Each week we delve through the Premier League’s weekend action and compile our divisional Team of the Week from the fixtures’ finest performances.
Arsenal continued their push for the Premier League title after a swashbuckling performance at Fulham, while Bournemouth and Everton secured vital wins in an increasingly tight dogfight down at the bottom.
Elsewhere, Newcastle and Spurs took advantage of slips from Manchester United and Liverpool to improve their top four hopes, while Chelsea continued their recent mini-revival under Graham Potter.
Following the weekend action, here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Gavin Bazunu – Southampton
Gavin Bazunu has had a challenging first season in the Premier League, but underlined his potential with a man-of-the-match performance in Southampton’s goalless draw at Manchester United.
The 21-year-old made several saves to earn his side a point at Old Trafford, producing a big right hand to palm away an effort from Marcus Rashford before getting finger-tips to deny Bruno Fernandes’ goal-bound strike.
🗣️ “You see from the performance that we put out today, we’re more than good enough to handle any performance against any team in this league.”
Gavin Bazunu on Southampton’s performance at Old Trafford today. pic.twitter.com/vAmTEFgMSx
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 12, 2023
It’s now three clean sheets in four games for the Ireland international, who has conceded just once since Ruben Selles’ appointment as manager. Still raw and learning his trade at this level, this will be a major boost of confidence for the summer signing.
Right-back: Pedro Porro – Tottenham
Pedro Porro has bounced back from a difficult debut to demonstrate his qualities at Spurs and produced his best performance for the club to date in their 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest. The right-back won five duels, made three key passes and registered his first assist for the north Londoners, as a pinpoint cross found the head of Harry Kane.
Pedro Porro = all of us 🥰 pic.twitter.com/qEBWiTpzqk
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 11, 2023
Porro had sparked life into Spurs off the bench as Antonio Conte’s side exited the Champions League in midweek and his latest contribution was a positive as the club look to ensure qualification for next season’s competition. His delivery for Kane’s goal was the sort of quality that has often been lacking from wing-back for Spurs this season.
Centre-back: Marcos Senesi – Bournemouth
A crucial presence at both ends of the pitch as Bournemouth beat Liverpool, the centre-back rose to the challenge of shutting down a Liverpool frontline that had been free-scoring against Manchester United last weekend.
Senesi barely put a foot wrong during the Cherries’ 1-0 win, a result which lifted Gary O’Neill’s side off the bottom of the Premier League table. Alert defensively and excellent in possession, he teed up Domonic Solanke with a brilliant moment after bringing down a cross and juggling possession.
The Argentine has settled well into English football and has attributes that will attract interest should Bournemouth fail in their fight for survival.
Centre-back: Michael Keane – Everton
Michael Keane appeared to be heading towards an Everton exit in January, but the arrival of Sean Dyche as manager has breathed new life into his career with the club. Dyche worked with Keane at Burnley and has brought the 30-year-old back into the Everton side, utilising the defender’s aerial prowess in recent fixtures.
Keane impressed alongside James Tarkowski as Everton beat Brentford 1-0 this weekend, their third clean sheet in seven games under Dyche and a result which saw the Toffees climb out of the bottom three.
Big shift at the back ⛔️
— Everton (@Everton) March 11, 2023
Keane came out on top in his battle with the in-form Ivan Toney, winning numerous headers and racking up the clearances. There was nothing fancy about Everton’s win, but you get the feeling that’s just how Dyche would have liked it.
Left-back: Ben Chilwell – Chelsea
Chelsea are beginning to find their feet under Graham Potter and secured a third win inside a week after beating Leicester at the King Power Stadium. Ben Chilwell continued his impressive return to action with the opening goal, scoring a brilliant volley against his former side.
Chilwell shone in a wing-back role that brings the best of his talent going forward and relished scoring against his old employers after boos from the home crowd. The England international also cleared a shot off the line in the second half, in an influential performance at both ends of the pitch.
Expertly done, Chilly! 😁 pic.twitter.com/bfgEfCXk36
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 11, 2023
Midfield: Rodri – Manchester City
Manchester City maintained the pressure on leaders Arsenal with a hard-fought win at Crystal Palace, with the champions required to be patient before a late breakthrough was found at Selhurst Park.
Rodri underlined his importance to this side with an outstanding performance as others around him performed below their best, leading the game for touches, passes, dribbles, and both possession and duels won. The Spaniard produced one of City’s best attacking moments as he forced a fine save from Vicente Guaita, before pushing his side onward in search of a winner.
Rodri’s game by numbers vs Crystal Palace:
◉ 112 touches (most)
◉ 92 passes attempted (most)
◉ 33 passes in final ⅓ (most)
◉ 16x possession won (most)
◉ 11 duels won (most)
◉ 4 dribbles completed (most)
◎ 3 tackles made
◎ 3 shots
◎ 0.2 xG
So good. pic.twitter.com/tXTvo2hyhF
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 11, 2023
Rodri might not receive the same headlines reserved for some of his teammates, but there is arguably no player more important to the functioning of Pep Guardiola’s side.
Midfield: Philip Billing – Bournemouth
Bournemouth brought Liverpool back down to earth with a crucial 1-0 win at the Vitality Stadium, a win which moved Gary O’Neill’s off the foot of the Premier League table. The Cherries had begun the weekend bottom of the division, but produced a performance that will offer encouragement to O’Neill as his team battle for survival.
At the centre of their success was Philip Billing, who followed up on scoring on of the Premier League’s fastest goals last weekend to net the decisive goal with his sixth of the season.
Billing had scored just three goals in England’s top flight before this season, but is Bournemouth’s top scorer during the current campaign and breathed new life into their survival fight after converting Dango Ouattara’s cross from close range.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 12, 2023
It was the highlight of an impressive performance from the Dane, whose powerful presence and forward running from midfield caused problems for a Liverpool engine room lacking in intensity.
Right-wing: Dango Ouattara – Bournemouth
A thorn in Liverpool’s side all game, Dango Ouattara continued his encouraging adaptation to the Premier League with a starring performance in a big win for Bournemouth.
The January arrival from Lorient was a menace to the visitor’s backline, as his electric pace posed problems for Liverpool’s high defensive line. Bournemouth looked to exploit the space vacated by Andy Robertson with passes into Ouattara and found success, with the 21-year-old the Cherries’ chief threat on the break.
Bukayo Saka (9) is the only U21 player in Europe’s top five divisions this season who has more assists than Dango Ouattara (8)! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/gckDob8PrF
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 11, 2023
Having wasted a glorious early chance after rounding Alisson, the winger kept his cool to tee up Philip Billing’s winner as he breezed past Virgil van Dijk and centred for the onrushing midfielder. It’s now three assists in seven Premier League appearances for Ouattara and 14 goal involvements in 25 games for Lorient and Bournemouth this season. An exciting talent.
Left-wing: Leandro Trossard – Arsenal
An outstanding performance from the Belgian who marked his return to the side with a hat-trick of assists in Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Fulham. It’s now five assists in five league starts for Trossard since his switch from Brighton during the winter window, as he became the first player in Premier League history to provide three assists inside the opening 45 minutes of an away fixture.
Fulham failed to get near the winger, who tormented the Cottager’s backline with fluid movement and sharp shifts of balance and poise. Trossard might have been the Plan B option after Arsenal’s failed pursuit of Mykhailo Mudryk, but has proven a brilliant addition to the club’s title challenge.
3+ – Leandro Trossard is the first player since Santi Cazorla in 2012-13 to record a hat-trick of goals and a hat-trick of assists in a single Premier League campaign.
⚽️⚽️⚽️ vs Liverpool in October
🅰️🅰️🅰️ vs Fulham today
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 12, 2023
Comfortable in a number of roles and already forming a fine understanding with the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard, Trossard’s performance this weekend ensured Arsenal restored their five-point lead at the top.
Forward: Harry Kane – Tottenham
Harry Kane struck twice against Nottingham Forest as Spurs maintained their grip on a top four place. After a difficult week which effectively confirmed another season without silverware, Spurs responded with a comfortable win to capitalise on slips from Liverpool, Manchester United and Brighton.
Kane opened the scoring with a textbook header from Pedro Porro’s cross, before slamming home an emphatic penalty after Richarlison had been brought down inside the box.
Harry Kane has now scored 20+ Premier League goals in six different seasons:
◉ 2014/15 (21)
◉ 2015/16 (25)
◉ 2016/17 (29)
◉ 2017/18 (30)
◎ 2018/19 (17)
◎ 2019/20 (18)
◉ 2020/21 (23)
◎ 2021/22 (17)
One-season-after-another wonder. pic.twitter.com/qllpNlAj5m
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 11, 2023
His second took the England captain to 20 league goals this season, the sixth time that the 29-year-old has reached that landmark in a Premier League campaign. He becomes just the third player – after Alan Shearer and Sergio Aguero – to have scored 20+ goals in six Premier League seasons and is now within five goals of Wayne Rooney as the second-highest goalscorer in the division’s history.
Forward: Alexander Isak – Newcastle
Newcastle ended their five-game winless run to get the club’s Champions League chase back on track, edging Wolves at St James’ Park.
Alexander Isak opened the scoring for the Magpies, as the record signing met Kieran Trippier’s delivery to head home. It was an excellent finish from the Swedish striker, who got across his marker to glance home into the far corner.
NEWCASTLE TAKE THE LEAD ⚫⚪
Trippier 🤝 Isak 👏 pic.twitter.com/VA3k9NMGo2
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 12, 2023
Isak’s goal was the highlight of an outstanding all-round performance from the 23-year-old, whose direct brand of football and unique blend of presence and poise caused problems for Wolves throughout.