Another week gone, another loose end tied up in the story of this Premier League season; namely, this year’s relegation battle, which drew to a close at last with Fulham becoming the third and final team condemned to relegation, following their meek home defeat to Burnley on Monday night.
It had been a valiant but ultimately fruitless effort by Fulham, who head straight back down to the championship, but one that grants the other teams in that part of the table one huge sigh of relief, their Premier League status secured for another season.
Elsewhere in Matchweek 35, one of those very teams – Newcastle – put a dent in Leicester City’s Champions League hopes with a stunning win, as did Everton at West Ham. Manchester City’s title celebrations were delayed with a defeat to Chelsea, but after Leicester City beat Manchester United last night, Manchester City crowned as new champions. It’s time to reveal our five stars from the latest round of fixtures.
Stars in Premier League – Gameweek 35
Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)
A respectable home performance to see off Southampton was just what the doctor ordered for Liverpool, who looked a lot more on-song in this match than they often have done at home this season.
Thiago also bagged his first Anfield goal, but the key to Liverpool’s win was the performance of goalkeeper Alisson. Brazil’s keeper made six saves, turning in one of his finest displays of the season, including a brave close range stop from Saints striker Che Adams with the scores at 0-0. Alisson was almost left red faced when he gave the ball straight to the same player in the second half, but was alert to make the save and spare his own blushes.
A strong display and a clean sheet, what more can you ask of your goalkeeper?
Defender: Ben Godfrey (Everton)
In a hot and cold season for Everton, the great form and consistent displays from debutant defender Ben Godfrey has been a real ray of light. During the Toffees narrow victory over West Ham on Sunday, Godfrey’s display once again played a huge part in securing the result.
Playing at right back, the defender laid on a brilliant assist for Dominic Calvert-Lewin with a deep, defence splitting pass, and then led in the nitty-gritty moments to shut the Hammers out with a well-controlled 1-0 victory.
Godfrey has enjoyed an excellent first season on Merseyside – could a shock call up to England’s EURO squad be on the cards?
Midfielder: Ebereche Eze (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace have seemingly been safe for a while now, following yet another efficient season where they’ve managed to get the job done. However, Saturday’s victory over already relegated Sheffield United was the moment that really sealed the deal, mathematically ensuring Palace’s survival.
The spark of excitement for the South London side here, and indeed on other occasions this season, was provided by Ebereche Eze. The midfielder provided the assist for Benteke’s early opener before scoring himself to seal the win in the 88th minute, and was a constant thorn in Sheffield United’s side all afternoon.
His mazy runs at the heart of the opposition defence were reminiscent of long time club servant Wilfried Zaha – could Eze be the Ivorian’s long term heir?
Forward: Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)
It’s hardly been the most inspiring season from Newcastle United, but they opened Matchweek 35 with a bang, recording a stunning 4-2 win at Champions League-chasing Leicester City on Friday night.
Aside from the incredible result, individually it was a night to savour for Callum Wilson in particular. The striker has had a mixed debut season at Newcastle, racking up a very good goal tally but also having to put up with a few frustrating injuries. He was at his best here though, pouncing on lazy Leicester defending to round Kasper Schmeichel and score Newcastle’s third, before tucking home the fourth after his initial shot had rebounded fortuitously.
An exceptional night’s work in a generally positive campaign for Wilson, who is already a talismanic figure at St James’s Park.
Manager: Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)
There’s nothing like a good comeback win on the road, and it is made all the more special when achieved at the home of the league leaders.
For Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, who went a goal down to Manchester City and were lucky to escape further damage following a dreadful Sergio Aguero penalty, this was one of the finest results of the German’s tenure yet. Tuchel set up to go toe to toe with City, threatening their often-unflappable defence and achieving an exceptional victory with a 90th-minute winner.
In what was essentially a dress rehearsal for the Champions League Final between these two sides, this felt like a hugely symbolic win for Tuchel and Chelsea – although what impact that may have when these teams face off in a couple of weeks’ time remains to be seen.