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Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 31

Each week we delve through the Premier League’s weekend action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.

Manchester City closed the gap on leaders Arsenal with a comfortable win over Leicester, a fixture which saw Erling Haaland reach yet another goalscoring record. City’s win capitalised on a slip from the Gunners, who blew a two-goal lead at West Ham to drop points for the second successive week.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa thrashed Newcastle as Unai Emery earned his best win to date, while Bournemouth stunned Spurs with a stoppage-time winner in north London.

Here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.

Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez – Aston Villa

Aston Villa’s outfield names will command much of the headlines after a 3-0 win over Newcastle, but Emi Martinez was outstanding once again in goal.

The World Cup winner earned his sixth clean sheet in eight league games and has now reached 10+ shutouts in a Premier League season for the third consecutive campaign.

His distribution was again excellent, while he made some important saves – including twice denying Alexander Isak – at vital times.

Right-back: Kenny Tete – Fulham

Fulham won at Everton to end their five-game winless run, with Kenny Tete – not for the first time this season – an impressive performer at right-back.

The Dutchman was a relentless runner in support of Harry Wilson ahead of him, as the duo combined to good effect to trouble Vitalii Mykolenko. Full of energy and sound defensively, he capped a fine performance with a long pass into Daniel James for his fifth assist of the Premier League season.

Centre-back: John Stones – Manchester City

John Stones needed only 45 minutes to earn inclusion in our Team of the Week, with Pep Guardiola withdrawing the defender at half-time as Manchester City cruised to a win over Leicester.

Stones showed his class once again in a roving role between defence and midfield, defending well when required and keeping a cool head when stepping effortlessly into the engine room. He opened the scoring with a stunning strike at the Etihad, lashing home his first ever top-flight goal from outside the box.

Few players in the Premier League are enjoying their football as much as the England defender right now.

Centre-back: Lewis Dunk – Brighton

Dunk led Brighton to an impressive win at Chelsea, as the Seagulls came from behind to win at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s opener came via an unfortunate deflection off Dunk, but the centre-back bounced back to produce an imperious performance at the back.

He made some crucial challenges when Chelsea threatened and was positive with his distribution from deep. It was the latest solid showing from a defender who continues to be curiously overlooked by England despite consistent performances for one of the division’s most impressive outfits.

Dunk might be 31, but his form this season warrants a chance to add to his sole cap won in 2018. There was even time for a coolly chested pass back to his goalkeeper. Does any defender do that under pressure better than Dunk?

Left-back: Alex Moreno – Aston Villa

Is there a left-back in the league outperforming Alex Moreno right now?

The Spaniard has been a revelation for Aston Villa since his arrival from Real Betis in January, with only Brighton’s Pervis Estupinan having created more open-play chances among full-backs since Moreno’s debut in the division.

A constant outlet against Newcastle, he gave Kieran Trippier a torrid time with his forward runs and registered his third Premier League assist after teeing up Ollie Watkins to make it 2-0.

An inspired addition from Emery and his recruitment team.

Midfield: Moises Caicedo – Brighton

A brilliant performance from the Brighton midfielder, who bossed the game in the Seagulls’ comeback win at Chelsea.

Caicedo recorded a pass accuracy of 92% and made a game-leading eight tackles, more than Chelsea’s midfield contingent combined. It’s easy to forget the Ecuadorian is still just 21, with this level of performance set to lead to a queue of top clubs knocking on Brighton’s door this summer.

Caicedo dominated his duels in an impressive all-action performance and on this performance would improve almost any midfield in the Premier League.

CC: Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea.

Midfield: Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United

Fernandes was at his best as Manchester United cruised to a 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest. The midfielder returned to an advanced role and was at the heart of a dominant performance for the Red Devils, creating six chances at the City Ground.

Fernandes was unfortunate not to score as Keylor Navas tipped his effort onto the crossbar, but United’s best moments ran through the Portugal international. After spending time in a deeper position of late, this was a reminder of what Fernandes can contribute with freedom further forward.

Midfield: Eberechi Eze – Crystal Palace

We suggested that Eberechi Eze might just be pushing for an England call up this week and the midfielder’s latest performance will not have gone unnoticed at St George’s Park.

Eze starred as Crystal Palace’s mini-revival continued at Southampton, scoring both goals in a 2-0 win for the Eagles at St Mary’s. His first was a poacher’s effort as he found himself in the right place at the right time, before a rifled finish into the far corner from distance.

In between there was the usual mix of tricks, flicks and applause-invoking moments, with Eze a fantastic footballer to watch in this mood. Gareth Southgate will have taken note.

Midfield: Jacob Ramsey – Aston Villa

Aston Villa are on the charge right now and Jacob Ramsey is among a number of names thriving in Unai Emery’s side.

Ramsey has shone in a role from the left of late and was a driving force in Villa’s 3-0 win over Newcastle. The 21-year-old opened the scoring with a drilled effort from Ollie Watkins’ knockdown and should have had a second after slamming against the crossbar when well placed.

Ramsey’s ability to carry the ball at pace will have impressed England manager Gareth Southgate and u21 equivalent Lee Carsley, with both in attendance at Villa Park.

Only Arsenal duo Bukayo Saka (23) and Gabriel Martinelli (20) have scored more Premier League goals among players aged 21 and under than Ramsey (10) since the start of last season.

Forward: Dominic Solake – Bournemouth

Dominic Solanke was the architect of a big win for Bournemouth, who made it three wins in five games to provide precious room between them and the bottom three. The Cherries stunned Spurs with a 3-2 win in north London, exacting revenge for their late loss to the same opposition in October.

Solanke scored one and created the other two, threading in Matias Vina for Bournemouth’s first before scoring himself with a clever lifted finish after Davinson Sanchez’s attempted clearance fell into his path.

It was Solanke’s hustle that then led to Bournemouth’s stoppage-time winner, as the forward won his duel with Pedro Porro before picking out Dango Ouattara.

A fine afternoon’s work.

Forward: Ollie Wakins – Aston Villa

Unplayable.

Watkins has been in fine form since Unai Emery’s arrival as Aston Villa manager, but this was his best performance to date as the forward terrorised the Premier League’s best defence.

Newcastle’s centre-back duo of Sven Botman and Fabian Schar could not live with Watkins, who scored twice and created another as in-form Villa thrashed the Champions League chasing Magpies.

It was a complete centre-forward performance from Watkins as he bullied the visitor’s backline, his combination of intelligent timed runs and power too much of Newcastle to handle. It’s now 14 goals and assists for Watkins since the turn of the new year. No player in the Premier League has more.

Read – Thunderbastard Kings: Five footballers with dynamite in their left pegs

Read Also – Keep your enemies closer: Five of the biggest feuds between teammates in football

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