It’s been another weekend of thrilling Premier League football and following the latest action we’ve once again delved through the fixtures to compile our divisional Team of the Week.
There was a demolition derby as Manchester City thrashed Manchester United at the Etihad, the league leaders producing a superb performance to emphasise the gulf between them and their cross-town rivals.
Liverpool remained within touching distance of the top after beating West Ham, whilst Arsenal moved into the top four after winning at Watford.
Elsewhere Newcastle’s momentum continued, Jesse Marsch’s first game as Leeds manager ended in defeat, and Brentford won a crucial relegation six-pointer at struggling Norwich.
Following the latest fixtures we’ve compiled a best XI from the stand-out performers, here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel – Leicester
Kasper Schmeichel produced a captain’s performance for Leicester against Leeds, as the home side secured a hard-fought 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium.
The Denmark international made an excellent save in the opening exchanges with his feet and stood strong as the pressure from Leeds mounted, making four saves and four claims from crosses to ensure the Foxes secured a clean sheet.
Kasper Schmeichel's game by numbers vs. Leeds:
100% aerial duels won
12 ball recoveries
6 long passes completed
4 crosses caught
3 possessions won in the defensive third
4 massive saves to keep Leeds at bay. 💪 pic.twitter.com/MLAXHrHjOf
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 5, 2022
It was an impressive performance from the 35-year-old on his 461st appearance for Leicester, a number which moves Schmeichel into third on the club’s all-time list for appearances.
Right-back: Reece James – Chelsea
How Chelsea have missed Reece James during his two-month absence from the side, the right-back returning with a brilliant performance in the club’s 4-0 win at Burnley.
James was the stand-out as four second-half goals secured a convincing win for Chelsea, breaking the deadlock with a fine finish inside the opening two minutes of the second period, before turning provider for Kai Havertz to double the advantage.
Reece James has more goals than any other defender in the Premier League this season 💪 pic.twitter.com/ZrC0v2OvJJ
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) March 5, 2022
James has now provided 11 goal involvements (5G, 6A) in just 15 league starts this season and the 22-year-old appears to be getting more and more effective for Thomas Tuchel and his side.
Centre-back: Joachim Andersen – Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have enjoyed an impressive first season under Patrick Vieira, though the Eagles have not always taken the results their performances have perhaps deserved.
Vieira’s side produced one of their best showings of the season to win 2-0 at Wolves this weekend, however, with Joachim Andersen central to a strong defensive display at Molineux.
The Dane dominated the Palace penalty box and marshalled the backline brilliantly, his alertness to danger contributing to a fine win for the visitors and putting a huge dent in Wolves’ hopes of European football.
Centre-back: Fabian Schar – Newcastle
Newcastle’s renaissance continued with a fifth win in six league fixtures, a 2-1 win over Brighton extending the Magpies’ unbeaten run to eight games in the Premier League.
Eddie Howe’s side raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening 14 minutes, with Fabian Schar doubling his side’s advantage with his first goal of the season.
Schar’s header from Ryan Fraser’s free-kick was the highlight of another showing in which the Swiss centre-back was strong defensively, his partnership with Dan Burn having shown encouraging signs during Newcastle’s climb away from the relegation places with three clean sheets from their four fixtures in tandem.
Left-back: Joao Cancelo – Manchester City
As ever a threat when venturing forward from his nominal role as Manchester City’s left-back, the Portugal international combined with Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden as the champions exploited a weakness down the Manchester United right.
Cancelo’s best work came offensively, but he also made an important late challenge on Anthony Elanga as the Red Devils’ attempted to counter attack.
But for David de Gea, he would have had an unforgettable derby day goal as the Spaniard palmed away the full-back’s acrobatic late effort.
Midfield: Christian Eriksen – Brentford
Christian Eriksen’s inclusion in the starting side helped Brentford to a crucial 3-1 win at Norwich, a result which ended an eight-game winless run and moved the Bees six points clear of the Premier League’s relegation places.
Eriksen’s return was both feel-good and impressive, with the Denmark international showing glimpses of his old magic in a creative performance at the heart of the Brentford midfield.
The 30-year-old shone in a deeper role for the Bees, leading the side for touches, passes and passes into the final third, whilst his set-piece expertise led to the game’s opening goal.
Christian Eriksen's game by numbers vs. Norwich:
100% dribble success
83% pass accuracy
68 touches (most)
46 passes (most)
17 passes in the final third (=most)
8 possessions won
3 duels won
What a return to the Premier League. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/iDPoRtdAiT
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 5, 2022
The narrative surrounding Eriksen will continue to be his welcomed return to the sport after the traumatic events of last summer’s cardiac arrest, but from a sporting perspective his arrival as a free agent at Brentford could be among shrewdest signings of the season.
It could be one that ensures the Bees’ place in the Premier League for next season.
Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
The best player on the pitch as Manchester City humbled Manchester United at the Etihad, the league leaders in the mood to take both bragging rights and a six-point lead at the top of the division.
De Bruyne was outstanding in a complete midfield performance for the Premier League champions, scoring twice to make it nine league goals for the campaign.
Kevin De Bruyne has been on another level in the Premier League lately 😤 pic.twitter.com/H3q5CMC5aE
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) March 6, 2022
The Belgium international added an assist for Riyad Mahrez in a display which devastated the Red Devils, the visitor’s midfield unable to cope with De Bruyne’s passing range and drives from deep.
De Bruyne and Mahrez became the fourth and fifth City players to score braces against their cross-town rivals in a home Premier League fixture, following Niall Quinn (1993), Shaun Goater (2002) and Sergio Aguero (2013).
Right-wing: Bukayo Saka – Arsenal
Sensational during the opening exchanges of Arsenal’s 3-2 win at Watford, creating one and scoring another as the Gunners climbed into the Premier League’s top four.
Saka combined brilliantly with Martin Odegaard to provide the assist for the Norwegian’s opener, before lashing home a stunning second after robbing Tom Cleverley of possession in the build-up.
Bukayo Saka (13) has the most league goals and assists of any U21 player in the Premier League 🌟 pic.twitter.com/1VQeFu7r3h
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 6, 2022
Hassane Kamara had a torrid time bidding to keep pace with the England international throughout as Saka reemphasised his status as one of the Premier League’s most exciting young talents.
Left-wing: Philippe Coutinho – Aston Villa
Philippe Coutinho was back to his brilliant best this weekend and once again one of the Premier League’s most watchable footballers, the Brazilian at the centre of Aston Villa’s 4-0 thrashing of Southampton.
Southampton had arrived at Villa Park as one of the in-form teams in the Premier League, but the Saints saw their five-game unbeaten run ended in emphatic fashion with Coutinho the star of the show.
Enjoy the best of Philippe Coutinho v Southampton! 😍 pic.twitter.com/3eTEwtYCAh
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) March 6, 2022
The 29-year-old excelled in pockets of space behind Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings, receiving the ball on the half-turn and tormenting Southampton with jinking runs and wonderful passes between the lines.
He could – and perhaps should – have helped himself to a hat-trick, but a goal and assist did the damage as Coutinho proved the creative catalyst for Villa’s best performance of the season.
Forward: Ivan Toney – Brentford
Brentford’s talisman delivered when it mattered most for Thomas Frank’s side, scoring his first Premier League hat-trick to secure a vital three points at fellow strugglers Norwich.
Toney’s return to the starting side provided Brentford with a boost and the 25-year-old proved his side’s match-winner, first capitalising on some slack marking from the Canaries to turn home the opener after Kristoffer Ajer flicked on Christian Eriksen’s corner.
Ivan Toney now has 9 @premierleague goals this season
Scored 6 goals in last 5 apps in all comps
Scored 16 out of 16 penalties for @BrentfordFC
1st top division hat-trick for Brentford since Bobby Reid in 4-3 win at Liverpool in Nov 1937 pic.twitter.com/bNNCQgNdPI
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 5, 2022
Last season’s Championship Golden Boot winner then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, converting both spot-kicks with an unwavering coolness to claim the match ball at Carrow Road.
It’s now nine league goals for the season for Toney, a respectable haul for his first full season at this level and one he will hope to increase during the run-in.
Forward: Danny Ings – Aston Villa
Danny Ings’ has endured form and fitness issues during a frustrating first season at Aston Villa, but this weekend’s performance was one that raised hopes surrounding the club’s front three.
Philippe Coutinho’s craft helped bring the best from Ings and Ollie Watkins against Southampton, the fears the forwards could not combine dispelled during a brilliant attacking performance from Steven Gerrard’s side.
Clinical. 👏 pic.twitter.com/xCwWeQc32J
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) March 5, 2022
Ings ran himself into the ground for the cause and ended the game with a goal and two assists, his fine finish seeing the summer signing score his first home goal since October against his former side.
Southampton will have been all too familiar with Ings’ impressive performance, having seen the forward score 46 goals in 100 games for the club before his move to Villa Park last summer.