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Premier League Team of the Week: Manchester United star plus Aston Villa pair make the cut

Who stood out from the latest week of action

Title chasers Manchester City continued to close in on Arsenal as the Gunners dropped points to West Ham, cutting their lead at the top to just four points ahead of the two meeting in nine days time.

Meanwhile, the race for the top four continued to heat up, with Newcastle losing to Aston Villa, only for Tottenham to lose to Bournemouth, handing both Villa and Brighton an outside shot of Champions League football next season.

Elsewhere, Wolves pulled clear of the drop zone with a hard-fought win over Brentford, but defeats for all of the bottom four has seen the gap to 15th place widen to four points.

Here’s who we picked out from another breathless weekend of action.

GK: Bernd Leno (Fulham)

Fulham had not won in six games prior to their win at Everton, but the result could have been very different if not for their goalkeeper.

Leno made an impressive six saves to keep the Toffees down to just a single goal, while his teammates wrought havoc at the other end to see him end up on the right side of a 3-1 scoreline and get the sinking Cottagers back on track.

RB: Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)

Nonetheless, Dalot offered an excellent showing and capped his performance with his first goal for the club as United turned what could have been a tricky away fixture into a routine win.

CB: John Stones (Manchester City)

The Manchester United juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down, with the Cityzens thrashing Leicester City on Saturday.

Stones opened the scoring with a peach of a volley, and continues to take to his new role under Pep Guardiola seamlessly.

Taken off at half-time no doubt with the trip to Bavaria in mind, the Englishman did enough to make this team once again in just 45 minutes.

CB: Craig Dawson (Wolves)

Wolves are in desperate need of points to steer them clear of the drop zone, but two wins on the bounce have done plenty to persuade those at Molineux that they will avoid relegation come the end of the campaign.

Keeping Brentford quiet is no mean feat, and plenty of plaudits should be heading the way of Craig Dawson, who won all eight of his duels and helped his side get a much needed three points.

LB: Alex Moreno (Aston Villa)

An inspired January addition by Unai Emery, Alex Moreno is keeping Lucas Digne out of the Aston Villa side, and with good reason.

The Spaniard terrorised the Newcastle right-flank, giving captain Kieran Trippier a tough afternoon, and capped his performance off with an assist as the Aston Villa train continued to steam on.

RM: Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)

On the verge of the England squad for Euro2020 before injury cost him a spot, Eze must be getting close in the mind of Gareth Southgate again.

The 24-year-old added another two goals against Southampton, and helped the Eagles continue to put together an impressive winning run since Roy Hodgson’s arrival.

CM: Declan Rice (West Ham United)

The sole beacon of ability in the West Ham midfield in an opening 20 minutes that Arsenal dominated, it was Rice’s tackle on Thomas Partey that bought his side a penalty, and a route back into the game.

Whether or not it was handball is another matter entirely, and the added irony that Rice may have put in a man of the match performance against his future side to cost them the title will not be lost on some.

CM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Christian Eriksen and Antony were both excellent against Nottingham Forest, but neither stood out as much as Bruno Fernandes, who appears revitalised in his new deeper role.

The Portuguese midfielder came close to a goal himself, but continued to create chance after chance for his teammates, and showed that even without key players, the Red Devils are not to be underestimated.

LM: Julio Ensico (Brighton)

Another week, another gem unearthed by Brighton grabs the headlines. At Stamford Bridge, with the score at 1-1, little known Julio Ensico produced a world-class strike from all of thirty yards out to cap off what had until then been an electric performance.

ST: Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

Dominic Solanke can consider himself very unlucky not to make this side.

But Manchester City’s goalscoring freak continues to deliver, with two goals against Leicester City taking him to 32 Premier League efforts for the season and matching Mo Salah’s Premier League record, one that he can break against Arsenal at the Etihad.

Another that lasted just 45 minutes for the Cityzens, his place in this team is verging on the set in stone this season.

ST: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

Perhaps going under the radar somewhat this season before this weekend, Watkins won’t be for much longer.

The Aston Villa attacker gave the meanest defence in the Premier League their hardest afternoon of the season, scoring twice as Unai Emery’s side put Newcastle United to the sword.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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