to win their respective matches.

football Updated: Dec 15, 2015 16:29 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Arsenal’s Petr Cech watches the ball during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on December 13, 2015.
Arsenal’s Petr Cech watches the ball during the English Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on December 13, 2015.(AP Photo)

It was a week of upsets with almost all the big clubs, with the exception of Arsenal and Manchester City , failing to win their respective matches.

The biggest upset of the week was the defeat of Manchester United at the hands of AFC Bournemouth , while the fairytale run for Leicester City continued as they won 2-1 against defending champions Chelsea.

Here’s a look at the top XI in the English Premier League this week.

Goalkeeper

Petr Cech (Arsenal): Cech reaffirmed himself as one of the best goalkeepers the Premier League has ever seen by notching up his 169th clean sheet, equalling David James’ record for maximum clean sheets of all time. His performance against Aston Villa produced a few good saves but got him plenty of praise for the way he has reshaped and organised Arsenal’s defence.

Defenders

Norwich's Russell Martin in action against Everton on December 11, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Russell Martin (Norwich City): The skipper was the only steady defender in Norwich’s poor first half. He made a few key clearances and put pressure on attackers to make sure they didn’t concede more than one goal. He was an important part of the Canaries’ second half resurgence with his attacking runs down the wings.

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal): With an assured performance against Aston Villa, Koscielny led Arsenal’s defence to another clean sheet and victory. His performance got him praise from former Manchester United and England midfielder Rio Ferdinand who said he is currently the best defender in the league.

Sunderland's captain John O'Shea, right, vies for the ball with Watford's Allan Nyom, left, during the English Premier League match between Sunderland and Watford at the Stadium of Lighton December 12, 2015. (AP Photo)

Allan Nyom (Watford): Watford’s defence has had some rocky moments but managed to put in some very good performances over the past few weeks. This week, it was Nyom who was their standout defender as he made five successful tackles to help keep a clean sheet in the 1-0 win against Sunderland. He also managed five crosses, one of which resulted in the only goal.

Midfielders

Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrates with Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on December 13, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool): The Liverpool skipper marked his recent return from injury with a great performance against West Bromwich Albion. He scored the opening goal and showed his leadership qualities as he helped the team comeback to snatch a point after going a goal down.

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City): Mahrez scored his 10th goal of the season as the Foxes kept themselves perched at the top of the table by beating Chelsea 2-0. The Algerian winger set up the first goal and scored the second goal by controlling a difficult long aerial pass, working a yard of space and firing the ball into the roof of the net.

Mesut Ozil celebrates after scoring the first goal for Arsenal. (Reuters Photo)

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal): The Gunners’ star playmaker continues to dazzle as he notched up another assist; his 13th in 15th matches played in the Premier League this season. The German international was unselfish in front of goal letting Aaron Ramsey get an easy tap in to double Arsenal’s lead.

Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye, right, puts the ball past Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga to score his side's first goal during their English Premier League match at Selhurst Park on December 12, 2015. (AP Photo)

Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace): Cabaye’s goal proved to be the decider in the encounter between Crystal Palace and Southampton. The Frenchman, who returned to the Premier League after a stint with Paris Saint-Germain, was a vital part of Palace’s attack and earned praise from his manager Alan Pardew for fitting in well with the team.

Forwards

Romelu Lukaku (Everton): The Belgian gave Everton an early lead against Norwich City to extend his scoring run to a sixth consecutive game in the Premier League. He came close on three other occasions but saw the ball go agonizingly wide. He also set up his striking partner Arouna Kone for two one-on-one chances at goal which, unfortunately for Everton, weren’t converted.

Watford's Odion Ighalo, left, scores his sides first goal of the game against Aston Villa during the English Premier League match at Villa Park on November 28, 2015. (AP Photo)

Odion Ighalo (Watford): The Hornets have Ighalo to thank for attaining the seventh spot in the table this weekend. The Nigerian striker reached double figures as he scored Watford’s winner against Sunderland to claim his 10th goal of the season. Watford has now won three consecutive matches in the Premier League for the first time ever, with Ighalo scoring in all three matches.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City): Vardy returned to the scoresheet to increase the pressure on Jose Mourinho. Vardy’s 15th goal in 16 matches came in the opener against Chelsea as he ran onto a cross between the defenders and volleyed the ball past the helpless Thibaut Courtois for a smartly-taken goal.