Gameweek 12 was another scintillating affair in the Premier League with Liverpool squashing Man City at Anfield while Ole’s United saw off Brighton and Leicester heaped more pressure on Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
With all eyes on the clash of the top two, it didn’t disappoint with Jurgen Klopp’s men making light work of Pep Guardiola’s weakened City side. Leicester also kept up their wonderful start to the season with an impressive victory over Arsenal at the King Power Stadium, confirming the power shift in this season’s top-four race is very much real.
At the bottom, Southampton fell to another defeat, this time at the hands of Everton, while Newcastle’s goalscoring defenders got them a huge win over Bournemouth to move seven points clear of the Premier League drop zone.
Watford (finally) bagged a first win of the campaign with a solid victory over the increasingly inept Norwich at Carrow Road, while Aston Villa came out on the wrong side of their West Midlands derby with Wolves, losing 2-1 to Nuno Espirito Santo’s improving team, who are now unbeaten in seven.
A number of players put in excellent performances, so we have put them all in Squawka’s team of the week.
Goalkeeper: Ben Foster (Watford)
Foster was excellent in helping the Hornets finally bag their first win of the season (it only took them a dozen attempts), making five saves and keeping a clean-sheet against relegation rivals Norwich.
His efforts gave Watford a platform to grab a vital three points against a side fight at the wrong end of the table and moves them to within just three points of Aston Villa in 17th.
Key stat: Watford have now kept three clean sheets in their last five Premier League games. They failed to record any in their 19 games prior to Friday’s trip to Carrow Road.
Right-back: Reece James (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s exciting full-back (he can play anywhere, really) put in a top drawer performance as Frank Lampard’s side picked up another win in their bid for a top-four finish this season. His drive and power down the right was important for the Blues as they picked up another three points at the expense of London rivals Palace.
Key stat: N’Golo Kante (3) was the only Chelsea player to complete more interceptions than Reece James (2) against Crystal Palace.
Centre-back: James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Why this man is not at least in the conversation for an England recall remains a mystery as James Tarkowski is quickly becoming ‘Mr Reliable’, putting in solid performances week-in-week-out for Sean Dyche’s side.
Cut from the school of Oldham Athletic centre-backs, Tarkowski was superb in the latest Burnley win at Turf Moor which, importantly, ended a three-game losing streak for the Clarets. The 26-year-old helped his team keep another clean-sheet and moved them safely into mid-table.
Key stat: Tarkowski won more aerial duels (11) than any other player during Saturday’s clash.
Centre-back: Federico Fernandez (Newcastle)
Steve Bruce hailed his scoring defenders in his side’s win over Bournemouth but it was Federico Fernandez who really impressed at the back for the Magpies. The Argentine may not have graced the score sheet but his presence and determination helped Newcastle pick up an important win in their bid to move up the table.
Key stat: Fernandez blocked more shots (2) than any other player at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Left-back: Lucas Digne (Everton)
Digne helped Everton pick up a huge win at Southampton at the weekend following a torrid start to the 2019-20 season from the Toffees. Marco Silva has been under increasing pressure but a fighting display on the Saints saw Everton bag three vital points against their fellow strugglers.
Digne put in a dynamic performance at full-back, helping ensure that Everton ended their run of four straight defeats on the road in the top-flight.
Key stat: Lucas Digne won nine out of 11 aerial duels during Everton’s win over Southampton. He’s only 5′ 8″!
Right midfield: Adama Traoré (Wolves)
Adama Traoré was unplayable at times in the West Midlands derby between Aston Villa and Wolves. He constantly took on his man and beat him time after time. His performance was one of the reasons why Wolves picked up another win while staying unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games.
The winger bagged an assist and also won the free-kick that led to the first goal, helping the bragging rights go to those of a gold and black persuasion.
Key stat: Adama Traoré completed 10 take-ons against Aston Villa, no player has completed more in a Premier League game this season.
Centre midfield: Fabinho (Liverpool)
It may not have been the most complete Liverpool performance yet seen this season but Fabinho was excellent in the centre of the park and acted as a calming presence during a frenetic game at Anfield. The Brazilian initially struggled upon arrival at the club but has now become a key player for Klopp’s side.
His goal wasn’t bad either, drilling home from outside of the box to give Claudio Bravo little chance.
Key stat: Fabinho’s opener was Liverpool’s ninth goal from outside the penalty box in all competitions this season – more than any other Premier League side.
Centre midfield: James Maddison (Leicester)
Maddison was on the scoresheet again for the Foxes as they continued their brilliant campaign. The Englishman further enhanced his ever-growing reputation with another fantastic performance, this time against a side considered by many to be better than Leicester, on paper at least.
Rodgers‘ side quickly made people rethink that assumption with a dominant effort over a lacklustre Gunners with Maddison at the heart of a lot of the attacking play Leicester produced. That England debut seems inevitable now, given his current form and call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the fixtures against Montenegro and Kosovo.
Key stat: Maddison completed 55 success passes, more than any other midfielder in Saturday’s game at the King Power.
Left midfield: Dwight McNeil (Burnley)
Dwight McNeil put in a blinder for Burnley as they tore West Ham apart at Turf Moor. The19-year-old was a constant threat down the left-hand side and it’s clear to see why he’s started all 12 of the Clarets’ top-flight games this season.
He bagged an assist and had 58 touches of the ball in a dynamic display. He now has four assists this season and is one of just three teenagers to assist at least four goals in Europe’s top five leagues this season, alongside Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho (five) and Parma’s Dejan Kulusevski (five).
Key stat: McNeil registered his fourth Premier League assist of the season, a joint-high among English players along with Leicester‘s Harvey Barnes.
Striker: Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Anthony Martial added weight to the argument that he should be played centrally for the Red Devils. His efforts this weekend saw United put in a dominant display against a very solid Brighton side who had been threatening to take advantage of the poor form Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team find themselves in.
Despite not finding the net, his manager described his performance as ‘outstanding’ and this is reflected with his inclusion in this XI.
Key stat: Martial has been directly involved in eight goals in his last 10 starts at Old Trafford across all competitions, scoring four and providing four assists.
Striker: Chris Wood (Burnley)
Chris Wood was excellent against West Ham at the weekend. The big striker has not always impressed throughout his career but paired with Ashley Barnes, he gave the Hammers’ defence a torrid time, netting the second goal that gave Burnley some much-needed breathing space while ensuring they bounced back from a poor display against Sheffield United last weekend.
Key stat: Chris Wood has scored in all five of his Premier League games against West Ham, the best 100% scoring record against an opponent in the competition’s history.
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