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Premier League Team of the Week: North London stars but no room for City talent

Who starred from the latest fixtures

Arsenal continued to march towards their first Premier League title in nearly two decades with a comfortable 1-0 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, briefly opening up a five point gap at the top before Manchester City smashed past Bournemouth.

Across north London, Tottenham also eased past midtable opposition as they beat Chelsea, while Everton’s good run was ended courtesy of Aston Villa, and Leeds United picked up a vital win to throw further intrigue into the relegation battle.

In a week where four sides didn’t play, here’s who we think stood out.

GK: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

If not for an excellent save from the Aston Villa goalkeeper, the result could have been very different. As it was, the World Cup winner kept his side in the game against Everton, and allowed them to go on to pick up a comfortable 2-0 victory against the in-form Toffees.

RB: Emerson Royal (Tottenham)

It has been a Royal renaissance for the Brazilian at Tottenham, ironically ever since Spurs signed Pedro Porro to replace him in the starting XI.

Another excellent showing against Chelsea saw the defender win 4 of his six tackles and 12 of his 19 duels as Antonio Conte’s side widened the gap to 14 points over their London rivals.

CB: Gabriel (Arsenal)

The hosts managed just 0.01xG, the lowest since Premier League records began, and much of that was down to Gabriel, who was immense at the heart of Mikel Arteta’s defence. He has now played 54 consecutive Premier League games for the Gunners, and it is clear to see just how vital he is to their title charge.

CB: Eric Dier (Tottenham)

To stifle Chelsea is seemingly easy these days, with Graham Potter’s side having just one goal to show for their efforts in February, but Eric Dier stood out in particular for the Lilywhites as both a leader and defender in their comfortable win over the Blues.

The Englishman made 11 clearances and won four of his five duels, while he was also on hand to flick the ball into the path of Harry Kane for the Tottenham second goal, which essentially killed the game as a contest.

LB: Junior Firpo (Leeds United)

What a time to get your first goal for the club, and hand Leeds United a three points that could be vital in their race for Premier League survival.

Firpo has been slowly improving during his time at Elland Road since arriving from Barcelona, and could yet have a massive hand in whether or not the Yorkshire side stay up this season. If he is able to continue to turn in performances like that against Southampton, they will have a fighting chance.

CM: Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Manchester City were some way back to their imperious best against a pathetic Bournemouth side, and so too was midfielder Phil Foden.

Having been in and out of the side in recent months, in Kevin De Bruyne’s absence the youngster stepped up for his side, grabbing a goal and an assist for his efforts and keeping the Cityzens within touching distance of Arsenal atop the Premier League.

CM: Declan Rice (West Ham)

Another player who has had his struggles this season, West Ham’s Declan Rice helped his side to a 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest, combining his usual tenacious midfield efforts with an excellent curling finish to put the game to bed.

Though he is widely expected to leave West Ham this summer, the current Irons captain remains desperate to keep his side from relegation before he leaves, and that shows every week.

CM: Ruben Neves (Wolves)

Always linked with a move away from Wolves without having managed to land a transfer away, Neves still looks a little out of place amid the players the club have assembled around him.

Amid the meagre options from the weekend, the Portuguese midfielder stood out like a sore thumb against Fulham, even as his side only grabbed a point from the game.

RW: Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

His strike against Everton from the spot made it five games in a row with a goal for the Englishman, and despite mixed results for his side Watkins is in some of the best form of his Villa career at the moment.

In a game that could have gone either way, however, his penalty set Villa away on a path to victory, and eased any relegation nerves in the process.

ST: Danny Ings (West Ham)

West Ham have not had much luck in recent seasons with strikers, and Gianluca Scamacca has hardly set the world alight since his summer move either. However, Premier League veteran Danny Ings’ arrival in January could just have tilted the survival scales in Moyes’ favours.

Two goals at the weekend, helping them to a massive three points aginst Nottingham Forest, proved just how valuable he can be if he stays fit.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)

It has been a tough period for Gabriel Martinelli in the absence of compatriot Gabriel Jesus, but the addition of Leandro Trossard at striker for Arsenal helped him no end.

Returning to something like his most impressive form against Leicester City, he got a well-deserved goal and had an assist chalked off for offside. Though it wasn’t a pretty win, it was a vital one in the context of the title race.

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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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