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Team of the Week: Arsenal and Manchester United duo lead the way as title race heats up

The Premier League continues to throw up shock results after another action packed weekend

The race for the Premier League title continued to heat up as Arsenal re-took their spot atop the Premier League after Manchester City dropped points in Nottingham.

Now two points clear with a game in hand over their nearest rivals, the Gunners look well placed to win the title, but City and Manchester United both continue to pile on the pressure from below, with the Red Devils running out comfortable 3-0 winners over Leicester City.

There was massive change at the bottom of the table too. West Ham slipped into the relegation zone, while 20th placed Southampton’s 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge saw them move closer to those above them. Everton edged out Leeds to move clear of the bottom 3, while Bournemouth picked up a narrow 1-0 win over Wolves to keep their own heads above the water.

But who starred for their respective sides? We took a look.

GK: Bernd Leno (Fulham)

There were plenty of excellent performances between the posts in the Premier League over the weekend, with both Keylor Navas and Alisson helping their sides pick up key results.

However, we’ve opted for Fulham no.1 Bernd Leno, with the German making a massive 7 saves and keeping out 1.32 expected goals during their 1-0 win over Brighton at the AMEX.

RB: Emerson Royal (Tottenham)

When Tottenham signed Pedro Porro on deadline day in January, it seemed Emerson Royal’s days as first choice right back for Spurs were over. However, the Brazilian has responded with two of his best performances for the north London side.

Against West Ham, Emerson was once again excellent for Antonio Conte’s side, impressing in both boxes and grabbing the opening goal on the way to a 2-0 win that took his side back into the top 4.

CB: Felipe (Nottingham Forest)

No one gave Nottingham Forest a hope against Manchester City, even less so when it was revealed that Joe Worrall and Felipe were the only fit central defenders available to Steve Cooper.

Despite this, they came away with a well earned point, with both defenders impressing and relying on some wastefulness on the part of Pep Guardiola’s side. Felipe won eight of his 11 duels as well as making 15 clearances. Not bad for just his second start in Forest colours.

CB: Jack Stephens (Bournemouth)

Wolves vs Bournemouth was never a game that screamed goals, and so it proved with only a single strike separating the sides come the full time whistle. With 16 clearances and three blocks, Stephens was everywhere for the relegation-threatened Cherries, and won six of his twelve duels as he helped his side keep a clean sheet, and emerge with a massive three points for his side.

LB: Seamus Coleman (Everton)

Quite why Illan Meslier was anticipating a cross when there was no Everton player in the box remains a mystery, but in another relegation six-pointer Seamus Coleman came up trumps, with the right-back scoring his first goal since the same fixture last season.

It was the icing on the cake for the veteran Irishman, who had been handed the unenviable task of marking Wifried Gnonto on the Toffees right flank. As well as keeping him quiet, Coleman popped up with the winner at the other end. All in a day’s work for the Everton captain.

CM: James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

As soon as the free-kick was awarded, it felt inevitable. James Ward-Prowse has made those scenarios his bread and butter, and even a better goalkeeper than Kepa would have been hard-pressed to keep his strike out. Now within one goal of matching David Beckham’s all-time free-kick record in the top flight, his strike set the Saints on their way to a mammoth three points.

CM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Bruno Fernandes appears to be enjoying his football once more, out of the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, and his performances are reflecting that. Attempting outside of the boot passes on a regular basis, the Portuguese midfielder was the best player on the pitch in a game where much had been made about James Maddison before the clash.

Two assists crowned an excellent outing for Fernandes, who could well have had more on another day, and with him and Rashford in their current form, it is hard to look past them at Wembley on Sunday.

CM: Jorginho (Arsenal)

Arsenal looked to be heading for a fourth straight game dropping points as they fought back to 2-2 against Aston Villa, but a strike from Jorginho changed that. Though it came back off Martinez, it was a massive moment for the Gunners, ensuring a vital three points after a tough week.

The goal was a just reward for the Italian’s performance, with Jorginho hardly putting a foot wrong for the Gunners across the game, and more than justifying Mikel Arteta’s keenness to get a deal done for him on transfer deadline day.

RW: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

In the first half it all seemed to be going wrong for Arsenal. Players were making basic mistakes and it seemed very likely that they would be making it five without a win in all competitions.

Their sole bright spark was Saka, who continues to prove himself Arsenal’s talisman this season and got his side back into the game with an excellent volley. Kicked from pillar to post on a weekly basis, the English winger remains the most threatening player for Mikel Arteta’s side, and is already closing in on 10 goals and 10 assists for the best return of his short career.

ST: Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)

It has been an up and down start to life on Merseyside for Darwin Nunez, but there are signs that he is finding his feet with Liverpool. His all-round play has never been questioned, but his strike against Newcastle United showed that he does in fact know where the back of the net is when called upon.

Should he be able to calm down, he has all the ingredients to take the Premier League by storm, something that he has shown glimpses of so far this campaign.

LW: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

Manchester United looked all at sea early on against Leicester City, but as he so often has this season, Marcus Rashford settled the Old Trafford nerves in clinical fashion.

Adding a second in the second half, there are few more in-form players in world football than the Englishman, who has now scored in seven consecutive home games for the Red Devils. Already returning his best ever goals tally for a season, he could be set for a memorable campaign at Old Trafford.


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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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