The latest weekend of Premier League action saw the champions bounce back in style from last weekend’s Manchester derby defeat, a virtuoso Kevin De Bruyne display helping Pep Guardiola’s side dismantle struggling Arsenal at the Emirates.
Elsewhere, Liverpool continued their relentless run at the top as Leicester slipped, whilst Bournemouth caused the shock of the weekend by beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to end their five-game losing run.
It’s that time of the week again when we compile a dream XI of the weekend’s best talents, Here is the Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week…
Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale – Bournemouth
Bournemouth brought a run of five consecutive defeats to an end with the surprise result of the weekend, Dan Gosling’s late goal securing a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
It was a much needed three points after a series of poor performances from Eddie Howe’s side, and they had young goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to thank for his role in earning a vital victory.
The 21-year-old made a series of saves throughout the clash, none more important than point-blank stops from Mason Mount and Emerson Palmieri to preserve his side’s clean sheet.
Bournemouth players embrace each other. What a monumental effort. Defensively outstanding, Aaron Ramsdale phenomenal in goal with three crucial saves. Absolutely massive result.
Chelsea 0-1 Bournemouth #afcb
— Peter Rutzler (@peterrutzler) December 14, 2019
Right-back: George Baldock
Sheffield United continue to demonstrate that the team is much greater than the sum of its parts, and full-back Baldock was once again impressive down the right-flank for Chris Wilder’s side as they made it back-to-back wins against Aston Villa at Bramhall Lane.
The 26-year-old could not quite provide his match-winning turn of last week, though his relentless drive down the right-hand side provided the Blades with a constant outlet.
Centre-back: Fernandinho – Manchester City
Manchester City returned to winning ways in style with a comfortable victory at Arsenal, and whilst Kevin De Bruyne was the star of the show, Fernandinho was once again an understated but vital presence in the champion’s backline.
Calm and composed, the Brazilian nullified the threat of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang superbly and continues to be the key figure in City’s depleted defence.
Centre-back: Chris Mepham – Bournemouth
The Welsh international has had to be patient for his chance at Bournemouth this season, though delivered his best performance of the season so far to help his side to a shock win at Chelsea.
The 22-year-old withstood everything that the hosts could throw at him at Stamford Bridge, containing the in-form Tammy Abraham in style and excelling alongside Simon Francis in the absence of both Nathan Ake and Steve Cook.
Bournemouth’s injury hit side secured a precious three points to end their losing streak, and Mepham was at the heart of it.
Left-back: Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham
Tottenham rode their luck to snatch a late victory over Wolves on Sunday, finding themselves under pressure for much of the contest before finding a last minute winner.
Vertonghen has been utilised at left-back recently and was at full-back once again this weekend, dealing admirably with the threat posed by the relentless runs of Adama Traore.
The Belgian was perhaps guilty of giving the Wolves winger too much room to fire the equaliser, though earned his redemption by heading home Christian Eriksen’s late corner to seal the victory.
Vertonghen still has plenty to offer at 32-years-old, and Spurs will want to seal a new contract for the long-serving defender sooner rather than later.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 15, 2019
Midfield: Jefferson Lerma – Bournemouth
Full of desire and tenacity, Lerma epitomised Bournemouth’s performance as they battled to victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The combative Colombian was at the heart of the action for Eddie Howe’s side, with no player for the Cherries having more touches or recovering possession more times than the 25-year-old.
Lerma ran himself into the ground for the cause as Bournemouth secured a vital win, ending a poor run of results to move away from the relegation places.
Midfield: John Fleck – Sheffield United
Four goals in his last four appearances at Bramhall Lane for the midfielder, Fleck hitting a second-half double as Sheffield United secured back-to-back wins with a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.
The Blades continue to punch above their weight and sit seventh in the Premier League following the weekend’s fixtures, Fleck a vital cog in a well-oiled machine running under the stewardship of Chris Wilder.
Fleck arrives into the box well and has reaped his rewards in recent weeks, proving the match-winner with a well taken brace this weekend.
4 – John Fleck has scored four goals in his last four league games at Bramall Lane, more than he had in his previous 73 home league games (3). Patch. #SHUAST
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 14, 2019
Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
No player has featured more regularly in this feature than De Bruyne this season, and with good reason.
When Kevin De Bruyne is on this sort of form, there are few players in world football capable of living with the Belgian international. It took just a quarter of an hour for the midfielder to take the game away from Arsenal, finishing expertly to open the scoring after just two minutes before turning provider for Raheem Sterling to double City’s advantage.
He had his second and the champion’s third before half-time with another fine finish, capping an individual display of the finest quality and could have had a hat-trick after also hitting the post.
Arguably the best player in the division, the 28-year-old now has 16 goal involvements in 16 Premier League appearances this season (6 goals, 10 assists).
This is Kevin De Bruyne's world and we're just living it.
What a 45 minutes. 💥 pic.twitter.com/T1I1F6ZY2Y
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 15, 2019
Forward: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Is Mohamed Salah returning to his very best?
The Egyptian has enjoyed a solid if unspectacular start to the season, but in his past few appearances has looked somewhat close to the player who smashed the Premier League goals record in that memorable debut campaign at Anfield.
Goals against Bournemouth and Red Bull Salzburg were followed by a clinical brace to beat Watford at Anfield, both taken in smart fashion with his weaker right foot. The first was a sensational finish after cutting inside, before a brilliantly improvised flicked second secured the three points late on.
Liverpool have raced clear into a ten point lead at the top of the Premier League, and Salah beginning to click into top gear is an ominous sign to their nearest challengers.
— Liverpool FC USA (@LFCUSA) December 15, 2019
Forward: Michail Antonio – West Ham
West Ham have struggled of late, but Antonio’s reintroduction to the side in recent weeks has given Manuel Pellegrini’s outfit a new dimension, with the 29-year-old the stand-out player during a much needed victory at Southampton this weekend.
Quick, strong and direct, the Saints defence had no answer for Antonio at St Mary’s, the forward coming back to haunt his former side in a display full of energy and dynamism.
Pellegrini will hope Antonio can now provide the support to the often isolated Sebastien Haller over the coming weeks, the duo a potential partnership that could guide the club away from trouble.
— Banter FC (@BanterFC5) December 14, 2019
Forward: Dominic Calvert-Lewin
It’s a second successive inclusion in our Team of the Week for the Everton forward, who seems to have a new lease of life under interim manager Duncan Ferguson.
Ferguson will have liked what he has seen from the 22-year-old in his opening performances in charge, the youngster leading the line in impressive style to earn results against both Chelsea and Manchester United.
Against the latter this weekend he was a constant menace, harrying and hassling the United backline and whilst fortuitous to see his part in Everton’s goal overlooked by VAR, was deservedly on the right side of a positive result for his side.