VAVEL UK's Premier League Team of the Week - GW32
(Photo: VAVEL UK - Daniel Orme)

Liverpool once again left it late to return to the top of the Premier League table with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Anfield after champions Manchester City took apart Fulham in a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Huddersfield's fate was finally sealed after they were relegated to the Championship following a 2-0 defeat at Selhurst Park to Crystal Palace.

However, Southampton sparked some light towards their survival credentials with a vital 1-0 win against south coast rivals Brighton.

Burnley recorded a 2-0 win over Wolves on Sean Dyche's 300th match in charge of the club. Leicester won 2-0 at home to Bournemouth whilst Everton left the capital with a well earnt 2-0 victory against West Ham United.

But which players stood out on an individual level?

Goalkeeper and defence

Kasper Schmeichel

Arguably the best goalkeeper outside the top-six. It was another stellar display from the Leicester no.1. A point-blank save from Bournemouth's Callum Wilson epitomised Leicester's quality on the day and set the entire tone to ensure Brendan Rodger's third consecutive league victory.

The arrival of the former Liverpool and Celtic manager has had a vital impact on the performances of the Foxes' senior players including the outstanding Schmeichel.

The win also ensured Leicester moved joint on points in seventh with Wolves and will look to leapfrog the Midlands side with a potential European place at stake.

Daniel Orme, Leicester City editor: "Albeit not tested too often in Leicester's relatively straightforward victory over Bournemouth, the Dane's contributions were still vital. His excellent reaction save to deny Callum Wilson from close range was particularly spectacular. Schmeichel's distribution was also a potent weapon for the hosts as they launched attack after attack at the under-par Cherries."

Wes Morgan

Out of nowhere, Wes Morgan has built up an appetite for goals. The Foxes captain made it two-in-two with a deft flick past Bournemouth shot-stopper Asmir Begovic to put Leicester firmly in the driving seat.

The Premier League-winning captain has scored in consecutive league games for the first time in the 35-year-old's career and also now has three goals in his last four appearances. Morgan, under his new manager, has emerged as a solid outlet in the heart of the defence for Leicester after falling behind Harry Maguire and Johnny Evans in the pecking order under Claude Puel.

Another clean sheet under Rodgers and Jamaica international is becoming an almighty threat in the opposition box. Colossus display!

Also, it was a fitting touch that the club captain should be amongst the goals on what would have been late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's 61st birthday.

Daniel Orme, Leicester City editor: "It's been an excellent couple of weeks for veteran Foxes skipper Morgan. After netting the winner against Burnley last time out and penning a new deal at the King Power Stadium, the defender also opened the scoring against the Cherries. His flicked finish was as eye-catching as his dominant defensive performance alongside Jonny Evans in keeping the likes of Josh King and Callum Wilson quiet."

Ben Mee

Both defenders were absolutely outstanding at Turf Moor in the Claret's vital win against the high-flying Wolves. However, the skipper gets the nod over his defensive partner James Tarkowski.

Ben Mee set the tone with a number of big tackles and cleared virtually everything that was thrown in the Englishman's path.

It was the club's first win in five matches and also replicated Dyche's first ever result with the club back in 2012 and 300 games before a Connor Coady own goal and a magnificent strike from Dwight McNeil moved Burnley five clear of the drop.

Another fascinating statistic is that there is only one other Premier League player who has made more blocks Mee (38) this season and that is his countryman and fellow centre-back Tarkowski with 42.

Virgil van Dijk

The dictionary is honestly running out of words to describe the utterly imperious Virgil van Dijk. The reality is simple for Liverpool, no Van Dijk, no title challenge.

When the momentum against Spurs looked to be swinging the other way - along with the Reds title credentials - it was the Netherland's skipper who was paramount in the crucial turning point of the match.

A swift counter-attack from Spurs saw Moussa Sissoko and substitute Son Heung-Min break away at goal in a two-on-one against Van Dijk. The world's most expensive defender reiterated why he is arguably the best around in his position forcing showing calmness and composure to deny Sissoko space to make his desire pass to Son forcing the Frenchman into a shot which he blazed over the bar.

Minutes after what can only be described as quite simply beautiful defending, Liverpool went up the other end and scored to find a late winner and move one point clear of title-rivals City.


Patrick van Aanholt

When Crystal Palace needed someone to score from open play that isn't Wilfred Zaha then luckily for them they had a certain Dutch player with an apetite for goals despite playing as a full-back.

Patrick van Aanholt put the game beyond the relegation doomed Huddersfield to condemn the Terriers to their inevitable fate.

A clean strike and one final hammer blow that all but sealed the final nail in the Huddersfield coffin. A consistent performer this season for the Eagles with a keen eye for goal despite playing defence. Roy Hodgson's side looks all but safe following their 2-0 victory.

Bernardo Silva

Saturday's encounter at Craven Cottage proved to be the walk in the park for the Citizens as advertised. Fulham may as well have rolled over and allowed the champions to tickle their bellies following an utterly limp and spineless performance from a team that looks in the wrong league.

Bernardo Silva scored for the third successive match and, rather like the fixture, his goal was a complete doddle. Despite that though, the Portuguese maestro has been one of the standout players of the season and will surely be a strong contender for the PFA Player of the Season award.

Josh Slinger, Manchester City editor: "Seemingly getting better and better with every game that passes. A brilliant effort from outside the box put City into the lead, before his pressing allowed him to set up the second. When coming into the club Bernardo was playing second-string to both David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne – he now seems one of the first names on Pep Guardiola’s team-sheet."

Andre Gomes

Another stellar performance from the Barcelona loanee. Set the tone in both impressive matches against West Ham and Chelsea as Everton look to kick on and potentially finished highest outside the top-six.

His quality is undeniable and it's no wonder his international compatriot and manager Marco Silva wants to sign the Portuguese midfielder on a permanent deal in the summer.

Connor Bennett, Everton editor: The Portuguese midfielder has had a stellar season on loan at Everton, but saved his best performance, so far, in a Royal Blue shirt for the trip to West Ham. He dominated the midfield all evening long, justifying the lofty price tag that Barcelona have set on his head.

Dwight McNeil

What a week for the 19-year-old young prospect. Following a week featuring two matches for England U20's against Portugal and Poland McNeil was also invited by Gareth Southgate to train with the senior squad.

The teenager topped the week by scoring the all-important second goal that ensured Dyche's team look in a good position to stay in the division.

McNeil's second goal in successive matches meant that he has now been directly involved in seven league goals this season (three goals, four assists) - the joint-highest total of any teenager (level with Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon).

Andy Robertson

Was the standout player in arguably Liverpool's most significant result this season. The Scottish captain provided the assist for Roberto Firmino's opener and also made a crucial block to deny Christian Eriksen in the second half.

One of Liverpool's most consistent performers and is someone that should seriously be considered for individual honours come May.

Robertson's latest assist was his ninth of the season. No other defender has recorded more since in a single season since the league began. The 25-year-old and Trent Alexander-Arnold both have 17 assists between them. Staggering statistics.


Sergio Aguero

World Class. Stating the obvious, but that is the category that this man belongs in. Watch Sergio Aguero's strike against Fulham and then ask yourself whether this is something the Argentine ace just does week-in-week-out. The answer will inevitably be yes.

Aguero is deservedly one of the favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year accolade and it's disgraceful to think that Machester City's all-time top-scorer has only made the league's TOTY on one occasion.

Josh Slinger, Manchester City editor: "Has been key to City in all three of their Premier League title wins, and is doing everything he can to ensure the Blues lift the trophy again in May. Like Bernardo, City’s number 10 both scored and assisted. His goal also brilliant as he chipped the ball tremendously into the top corner past Serigo Rico – clinical as ever."

Marcus Rashford

Since Jose Mourinho's sacking, Marcus Rashford has been almost ever-present in numerous team of the week's with the youngster one of the hottest properties across Europe.

Rashford under Ole Gunnar Solskaer's tutelage as well as the support of Mike Phelan could potentially develop the forward into a truly world class striker.

The big question for United is what they do when the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid come sniffing for the goods. Since his competitive debut in 2016, Rashford has scored 45 goals in all competitions - more than any over United player.

Andy Preston, Manchester United editor: "Since his debut in February 2016, no United player has scored as many goals as Marcus Rashford in all competitions (45). Rashford has been one several beneficiaries under the early reign of Solskjaer and he was instrumental in securing three points for United, scoring the opener against Watford on the counter-attack."