The final month of the Premier League season is upon us. It may only be a couple of weeks now until all of this season’s questions are answered, but as April turns to May, so many possibilities are still open, with the league showing no signs whatsoever of fading out.
In the upper rungs of the table it was very much business as usual, with Liverpool and City both winning to maintain this incredibly tense title race, whilst Spurs got back on their feet with a 3-1 victory over Leicester to remain hot on the heels of Arsenal in fourth.
But the weekend’s biggest talking point, without a shadow of doubt, was Everton’s shock 1-0 win over Chelsea. The seismic result not only intensifies the relegation battle by several degrees, but also may have dragged Chelsea into the previously unthinkable position of having to battle it out with their London neighbours to secure Champions League football for next season.
Long may this incredible drama continue – here are our five Stars of the Week from Matchweek 35.
Stars of the Week: Matchweek 35
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Everton’s triumph over Chelsea on Sunday was truly astonishing, not to mention absolutely vital, with the Toffees now back in with a shout of surviving the drop having been five points adrift of safety by Saturday evening.
There were heroic performances all over the pitch at Goodison Park, but goalkeeper Jordan Pickford stood tall above the rest with a colossal display. With his side 1-0 up, the England ‘keeper made a miraculous block by scrambling across his goal line to keep out Cesar Azpilicueta‘s rebound, a save so important that it was celebrated in the stands almost as much as Richarlison’s goal. Pickford later made excellent stops to deny Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic, as Everton just about held their nerve for the victory.
Once again, the former Sunderland man has made the difference for Everton in a priceless result.
Defender: Rob Holding (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s recent revival gained further momentum on Sunday evening, when the Gunners overcame a tricky test at West Ham to extend their winning run in the league to three matches.
It was a day for the centre backs, with both of Arsenal’s central defenders on the scoresheet, and surely few would’ve expected Rob Holding to be the hero on the day. Brought into the team following an injury to Ben White, Holding opened the scoring in the first half with a fine header to claim his first ever Premier League goal.
In addition to his goal, Holding defended stoutly, making three blocks, two interceptions and seven clearances.
The race for fourth seems to be bringing the best out of plenty at Arsenal, with Holding proving his value to the squad in this victory.
Midfielder: Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Liverpool’s narrow win over Newcastle could’ve led to some nerves for Manchester City as they took on relegation-battling Leeds United, but there were no such signs for the Citizens, eventually despatching Leeds 4-0.
With Kevin De Bruyne rested, it was time for some of Manchester City’s other attacking stars to shoulder the creative burden, with Phil Foden filling the role superbly. Playing on the right-hand side, the young midfielder delivered a pinpoint early free-kick that was nodded home by Rodri to put the away side in the lead.
Foden doubled his assist tally for the evening in the second half with a fine through-ball to Gabriel Jesus, the Brazilian firing past Illan Meslier to put the game beyond all doubt.
There is growing speculation that Foden could be up for some individual honours at the end of the season – a display like this will surely only increase his chances.
Forward: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
It has been a strange couple of weeks for Tottenham’s previously red-hot front three, and after misfiring for two games the trio were instantly back to their best against Leicester City, each registering goal contributions as Spurs sealed a 3-1 win.
Once again though, it was Son who stood out above Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski, firing home two magical goals with his weaker left foot to bring joy to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium once again this season. For his first goal he collected a pass from Kulusevski on the turn before shooting back across goal to wrong-foot Kasper Schmeichel, and for his second he curled home a sensational effort from outside the area, one of his very best strikes.
In a tight race for the top four, could Son be the difference maker?
Manager: Frank Lampard (Everton)
Well, where do you start with this?
Few would’ve given Everton a prayer when they took on third-placed Chelsea, their Premier League status hanging on the edge of a cliff following Burnley’s victory on Saturday.
However, Lampard’s Everton came out fighting against Chelsea, and after a tense first half, their high pressing paid off when Richarlison pounced upon a defensive error to score the winner, sending Goodison Park into raptures. Everton missed a few good chances for a second, and indeed could’ve been made to pay had Pickford not been in top form between the sticks, but in the end Lampard triumphed over his former club with this potentially season-changing victory.
Five games left for Everton to get out of this mess. You never know, this result might just give them the confidence they need to make a great escape.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.