Star turns: Seven Premier League players who shone this weekend

After early season hope of a competitive title race it appears to be advantage Manchester City, the league leaders enhancing their status as title favourites with a symbolic thrashing of defending champions Liverpool this weekend.

Thomas Tuchel remains unbeaten as Chelsea manager following a hard-fought win at Sheffield United, though there was less positive news for Manchester United and Leicester who were both held to frustrating draws.

Elsewhere the bottom three continue to struggle with a gap emerging between the Premier League’s relegation places and those just above, though it’s more more congested further forward with just five points separating ninth-placed Aston Villa and the Champions League places.

As the dust settles on another round of thrilling action, we’ve picked out some of the league’s leading performers, here are seven Premier League players who shone this weekend:

Phil Foden

Manchester City enjoyed a weekend to savour as the league leaders menacingly moved further clear at the top of the division, ruthlessly exposing the defending champions to secure a first win at Liverpool in almost two decades.

At the centre of a stunning 4-1 victory was a home-grown talent whose vast potential has been carefully nurtured by Pep Guardiola in recent seasons, the benefit of which was seen with a match-winning display that showed Phil Foden is a key figure for the here and now.

Foden started as a false nine and grew into the contest in the second half, a captivating young footballer who glides past challenges and twists and turns with irresistible technique and talent.

The 20-year-old played a major part as City took the game away from the champions after the break, his shot spilled into the path of Ilkay Gundogan for the game’s opening goal before a surging run into the penalty box saw him ghost past Jordan Henderson and turn provider for the same player.

The best was yet to come, however, as he sealed a magnificent victory with a goal straight out of the top-drawer, feinting one way before jinking inside and lashing an unstoppable effort high beyond Alisson.

It was a moment of magic and a reminder of the quality possessed in the Stockport-born academy graduate, a player who dreamed of representing City and who is fulfilling those ambitions and then some.

Foden’s impact extended his incredible record to 13 goal involvements in just 10 appearances against the Premier League’s ‘big six’, the youngster taking a starring role this season after waiting patiently for his opportunity in recent campaigns.

There can be little disputing his status as a guaranteed starter given his showing on Merseyside this weekend, though fans should trust that England’s brightest talent remains in good hands under Guardiola.

Allan Saint-Maximin

The fun-factor is back at Newcastle with the return of Allan Saint-Maximin to the side, and how the Magpies have missed the fleet-footed wing wizardry of their brilliant number 10.

Saint Maximin has endured a frustrating campaign to date and has made just nine league starts amid injury and illness, though made his first start since November against Southampton this weekend and sparkled in an important victory.

The 23-year-old’s style has a transformative impact on a Newcastle side who have produced some truly uninspiring and unambitious displays this season, his electric pace and dribbling ability making him the perfect out ball for an often conservative side.

Those regular watchers of the St James’ Park outfit have been treated to some drab displays but in Saint-Maximin they have a player who provides both hope and entertainment, the Frenchman scintillating against Southampton to finish with two assists.

The winger was full of running throughout and looked the most likely to make things happen, his fancy footwork mixed with end product as he provided a clever cut-back for Joe Willock’s opener before finding Miguel Almiron in space.

Arguably the worst watch in the Premier League are a different spectacle entirely with him in the side and Steve Bruce is well aware of the threat Saint-Maximin can pose, the prospect of the winger and impressive Almiron working in tandem behind leading scorer Callum Wilson an exciting one at long last.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Everton maintained their hopes of a top four finish with a spirited comeback to snatch a point at Manchester United, their stoppage-time goal coming from a familiar source as Dominic Calvert-Lewin netted his 13th league goal of the campaign.

Calvert-Lewin has made notable strides this season and his last-gasp equaliser saw the forward match his Premier League haul from the entirety of last season, the 23-year-old strengthening his claim for a place in the England squad ahead of this summer’s European Championships.

Calvert-Lewin proved more than a handful for the Red Devils’ backline throughout with his hard running and physicality, getting in behind the defence to create Everton’s first goal as the Toffees fought back from two goals down.

The England international then had the composure and quality to secure his side a point with virtually the last kick of the game, finding space inside a crowded penalty area and taking a touch before a calm finish beyond David de Gea.

Carlo Ancelotti has lavished praise on the forward this season who has undoubtedly been one of the Premier League’s most improved players of the campaign, Calvert-Lewin a fine spearhead of an improving Everton side who remain firmly in the hunt for a return to Europe.

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling has endured some testing returns to Liverpool since making the decision to leave Merseyside for Manchester City, but enjoyed an afternoon to remember as Pep Guardiola’s side thrashed the champions this weekend.

The 26-year-old was made to work in the first half as Trent Alexander-Arnold continued to find space when rampaging forward from right-back, but it was Sterling who came firmly out on top of the duel between the two England teammates.

Sterling had the beating of the Reds’ right-back and he knew it, skipping past the 22-year-old and Fabinho to win the visitors a penalty that Ilkay Gundogan would miscue high over the crossbar.

That error proved only a warning, however, as Sterling again burst past Alexander-Arnold and into the Liverpool penalty area in the build-up to City’s opening goal.

Effective and electric throughout from his position on the left-hand side, Sterling got his reward for a fine individual performance by heading home a third goal for City as Guardiola’s side exposed the frailties of Liverpool’s backline to secure a statement result.

Timo Werner

Timo Werner’s debut season in the Premier League has proven difficult as a bright start faded quickly, the critics beginning to turn on the Germany international following a barren run in front of goal.

Thomas Tuchel’s appointment as Chelsea’s new head coach was viewed as a move that could bring out the best in the struggling forward, the arrival of his compatriot as Frank Lampard’s successor having so far yielded positive results for the west London side.

Chelsea maintained their unbeaten run under Tuchel with a 2-1 win at Sheffield United this weekend, and whilst there was no drought-breaking goal for Werner there were improved signs from the former RB Leipzig talisman.

Werner proved a livewire throughout the opening 45 minutes and Chelsea’s most dangerous forward player, with the 24-year-old bursting down the left before providing an assist for Mason Mount to open the scoring at Bramall Lane.

Werner’s pace was again evident as he raced clear in the second half before being fouled for a penalty, allowing Jorginho to step up and secure three points which moved Chelsea up to sixth.

The summer signing remains without a league goal since the reverse fixture with the Blades in early November, though there were encouraging signs for a player keen to play his way through a difficult spell.

Tyrone Mings

Tyrone Mings came in for criticism following his role in Aston Villa’s disappointing defeat to West Ham in midweek, but the England international responded in fine style as Villa bounced back this weekend.

Mings was at his dominant best as Dean Smith’s side secured a 1-0 victory over fellow European hopefuls Arsenal, winning his duel with Alexandre Lacazette comfortably and making a number of outstanding interventions.

The 27-year-old was a towering presence aerially and the vocal leader of the backline, his partnership with Ezri Konsa – alongside the continued excellence of Emiliano Martinez in goal – providing Villa with a solid defensive foundation.

Mings bellowed both instruction and encouragement to his side throughout and led by example with a typically committed defensive display, helping to secure Villa their 10th clean sheet in just 21 league fixtures this season.

That form, mixed with an improved array of attacking options, leaves Smith’s side ninth but just five points adrift of the Champions League places with two games in hand.

Pedro Neto

Wolves’ difficult run of form continued following a goalless draw with Leicester at Molineux, a result which extends the club’s form to just one win from their previous 10 league fixtures.

Nuno Espirito Santo will have been pleased with his injury-hit side’s showing against the Champions League chasing Foxes, however, creating the better opportunities before ultimately settling for a point.

Once more it was Pedro Neto who was central to his side’s best attacking play, the winger having been the shining light of an indifferent campaign for Wolves so far this season.

The 20-year-old tormented compatriot Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans down the left-hand side, providing one cut-back for Adama Traore following a brilliant individual run past the two Leicester defenders.

Neto was heavily involved in Wolves’ best moments and continues to catch the eye this season, the winger likely to be attracting admiring glances from bigger sides ready to prise one of the Premier League’s best young players from the Midlands.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week

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