It’s odd to see Matchweeks divided in half and played over the course of several weeks, but such is the unprecedented and improvisational nature of this current season. Matchweek 29 began in earnest on March the 2nd with six matches spread over three days, and concluded with three final matches almost two and a half weeks later.
Stars in Premier League – Gameweek 29
Whilst not your typical Matchweek in terms of structure, it was no less a very prominent one with teams being left with a lot to consider and mull over, particularly the six sides who were in action right before the League paused for the March international break. With the league now just a few days from returning for the season’s final run-in, let’s refresh our memories on the finest performers in the Premier League’s most recent full round of matches.
Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)
Beginning with a performance in the first half of Matchweek 29, we focus in on Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who put in an inspired performance against Burnley.
While his side were under par at Turf Moor, Schmeichel certainly wasn’t, making spectacular saves from Chris Wood and James Tarkowski to help the Foxes escape with a point.
Much praise has gone to Leicester’s attacking players since the turn of the year, and rightfully so, but there’s little doubt that Schmeichel was the standout here.
Defender: Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)
Moving onto our second Danish international in a row, Chelsea man Andreas Christensen claims the prize of the top defender in Matchweek 29.
Having been a part of the latest side to emerge victorious at Anfield, with Chelsea walking away as 1-0 winners, Christensen was at the heart of a defence that expertly handled everything that Liverpool threw at them. Having come in from the cold, the central defender has become a mainstay of the team under Thomas Tuchel, with his rebirth being a key factor in Chelsea’s exceptional defensive form under their new manager.
Christensen’s performance here was one of his finest yet, and a few more displays like this should help the Blues nail down an increasingly certain top 4 finish in the season’s final run-in.
Midfielder: Jesse Lingard (West Ham United)
Moving on from the first half of the Matchweek to the second half, West Ham played out a breathless 3-3 draw with London rivals Arsenal, having been 3-0 up in the first half.
Although the Hammers blew the lead, it was hardly a dampener on Jesse Lingard’s performance, who really is enjoying a new lease of life under David Moyes. The on-loan attacking midfielder drove home a pinpoint strike from the edge of the area, before showing some genius quick-thinking to put Jarrod Bowen through on goal to score.
With performances like this, West Ham will certainly want to keep a hold of him – this could well develop into an interesting summer saga.
Forward: Patrick Bamford (Leeds United)
Just one day after being overlooked for the England squad, Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford responded superbly by putting in a match winning performance for his side against Fulham, breaking their so-called ‘London curse’.
The forward put Leeds ahead with a sweeping finish from inside the box, before making a penetrating run and fine pass through to Raphinha to score the winning goal. This took his league tally for the season up to fourteen goals and six assists, as Leeds moved to one shy of the coveted 40-point mark.
Bamford has undoubtedly surprised a few with his form and consistency this season, with questions over his ability to perform at this level becoming quieter by the week.
Manager: Graham Potter (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Not everyone is a fan of the international break, but it will have given Brighton manager Graham Potter room to breathe after his side produced a clinical 3-0 win against fellow strugglers Newcastle – their second victory in a row.
Having been on the fringes of a relegation battle virtually all season, this victory took the Seagulls further away from it, their cushion now being a relatively healthy six points above the drop zone with a game in hand. In this match, they were energised, attack-minded and bold, in stark contrast with an abysmally lacklustre Newcastle, and topped it all off with three clinically taken goals.
Potter’s team aren’t there yet, but one or two more performances like this should get them over the line.