VAVEL UK's Premier League Team of the Week - GW19
Photo: VAVEL UK - Daniel Orme

The dust is settling on Christmas, but is it also settling on Manchester City's title challenge?

Pep Guardiola's men suffered another defeat, this time at the hands of Leicester, as Liverpool put themselves firmly in pole position for the Premier League.

But it was performances elsewhere that really stood out. Tottenham were again in the goals whilst Everton bounced back from defeat to cruise past Burnley in emphatic fashion.

Meanwhile, Brighton held Arsenal to a draw as the Gunners dropped points again and Manchester United continued their revival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

But from these most festive of matches, who stood out individually?

Goalkeeper and defence

Mat Ryan

Had it not been for the Brighton stopper then Arsenal would have run away with the game inside the opening quarter. The Seagulls were really poor for the first part of the game and Ryan was in top form to deny Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on two separate occasions. Although the Arsenal striker did find the net he should have had a hat-trick. Ryan first denied a fantastic looping effort from the Gabonese forward before then pouncing on a shot when Aubameyang had been one-on-one with the Australian.

Adam Stenning, Brighton editor: "What a performance it was from the Australian keeper. He made a great save to deny Aubmayeng with the score at 0-0 and topped it off with an even better one-handed save to stop the Arsenal striker getting his brace. Ryan will certainly be missed as he heads off to join Australia for the Asia Cup."

Kyle Walker-Peters

The 21-year-old looked out of his depth as Ousmane Dembele rampaged past him in the Nou Camp earlier in the month. Spurs had to field the youngster against Barcelona due to injuries at right back but he's bounced back in abundance. His performance, specifically going forward against Bournemouth was terrific, claiming three assists for his troubles. He now has one more assist than Mesut Ozil does this term. Sorry Arsenal fans.

Brogan Clasper, Tottenham editor: “There were a lot of anxious Spurs fans when Walker-Peters was listed in the starting XI after his shaky game at the Nou Camp. However, the youngster silenced his doubters and put in a man of the match performance in his first Premier League start of the season.”

Yerry Mina

It's taken a while for Mina to get going in the Premier League after standing out for Colombia at the World Cup. The tall centre-back has all the attributes to become a top centre-half but as we've seen this season he has a bizarre mistake in him. He makes this team of the week for a commanding display in a thrashing against Burnley which was all started off with the defender scoring inside the opening two minutes, leaping high to head home. Mina won more duals than any other Everton player on the pitch, 24 and touched the ball on 79 occasions, more than any of his teammates.

Connor Bennett, Everton editor: "Despite a minor slip for the Burnley goal, the Colombian was imperious and dominated many of the Clarets direct balls. His opening goal set the tempo for the Blues and his joy in celebrating was clear to see. A bounce-back performance after struggling last time out."

Lucas Digne

Marco Silva raided Barcelona in the summer by bringing Andre Gomes, the aforementioned Mina, and Digne to the club. The left back's quality has never been in question and he's arguably going under the radar as one of the best signings of the season. The diminutive Frenchman is comfortable in defence and in recent weeks has been exceptional in forward areas too, scoring against Watford and assisting against Manchester City. Against Burnley, he added two goals to his tally, which included a delightful free-kick.

Connor Bennett: "The successor to Leighton Baines looks more and more like the long-time Everton left-back by the week. He was not renowned for his attacking prowess but that has come on leaps and bounds since joining the Blues. His brace was well taken and well deserved."


Romain Saiss

The Moroccan has found chances a rarity this season after standing out in Wolves' Championship-winning campaign last term. He missed just four games in the league in 2017/18 but with more performances like the one he put in against Fulham, Nuno Santo may opt to bring him back at the base of the midfield. Ruben Neves was missing but Saiss' partnership alongside Joao Moutinho showed Wolves can still play well without their talismanic midfielder. Saiss was even on hand to score a late equaliser for his side.

Will Laing, Wolves writer: "In a game that wasn’t going all Wolves’ way, he proved to be a real asset keeping talisman Aleksander Mitrovic as quiet as he could. Not only that, the Moroccan midfielder showed his work ethic right into the final minutes, putting himself in the right place at the right time to score the all-important equaliser."

Paul Pogba

The enigmatic French midfielder makes the team of the week at the second consecutive time of asking. It probably comes as no surprise to see him turn on the style under a new manager and he's played magnificently well, albeit against weaker sides in Cardiff and Huddersfield. Pogba was outstanding against the Terriers, scoring twice which included a strike typical of the man. As the ball came to him on the edge of the area he simply stroked the ball home in casual fashion to wrap up a 3-1 win.

Felipe Anderson

It can be difficult to judge whether a player like Anderson will do well in the Premier League. Similar players to him that have done well in Serie A have come over to England and failed, but he's proving to be a roaring success in East London. The Brazilian is one of the most in form players over the past month and scored twice against Southampton on Thursday night. He beat Alex McCarthy from 20 yards out and then fired home with assurance just six minutes later. Throughout December, West Ham have won 15 points, their most in a single month in Premier League history.

Alan Rzepa, West Ham editor: "Another week, another brilliant performance from the Brazilian. Two goals, two key passes and 80% passing accuracy. He's currently near the top of the scoring charts with eight, only behind Mo Salah, Aubameyang, Kane, Raheem Sterling and Richarlison."

Christian Eriksen

Are Spurs title challengers? You'd have to think so. After scoring 11 goals in their last two matches they've leapfrogged Man City into second place and sit six points off pacesetters Liverpool. One of their most influential players Bournemouth on Boxing Day during a 5-0 win for Mauricio Pochettino's men was Eriksen. He scored the opening goal with a deflected strike and also helped himself to an assist in a dominating display, playing in Harry Kane who scored Spurs' fourth of the afternoon.

Brogan Clasper: “A lot of speculation surrounds Eriksen and his future at Spurs as he enters the last 18 months of his contract. However, this does not seem to be affecting the Dane’s performances on the pitch and he continues to pull the strings of the Spurs midfield.”


Heung-min Son

Like Pogba, Son makes a second successive team of the week. The South Korean has been absolutely outstanding in the past month and has eight goals in his last ten matches in all competitions. That includes five in his last three games too. In a punishing 35 minute period for Spurs, Son scored their second goal against Bournemouth and then added their fifth and final strike following a goalmouth scramble.


A third and final Everton player in the team of the week is Brazilian Bernard who is really starting to flourish in the Premier League. Despite not bolstering impressive numbers, the tricky winger has caused a lot of problems for defences this season, no less so than against Burnley who Bernard picked up two assists against on Boxing Day. He crossed for Mina's opening goal early on and was then fouled for Digne's free-kick.

Connor Bennett: "The Brazilian has not yet flashed with consistent brilliance for Everton but his performance against Burnley showed why Marco Silva was desperate to sign him. He was key to any decent attack from the Blues but he was also industrious, tracking back and winning possession on numerous occasions during the game."

Eden Hazard

Hazard has been fantastic this season and saved one of his best displays of the campaign for the festive period as Chelsea beat Watford. The Belgian forward scored twice against the Hornets, rounding Ben Foster for his first before comfortably slotting home a spot-kick with just under an hour played.

Hazard brought up his 100th Chelsea goal during the game to become the tenth player in the Blues' history to do so. After the game, the attacker said: "I want to score more for this club and then try to be a legend like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and John Terry." Positive words for someone who has been linked with a move away in recent transfer windows.