Each week we delve through the Premier League’s weekend action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.
Well, what a weekend of Premier League headlines to digest. Manchester City thrashed Liverpool to emphasise the gap currently between the two sides, but Arsenal issued their own emphatic response to maintain their lead at the top.
Chelsea and Leicester parted company with Graham Potter and Brendan Rodgers respectively after damaging defeats, while there were huge wins for Newcastle, West Ham, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.
Following the weekend action, here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez – Aston Villa
Aston Villa continued their late push for European football with an impressive 2-0 win at Chelsea, securing just a second win at Stamford Bridge in 20 attempts.
Unai Emery’s side were well worth the three points, as the visitors defended brilliantly and offered threat going forward. Emi Martinez made seven saves, including six from inside the box, to record a fourth clean sheet in five games.
More clean sheets (34) in his first 100 @PremierLeague appearances for Aston Villa than any other goalkeeper.
Dibu. 👑 @EmiMartinezz1 pic.twitter.com/LFYYd83DTy
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) April 2, 2023
The goalkeeper got down well to make stops from Joao Felix and Kai Havertz and stood up strong when Mykhaylo Mudryk wasted a glorious chance one-vs-one.
Right-back: Kieran Trippier – Newcastle
As ever, an excellent outlet for Newcastle who secured a huge win over Manchester United at St James’ Park. Trippier was a constant threat down the right-hand side as he linked up well with Jacob Murphy and provided a consistent source ammunition to the front line.
The England international made four key passes and completed seven crosses, including a perfect delivery to set up Callum Wilson’s goal.
Kieran Trippier’s game by numbers vs. Manchester United:
7 crosses completed
6 long balls completed
4 key passes
2/3 ground duels won
1 big chance created
Elite output. 💫 pic.twitter.com/o985AVEuyc
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 2, 2023
It was Trippier’s sixth assist of the campaign, the most he has ever recorded in a Premier League season. No defender has more assists this season, with the 32-year-old’s latest edging Eddie Howe’s side closer to Champions League qualification.
Centre-back: Ezri Konsa – Aston Villa
Another impressive performance from Konsa who has found his form alongside Tyrone Mings during Aston Villa’s upturn in results under Unai Emery.
Konsa was almost faultless during Villa’s 2-0 win at Chelsea, as he provided a cool and assured presence alongside Mings at centre-back. He won eight ground duels, three tackles, made three clearances and recorded a pass accuracy of 92.6% as Villa shut out their hosts to keep a clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
Let’s go! Massive 3 points away from home and a clean sheet to go with it 🔥💪🏽 travelling fans amazing as always💜 #UTV pic.twitter.com/Tt5tVhvLTd
— Ezri Konsa (@EzriKonsa) April 1, 2023
Centre-back: Nayef Aguerd – West Ham
Nayef Aguerd’s first season at West Ham has been a frustrating one with injury issues, but the Moroccan was back in the side to produce a crucial moment against Southampton this weekend.
Aguerd headed home his first goal for the Hammers to lift David Moyes side out of the bottom three, as the defender rose to meet Thilo Kehrer’s free-kick and power past Gavin Bazunu.
Thrilled with this crucial win today in front of our fans ❤💪.
What an emotional moment to have scored my first goal in the Premier League at the London Stadium.
Congratulations to the whole team, and we go again on Wednesday ⚒#AlHamdoulillah#COYI ⚒ pic.twitter.com/YJLQ30sVXI
— Nayef Aguerd (@AguerdNayef) April 2, 2023
The 27-year-old remained alert defensively as West Ham ground out an important win, with his partnership with Kurt Zouma at centre-back one of promise. Keeping that duo fit and working together in tandem could be vital across the run-in.
Left-back: Nathan Ake – Manchester City
A performance that underlined how he has been City’s most consistent defender this season, as Ake again handled one of the Premier League’s toughest tests in Mohamed Salah this weekend.
The Dutch defender was not quite as comfortable as in the Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool earlier this season, but battled well against the Egyptian. His ease at centre-back or full-back – often in both positions in the same game – has been key to Guardiola’s defensive structure of late.
What a start to the weekend. Top performance 💙 @ManCity pic.twitter.com/euQL3V6n4K
— Nathan Aké (@NathanAke) April 1, 2023
He won’t command the headlines but Ake has quietly been one of City’s best players this season.
Midfield: John Stones – Manchester City
Just a phenomenally intelligent footballer.
John Stones was outstanding in Manchester City’s 4-1 win over Liverpool, as he flitted between the backline and midfield in a unique role for Pep Guardiola’s fluid side. The England defender appeared at home in a double-pivot with Rodri at the base of the midfield, receiving the ball confidently under pressure and using possession well as City controlled the game.
Stones' midfield masterclass 🤯 pic.twitter.com/MuJr2OVxcE
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 2, 2023
It was fascinating to watch Guardiola’s game-plan, as Stone proved the conduit between City’s three-man backline and midfield, floating round freely between the two positions.
Midfield: Bruno Guimaraes – Newcastle
Bruno Guimaraes stamped his authority on Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Manchester United, a result which moved the Magpies up to third and closer to Champions League football.
The Brazilian exerted control on the midfield as Newcastle dominated proceedings at St James’ Park, showcasing his full range of passing on the ball and working tenaciously without it. His burst forward and cross led to Newcastle’s opening goal, a highlight in a wonderful performance from a talent who deserves to be on the Champions League stage.
What a game, what a team and what atmosphere 🖤🤍3️⃣9️⃣ pic.twitter.com/EkdCyGRclF
— Bruno Guimarães (@brunoog97) April 2, 2023
More performances like this and he just might be next season.
Midfield: John McGinn – Aston Villa
Excellent from the first whistle, the Aston Villa midfielder was at his all-action best against Chelsea. McGinn started from the right and worked tirelessly up and down the flank, before moving inside following Boubacar Kamara’s withdrawal and Villa’s change to a back five.
The Scotland international struck the crossbar with a curling effort from the edge of the area, before he slammed home Villa’s second with a stunning effort from distance. It was a first goal in 48 club appearances for McGinn, but one well worth the wait as he raced away to celebrate with the travelling Villa contingent.
Perfection. 😍 @JMcGinn7 pic.twitter.com/csdRJNVJfm
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) April 1, 2023
McGinn was absolutely everywhere in a fine win for Villa, who leapfrogged their beaten opponents and are up to ninth.
Forward: Jack Grealish – Manchester City
Was this Jack Grealish’s best performance in a Manchester City shirt?
Grealish has found his form since the season’s restart and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck as City came from behind to thrash Liverpool and keep alive their title hopes. The winger was positive on the ball and gave Trent Alexander-Arnold a torrid time, with the Reds’ right-back unable to live with Grealish.
Super @JackGrealish caps a stunning performance by slotting our fourth goal! 💫 pic.twitter.com/eHgC0mqMu7
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 1, 2023
The England international won plaudits from Pep Guardiola with a lung-busting run back towards his own goal, as he chased back Mohamed Salah to stop a dangerous counter-attack with City trailing at that time.
Moments later, he set up Julian Alvarez’s equaliser to bring City back into the game and later got the goal his performance deserved with the host’s fourth at the Etihad. Brilliant from start to finish.
Forward: Julian Alvarez – Manchester City
No Erling Haaland, no problem.
Julian Alvarez deputised for City’s leading scorer and demonstrated that he is far more than just a simple stand-in. The forward was involved in each of the first three goals in Manchester City’s win against Liverpool, scoring the first as he turned in Jack Grealish’s cross to equalise.
.@julianalvarezzz completes a brilliant team goal! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/rkTP8cKGiO
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 1, 2023
His awareness then opened up the game in the build-up to Kevin De Bruyne’s goal, before a blocked shot from the Argentine fell to Ilkay Gundogan to convert the third. Including the Community Shield, it’s now 13 goals in 16 starts across all competitions for Alvarez who has proven to be one of the bargains of the campaign.
Forward: Gabriel Jesus – Arsenal
Back in the starting side and back in the goals to keep Arsenal on course for the title.
Jesus made his first start since the World Cup, after an injury picked up with Brazil saw him sidelined for four months. How Mikel Arteta will be glad to have the forward back fit and firing, with Jesus the decisive factor in the club’s 4-1 win over Leeds.
Fantastic free-flowing football ❤️ pic.twitter.com/puD6HySYrm
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 2, 2023
He won and converted a penalty for the opening goal of the game and added a second after the break. The Brazilian caused problems all afternoon for Leeds and should have had a hat-trick after missing a headed chance. His return could prove pivotal as Arsenal look to maintain their nerve across the run-in.
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