Each week we delve through the Premier League’s weekend action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.
Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League after they survived a scare at Villa Park with two late goals, while a late goal at the City Ground saw Manchester City drop points.
Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool all won their games, with Spurs moving into the top four ahead of Newcastle.
There were vital wins for Southampton, Everton and Bournemouth down at the bottom, and as ever, The Football Faithful have compiled our Premier League Team of the Week.
Things didn’t work out quite as well as would have been expected during his time at Arsenal, though Bernd Leno has done well since his move to Fulham. The German made seven saves including six from inside the box as Fulham kept a clean sheet against a fellow high-flying Brighton side.
The shutout was the basis for Manor Solomon to snatch an 88th minute winner as the West London club climbed above the Seagulls into sixth in the Premier League.
After losing in the Merseyside derby earlier this week, Everton bounced back with a vital 1-0 win over fellow relegation-threatened side, Leeds.
Goals have been an issue for the Toffees this season, though there will have been few punters to have had Seamus Coleman as the first goalscorer on their coupon.
However, the Irishman galloped forward before firing a fine strike that caught Illan Meslier out from a narrow-angle, insisting afterwards that it was intended as a shot rather than a cross.
©aptain ©lutch. pic.twitter.com/BVlcT4PTTY
— Everton (@Everton) February 18, 2023
“Was there anyone in the box to cross to?” he said. “To be honest… the legs are finding it hard to get in those areas but I got in the area and I knew that maybe the keeper would have anticipated a cross so came half a yard. I could’ve hit it another 30 times and never hit it as sweet but thankfully it did.”
Aside from that, he made three tackles, won three ground duels and three aerial duels as Sean Dyche’s side bagged a clean sheet and all three points.
Southampton’s first game of the post-Nathan Jones era came up against a struggling Chelsea side, though despite the Saints bagging a potentially crucial 1-0 win, they came under plenty of second-half pressure at Stamford Bridge.
While Chelsea have been struggling for goals of late, they still enjoyed 61% possession and had 17 attempts, though struggled to break down a resiliant Southampton side.
Jan Bednarek made four tackles, blocked three shots, made two clearances and won four of his seven ground duels as Ruben Selles’ side held on for a clean sheet.
🇵🇱 Jan Bednarek vs Chelsea #SaintsFC
3 Blocked shots
0 Times dribbled past
100% Aerial duals won
67% Ground duals won
Redemption szn 🧱 pic.twitter.com/xqelpa365j
— JustSaints (@JustSaintss) February 18, 2023
The World Cup winner has been thoroughly excellent ever since his move to the Premier League, and makes Manchester United a much better side going forward and back.
Martinez made three blocks, three tackles, won five of his seven ground duels and both of his aerial duels, while also coming close to netting his second goal for the club, only to see his header come back off the bar.
Like teammate Bednarek, Romain Perraud was crucial in Southampton’s 1-0 win over Chelsea.
The Frenchman won six of his 12 duels, made six tackles, blocked one shot, and made three clearances, including one most crucially off the line to deny Raheem Sterling.
Southampton left back Romain Perraud celebrated his goal saving block like he scored. You love to see it.pic.twitter.com/bqJyEPJcNM
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) February 18, 2023
Is anyone actually surprised when they see that James Ward-Prowse has netted another superb 25-yard free-kick?
Since the 2018/19 season, Ward-Prowse has got 75% of his direct free-kicks on target, with a whopping 54.2% of his efforts finding the back of the net. Incredible numbers.
James Ward-Prowse free kicks in 'Ward-Prowse Territory'. The best in the world.
⚽️ 13 free kick goals
🎯 18/24 on target
❌ 6 blocked/missed
— Kristian (@kristianoko) February 19, 2023
Aside from his goal, the England international was a vital figure in central midfield, making four clearances, four interceptions, winning six duels, while making two key passes at the other end.
Arsenal came oh so close to it being five games in all competitions without a win, only for two goals in stoppage time to seal a 4-2 win over Aston Villa.
Odegaard laid on the assist that saw Oleksandr Zinchenko net his first goal for the club to make it 2-2, and the Norwegian was once again a creative threat in the Gunners midfield.
He played seven key passes and created two big chances at Villa Park, as Arsenal – helped by Man City’s dropped points against Nottingham Forest – moved back to the top of the Premier League.
🏆 Congratulations to Our captain Man of the match Martin Odegaard 👏❤️ pic.twitter.com/KkEHk5878s
— A (@AfcAish) February 18, 2023
The Portuguese seems to be absolutely thriving under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, taking on the responsibility of the captain’s armband as well as the team’s creative force.
Marcus Rashford may be stealing the headlines for the Red Devils at present, though Bruno Fernandes was at his brilliant best as United ran out 3-0 winners against Leicester.
Played a superb ball to set up Rashford’s first of the afternoon before then setting up Jadon Sancho for United’s third. The 28-year-old played nine key passes and created three big chances, and while he only finished the game with a 62% pass accuracy, it’s Fernandes’ high-risk, high-reward style that has seen him rack up incredible numbers since moving to England.
Bruno Fernandes’ game by numbers vs. Leicester City:
18 passes into the final third [🥇]
10 ball recoveries [🥈]
9 key passes [🥇]
8 ground duels won [🥇]
4 crosses completed [🥇]
4/5 dribbles completed [🥇]
3 big chances created [🥇]
2 assists [🥇]
Magnifico. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/f7SsTxkgsZ
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 19, 2023
Another influential performance from the England international as Arsenal ran out 4-2 winners against Aston Villa.
The 21-year-old scored a superb goal on the half-volley to make it 1-1, and was full of his usual running and energy down the right, despite being increasingly the target of some tough tackling of late given his growing influence for the Gunners.
That one felt good 🤩 pic.twitter.com/izjkXuD9fV
— Bukayo Saka (@BukayoSaka87) February 18, 2023
Newcastle United found themselves 2-0 down inside 17 minutes, and down to 10 men just five minutes later, and while many would have assumed that it was game over, Allan Saint-Maximin seemed not to have read the memo.
Despite his side being a man-light for three-quarters of the match, Newcastle number 10 was a constant threat throughout.
The 25-year-old was full of running and had seven successful dribbles, won seven of his 13 ground duels, playing two key passes and creating one big chance to earn the Player of the Match award.
👏 Player of the Match – @nufc's Allan Saint-Maximin (Newcastle rank in brackets)
3 shots (=1st)
6 touches in opp. box (=1st)
20 passes in final 3rd (1st)
9 dribbles (1st)
2 possession won in final 3rd (1st) pic.twitter.com/1yr28PMQXs
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 18, 2023
While he has not been a constant under Eddie Howe this season, he will be hoping that his showing against Liverpool will be enough to earn him a start in next weekend’s Carabao Cup final.
Another game, and another two goals for Marcus Rashford.
It’s been an incredible renaissance for a player who netted just five goals in 32 appearances last season, his poorest-ever season in professional football with several Manchester United fans questioning whether the forward could ever rediscover his best form.
Those questions have certainly been answered.
Marcus Rashford has equaled Cristiano Ronaldo's goal scoring tally for Manchester United last season when he was their top scorer.
Filling his shoes 👏 pic.twitter.com/w8Ga8FcrrK
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 19, 2023
His brace against Leicester took his tally to 24 for the campaign, two more than his best-ever scoring season, and it’s still only February, while United remain in four competitions.