In Focus: The Premier League stars who lit up Matchday 36

Matthew Hill
LiveScore
Marc Cucurella scored his first Brighton goal against Manchester United on Saturday
Marc Cucurella scored his first Brighton goal against Manchester United on Saturday

Manchester City took advantage of Liverpool’s slip-up against Tottenham by thumping Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. 

While the Citizens appear to be edging closer to the title, the race for European qualification and relegation battle remain on a knife-edge.

Arsenal maintained their advantage over Spurs with victory over Leeds, while Everton followed up their stunning defeat of Chelsea with a long overdue away win at Leicester. 

LiveScore pick out our five star performers from an entertaining Matchday 36.

Marc Cucurella (Brighton)

Brighton’s 4-0 victory over hapless Manchester United will live long in the memory of Seagulls fans — and it was a special day for flying full-back Marc Cucurella.

The Spaniard made it 2-0 when arriving late to thunder home Leandro Trossard’s pull-back for his first goal in English football, prompting an emotional reaction.

Cucurella explained at full-time: "At times it has been hard to come where everything is different and you don’t speak the language well. I found the winter a bit tough.

"But my family have always been with me and this goal is for them. It was emotion — tears of happiness."

Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Jordan Pickford has been excellent for struggling Everton in recent weeks
Jordan Pickford has been excellent for struggling Everton in recent weeks

If Everton do manage to maintain their Premier League status this season, they will be indebted to their in-form No1 Jordan Pickford.

The Three Lions keeper, 28, still has his fair share of critics but has produced some truly outstanding stops in recent weeks — including a pivotal pair in the second half of Sunday’s win at Leicester.

With Frank Lampard's men protecting a precious 2-1 lead, Pickford was at full strength to claw Nampalys Mendy’s curling effort around the post before denying Harvey Barnes from point-blank range just minutes later.

Similarly inspired in the Merseysiders’ 1-0 win over Chelsea, the Sunderland-born stopper is once again showcasing his ability to deliver his very best efforts when under intense pressure and scrutiny.

Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal)

While paper talk continues to rage about Arsenal’s hunt for a marquee striker signing, Eddie Nketiah is reminding Mikel Arteta what he already has in his possession.

Still only 22, Nketiah has started the Gunners’ last five Premier League games and put Chelsea — a team he spent time with as a youngster — to the sword last month with a brilliant brace.

Goals were also on the menu here against former loan club Leeds, tackling a sluggish Illan Meslier for an easy opening strike before coolly slotting home Gabriel Martinelli’s cross to double his tally.

Regardless of whether he agrees a new deal at the Emirates, the marksman is doing his future prospects no harm with his purple patch in front of goal.

Jarrod Bowen (West Ham)

Only Mohamed Salah and Jarrod Bowen have reached double figures in both goals and assists this term
Only Mohamed Salah and Jarrod Bowen have reached double figures in both goals and assists this term

West Ham may have fallen short in their Europa League conquest last week but they boosted their chances of qualifying for next season’s competition with a convincing 4-0 win at Norwich. 

The star of the show was versatile forward Jarrod Bowen, who racked up a hat-trick of assists in a virtuoso attacking performance despite not getting on the scoresheet himself.

Bowen, 25, became only the second Premier League player this term to reach double figures for both goals and assists alongside Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

Ironically, the Reds are reportedly admirers of Bowen and he could prove a tough man for David Moyes to keep in East London this summer, with AC Milan also said to be sniffing.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Raheem Sterling has been in and out of the starting fold this term but provided a timely reminder of his importance to the league leaders against Newcastle.

Looking to pounce on Liverpool’s frustrating Saturday draw with Tottenham, City made light work of the Magpies with Sterling starting and finishing the 5-0 rout.

His opener was a composed header following Joao Cancelo’s clever nod across goal, while his second was emphatically dispatched into the top corner of Martin Dubravka’s net.

With 12 Premier League goals this term, Sterling ranks inside the division’s top 10 sharpest shooters despite making only 22 starts — it is no wonder Barcelona are monitoring his situation. 

Tags

Premier LeagueManchester CityRaheem SterlingMarc CucurellaBrighton & Hove AlbionJordan PickfordEvertonEdward NketiahArsenalJarrod BowenWest Ham United
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