Premier League Team of the Week: Ozil and Aguero shine

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There were a number of classy performances in last weekend’s Premier League, led by the stunning hat-trick of assists by Mesut Ozil and the derby day brace by Sergio Aguero.

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

The American put forth yet another sensational match in goal for the Villans, keeping their first clean sheet in 28 matches by parrying a top corner-bound shot by Gary Hooper in the 87th minute.

Defender: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

It was a master class performance by Vincent Kompany in Sunday’s derby victory over United, shutting down Wayne Rooney during the run of play and unleashing a beastly dummy run that opened up Samir Nasri to thump home the Citizens’ fourth goal of the match.

Defender: Dejan Lovren (Southampton)

The arrival of Dejan Lovren has been the difference at Southampton this season, shoring up a central defense that had a tendency to leak goals last year. On Saturday the Croatian led the Saints back line that kept Liverpool at bay and nodded home the match-winning header in the 53rd minute.

Defender: Leighton Baines (Everton)

Leighton Baines produced two incredible free-kicks to help Everton to help claim all three points from West Ham on Saturday. The full-back swerved the first into Jussi Jääskeläinen’s right corner and the second, from the nearly identical distance of 22 yards out, into the left corner.

Midfielder: Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion)

Steve Clarke’s late acquisition of Morgan Amalfitano on loan from Ligue 1 side Marseille proved a shrewd move as the Frenchman throttled home West Brom’s third goal of the contest with a powerful far-post strike that tore the side netting.

Midfielder: Stephane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion)

Speaking of shrewd moves by Steve Clarke, the West Brom manager snagged what may well prove to be one of the deals of the transfer window when he spent $10.4 million (£6.5m) to snap up Stephane Sessegnon from Sunderland. In the Benin international’s first match with the Midland’s club, he made Sunderland pay for their sale by scoring the opener that would prove to be all the Baggies needs to put the Black Cats away.

Midfielder: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Three goals for Arsenal on Saturday and three assists for Mesut Ozil. Pretty standard, really.

Midfielder: Robbie Brady (Hull City)

Robbie Brady is proving himself quite the tricky little customer at Hull City. He’s quick, skilled and plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. And if he keeps scoring goals for the Tigers, you can expect the former Manchester United product to become a wanted man come next summer.

Forward: Loic Remy (Newcastle)

Loic Remy snagged himself a brace in Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to Hull City. The goals came through precise positioning as Remy looks to play that classic poacher role. But really though, the Frenchman should’ve had the equalizer – and his hat-trick – when he missed a sitter in the 91st minute.

Forward: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Sergio Aguero makes goalscoring an art. His opener on Sunday showed fantastic positioning, technique, concentration and balance. His second was testament to how well the Argentine reads the game. Aguero remains one of the world’s most potent finishers and will be near the top of the Premier League goalscoring list come next May.

Forward: Libor Kozak (Aston Villa) 

It took only two minutes for Libor Kozak to open his Premier League scoring account, poking home Aston Villa’s match-winner. Look for the big Czech to make an impact again next weekend as Christian Benteke’s hip injury may prevent him from taking part in the match against Manchester City.

Watch Live: Watford vs. Crystal Palace

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Crystal Palace can all but clinch Premier League safety with an away win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

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Palace’s twin tower strikers Christian Benteke and Alexander Sorloth are on the bench against the Hornets, who have captain Troy Deeney and Stefano Okaka up top.

LINEUPS

Watford: Karnezis; Mariappa, Cathcart, Kabasele, Holebas; Hughes, Capoue, Doucouré, Pereyra; Deeney, Okaka. Subs: Gomes, Britos, Femenía, Janmaat, Richarlison, Sinclair, Gray.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Loftus-Cheek, Milivojevic, Cabaye, McArthur, Townsend, Zaha. Subs: Speroni, Kelly, Wan-Bissaka, Riedewald, Lee, Benteke, Sorloth.

West Brom 2-2 Liverpool: Baggies fight back

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  • Salah equals Liverpool’s club-record of 31 PL goals in a single season
  • Liverpool unbeaten in last 10 PL games v. West Brom
  • West Brom eight points from safety 

West Bromwich Albion fought back from 2-0 down late on to draw 2-2 against Liverpool at the Hawthorns on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp‘s men threw away three points.

Liverpool led 2-0 with goals from Danny Ings and Mohamed Salah but West Brom fought back in the final 10 minutes as Jake Livermore hooked home and Salomon Rondon equalized with a header.

Despite the point West Brom are still eight points off safety with three games to go and remain bottom of the table as they can be relegated on Sunday if results for Swansea and Crystal Palace go against them. Liverpool lost ground in the race for second place with the late collapse.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool got off to a perfect start as a short corner set Mane free and his cross into the box found Georginio Wijnaldum who set up Ings to slam home his first PL goal for Liverpool since 2015. What a moment for the England international who has been through injury hell.

Soon after Salah cut inside from the right and curled an effort towards the top corner which was deflected just wide.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Ings nodded over a difficult chance, Salah sent a free kick just wide and Ings had another effort well smothered by Ben Foster, but West Brom battled their way back into the game as James McClean‘s effort across goal was almost tapped home by Jay Rodriguez.

Liverpool were just about worthy of their half time lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The second half featured a few flash points early on as Craig Dawson appeared to bring down Ings in the box but nothing was given, then Ahmed Hegazi appeared to punch Ings off the ball but referee Stuart Attwell missed the incident.

Salah then seemed to put the game beyond doubt as he finished off a through ball from substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead and take this tally to 41 for the season in all competitions.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

West Brom gave themselves hope late on as a looped ball to the back post found Rodriguez and he hooked it back in for Livermore to make it 2-1.

The Baggies then equalized as Rondon headed home to set up a wild finish, but they couldn’t grab a dramatic winner as their relegation from the Premier League is all but confirmed.

Arsenal reveal plan for Wenger’s successor

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For the first time in almost 22 years Arsenal will have to start a managerial search.

And if you believe the reports, Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has been busy on this for at least a few months with candidates lined up.

[ MORE: WENGER’S DEPARTURE 

Speaking at a press conference on Friday after Wenger’s announcement that he will step down as Arsenal’s manager at the end of the season, Gazidis revealed the qualities he and the Arsenal board are looking for in a new manager.

“Tomorrow we have to start thinking about how we move forward. We are going to take what Arsene has given us and continue the values he has instilled,” Gazidis said. “It’s going to be a condensed summer with the World Cup in the middle of it. Having clarity sooner is better. We want someone who plays progressive, exciting football that gets people interested and excited in games we play. Another significant piece is how the candidate represents the club and it must be someone who gives youth a chance.”

That’s a pretty long wish list, Ivan.

The crux of this is that Arsenal want to get this sorted quickly but it seems like they may wait until after the World Cup to see who’s available.

Joachim Loew would be the main man they would wait for, but the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Brendan Rodgers could come in soon and get started on LAW (Life After Wenger) ASAP.

Rodgers seems to tick the most boxes out of the candidates mentioned so far, with the current Celtic boss always keen to promote youngster and he has always produced exciting, attacking teams at Liverpool and Swansea in the past.

Yet Ancelotti would be a safe hire with his glut of trophies and his experience of managing huge clubs, something owner Stan Kroenke would surely favor in order to safeguard his investments. Get ready for weeks of speculation about Wenger’s successor but it appears Arsenal want to move on quickly as Gazidis has a big decision to make.

But as we saw when Sir Alex Ferguson was replaced at Manchester United, the man replacing a legendary figure such as Wenger will have a huge task to steady the ship, let alone turn Arsenal back into a top four force.

Perhaps the second manager to come in will have greater success as younger managers, and former Arsenal midfielders, Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta have been mentioned.

Watch Live: West Brom v. Liverpool

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West Bromwich Albion host Liverpool on Saturday at the Hawthorns (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Premier League’s bottom team aim to pull off another shock win to keep their faint survival hopes alive.

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The Baggies won 1-0 at Manchester United last time to delay their impending relegation as well as hand Manchester City the title and interim boss Darren Moore will want to grab another big win as the Baggies aim to try and pull off the greatest of escapes. Anything other than a win could see West Brom relegated this weekend.

As for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp‘s men have cemented their spot in the top four and will have one eye on a big week of European action.

In team news West Brom have Jonny Evans back fit and on the bench but are unchanged from the win at Man United, while Liverpool rest several players ahead of their UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg against Roma.

Andrew Robertson, Roberto Firmino, Alexander-Arnold and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all on the bench with Joe Gomez returning to the starting lineup.

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West Brom

Liverpool