Pablo De Blasis is WhoScored.com's European player of the week. The Argentine made only his second league start of the season when Mainz 05 welcomed Bundesliga new boys Paderborn to the Coface Arena on Saturday, and he did not disappoint.
De Blasis provided an assist either side of half-time from four key passes and found the back of the net with a little over 20 minutes remaining in a resounding 5-0 victory for his side. With five successful dribbles in the encounter to cap off a captivating showing, the 26-year-old was duly named the WhoScored.com man of the match as a result of his 10-out-of-10 showing.
Team-mate Yunus Malli also features in the team this week courtesy of his display against Paderborn. The young midfielder netted the opening two goals in the win over Paderborn before turning provider for De Blasis after the interval during his 79 minutes on the pitch. The 22-year-old also played two key passes and completed three successful dribbles in what was an impressive performance.
Santi Cazorla partners Malli in the middle of the park this week. The diminutive Spaniard has been Arsenal’s most consistent attacking performer in recent weeks, and his display against Aston Villa was one of his best-rated in the Premier League this season. Cazorla helped himself to two second-half assists as the Gunners cruised to a 5-0 win over Villa in Sunday’s early kick-off.
His penalty with 15 minutes still to play took his total to five converted spot-kicks—more than any other player in the Premier League this season—though he could have netted more than just the one goal, having struck the woodwork in the first half. Four key passes, three successful dribbles and three tackles in the fixture contributed to his WhoScored.com rating of 9.61, which was enough to secure the man-of-the-match award.
Fellow Gunners ace Mesut Ozil completes the midfield this week after a commendable showing upon his return to the Arsenal starting XI in the Premier League. The German provided a wonderful assist for Olivier Giroud to set Arsenal on their way to victory before netting early in the second half. Ozil must wish he could play Villa every week, having directly contributed to four goals in the Premier League this season, all of which have come against Paul Lambert's men.
After his match-winning display against Bayern, it’s no real surprise to see Kevin de Bruyne feature in WhoScored.com’s European team of the week. The Belgian gained his second WhoScored.com man-of-the-match award of the season in Wolfsburg’s astonishing 4-1 win over the reigning Bundesliga champions with a rating of 9.68.
De Bruyne registered the assist for Bas Dost's opener in the victory, his 11th in the Bundesliga this term—more than any other player in Germany’s top tier and second only to Cesc Fabregas (15) in Europe’s top five leagues. Two goals after the interval also contributed to his impressive rating, while two tackles and two interceptions highlighted how hard he worked off the ball in order to help Wolfsburg to all three points.
Jonathan Walters partners De Bruyne in attack this week after he put the QPR defence to the sword in Stoke’s 3-1 win at the weekend. Walters netted all three goals for the Potters to condemn QPR to their 11th away league defeat of the campaign. Walters’ hat-trick came from just three shots on goal at the Britannia Stadium, while the Republic of Ireland international won more aerial duels (five) than any other player in the encounter, having led the Stoke attack with aplomb.
Patrick van Aanholt comes in at left-back this week after an impressive showing in Sunderland’s 2-0 win over Burnley. The Dutchman registered the assist for Jermain Defoe’s goal just after the half-hour mark and provided an effective offensive threat from deep against the Clarets. Van Aanholt played two key passes and completed three successful dribbles in the fixture, and he was defensively sound against Burnley, having made three tackles, four interceptions and six clearances to help Sunderland to all three points and a clean sheet.
Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin stars on the opposite flank in the European team of the week. The 19-year-old netted his first-ever Premier League goal late on against Aston Villa, with his strike coming from his first shot in England’s top tier. A majority of Villa’s attacks came down the left side (38 percent) at the Emirates, but Bellerin was able to repel the threat on this flank, making two tackles, three interceptions and four clearances.
Everton’s Phil Jagielka partners Ashley Williams at centre-back in WhoScored.com’s highest-rated European XI. The experienced pairing played crucial roles in away wins for their respective teams at the weekend, with each winning the WhoScored.com man-of-the-match award in their weekend outings. Jagielka has been criticised this season for a number of lacklustre performance at the heart of the Toffees back line but was at his best to ensure Everton returned to winning ways against Crystal Palace.
The England international won four aerial duels to help fight off the Palace attack, while his three tackles, five interceptions and 16 clearances—one of which was off the line—helped Everton to a pivotal three points at Selhurst Park.
Having captained his side to a humiliating 5-0 home defeat to Chelsea earlier in January, Ashley Williams churned out a resolute defensive showing at Southampton as Swansea secured an unexpected 1-0 win at St. Mary’s. The Welshman led by example at the back, making four interceptions and 13 clearances—two of which were off the line in the space of a matter of seconds—to help gain a WhoScored.com rating of 9.04.
Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina rounds off the WhoScored.com European team of the week. The Colombian made only two saves in the thumping of Villa—one to deny a well-struck Ashley Westwood drive late on—but it was his command of his penalty area and distribution that won him the plaudits on Sunday. Ospina made seven cross claims to ease the pressure on his defence and found a teammate with 17 of his 28 attempted long balls to help instigate attacks from the back.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team rankings.
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