Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace rounded out what was another thrilling weekend of Premier League action, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side climbed into the top half of the table.
There were also big wins for Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City and Sheffield United, with the Blades triumphing in a relegation six-pointer against Luton.
Manchester United continued their improved form with a gutsy 2-1 win against Aston Villa at Villa Park. Indeed, there were no stalemates across any of the 10 fixtures, with Erik ten Hag’s side one of six teams to win away from home.
The most eye-catching of which came from Arsenal, who put a sorry West Ham to the sword on Sunday afternoon with 6-0 drubbing that signaled their intent to claim a first top-flight title in two decades.
Predictably there are a healthy number of Gunners who shone but who takes the top spot in this week’s power rankings?
Gabriel scored his fourth goal of the Premier League season in Arsenal’s 6-0 win at West Ham
Scott McTominay (right) came off the bench to grab a late winner for Man United at Villa Park
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10. Harvey Elliott (new entry)
The England Under 21 international has had to make do with a substitutes role this season, starting just three of his 24 Premier League. But Elliott once again showed on Saturday why he is an incredibly important part of a Liverpool squad battling on four fronts.
The 20-year-old came on at the break in place of Trent Alexander-Arnold and helped Jurgen Klopp’s side wrestle control away from an impressive Burnley side, whose performance stood in contrast to their league position.
When he entered the fray, the game was tied at one apiece but by the end of his afternoon’s work Liverpool had earned themselves a much-needed 3-1 win.
Elliott was involved in both the goals that saw the Reds return to the Premier League summit, including a brilliant cross for Darwin Nunez that clinched the win.
Harvey Elliot was involved in both Liverpool goals after coming off the bench in the second half
9. Rasmus Hojlund (new entry)
The young Danish striker is evidence of the power of confidence. Hojlund was made to wait until Boxing Day for his first Premier League goal but now he has five in his last five.
On Sunday, the 21-year-old popped up with an archetypal striker’s finish, scoring smartly after Harry Maguire’s header had fallen to him in the six-yard area.
Since Hojlund has started scoring Manchester United are unbeaten, winning four with the only dropped points coming in a 2-2 draw against Tottenham last month.
Hojlund was not as involved at Villa Park as he has been in recent outings – his goal was the only shot he had on target. However, for his clinical display and continued goalscoring, he earns a place on the list.
Rasmus Hojlund made it five goals in as many Premier League games for Manchester United
8. Rodrigo Muniz (new entry)
Fulham signed the Brazilian forward from Flamengo ahead of the 2021-22 Championship season, with the expectation that he would challenge Mitrovic for a starting spot.
However, his first campaign left a lot to be desired before he was loaned out to Middlesbrough last term and endured an even more lacklustre 12 months.
But with the Cottagers, the 22-year-old finally looks ready to deliver to the promise of his signing, with three goals in his last two Premier League games, including a brace in the weekend’s win over Bournemouth.
Two poacher’s goals will have given everyone in west London hope that they have finally found the replacement for their old Serbian hero.
Rodrigo Muniz grabbed a brace for Fulham in their 3-1 league win against Bournemouth
7. Conor Gallagher (new entry)
Conor Gallagher waited until his return to Selhurst Park to grab his first Premier League goals of the season and they were anything but academic.
The 24-year-old’s brace helped Chelsea respond from back-to-back league defeats and perfectly highlighted his importance to Mauricio Pochettino’s team.
The England international arrived onto the scene at the most opportune moment in both instances and produced clinical one-touch finishes which gave Dean Henderson no chance in the Eagles’ net.
Gallagher also boasted an 86 per cent passing accuracy, two interceptions and three key passes from his evening’s work.
Conor Gallagher’s second-half brace ensured that Chelsea returned to the top half of the table
6. Andre Onana (new entry)
Andre Onana might actually be a decent goalkeeper. Well, that’s at least what he’s been showing in recent weeks. Evidence prior to that was not particularly kind on the Cameroonian.
The former Inter Milan stopper has had more than a couple high profile errors this term but he appears to have sorted a few things out as the Red Devils have crafted a good run of results.
Onana has the third highest number of saves in the division this term and the third-highest save percentage, behind only Alphonse Areola and Alisson Becker.
Against Villa, he added eight to his tally of denials and had an xG prevented of 1.56. His often lauded quality – ball playing – took a back seat as he thwarted Unai Emery’s team at crucial moments of the win.
Andre Onana made eight saves on Sunday night as Man United claimed an impressive win against Aston Villa
5. Bruno Guimaraes (new entry)
Guimaraes might have made it onto the power rankings on the quality of his goals alone. His first against Nottingham Forest was an audacious volley with the outside of his boot, albeit from close range.
Still, it required the technique many, even at the top level, would struggle to find. The Brazilian’s second was a much more straightforward attempt that was created with the poise and composure we have come to expect from the former Lyon midfielder.
Goals aside, Guimaraes was a major factor in the win for Eddie Howe’s side at the City Ground. He completed 42 of his 48 passes, won six of his nine ground duals and also chipped in with a vital block.
That’s now four goal involvements in four games for the 26-year-old, having registered three in his previous 20.
Bruno Guimaraes has more goal contributions in his last four games than he had in his previous 20
4. Martin Odegaard (new entry)
Arsenal have returned from the winter break with a point to prove. Four games played, four wins, 16 goals scored and Odegaard has been at the centre of much of their good work.
On Sunday he provided two assists in the Hammers’ hammering, enjoying 123 touches and completing an otherworldly 109 of his 115 passes.
The Gunners skipper also produced seven key passes, won all three of his ground duels and even had a successful dribble in there for good measure.
With a performance like that, surely he was the best player on the pitch at the London Stadium, right? Right?
Matin Odegaard had 123 touches against West Ham and completed 109 of his 115 passes
3. Erling Haaland (new entry)
Erling Haaland’s previous two outings after returning from injury raised the admittedly ludicrous possibility that he might not be the same player. Though, those prediction were in hope from City’s Premier League rivals rather than any concrete evidence.
Saturday’s display put paid to all of that. Especially his second goal, in which he shrugged off the equally sizeable and highly-touted Jarrad Branthwaite before calmly sliding his shot past Jordan Pickford.
The Norwegian had been out of action for over a month but was still able to return as the league’s leading scorer. He added a couple of goals distance between himself and Mohamed Salah to give him 16 in 18 Premier League appearances.
Erling Haaland scored his first Premier League goals since City’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool in November
2. Declan Rice (new entry)
Declan Rice has had to endure two defeats to his former club since moving to Arsenal, a fact compounded by his worst performance for the north Londoners which came in the 2-0 defeat to the Hammers in December.
All niceties were gone on Sunday, well, aside from his decision not to celebrate his goal, as Rice absolutely dominated the game at the London Stadium.
His delivery from a set-piece is often overlooked amid his multitude of other qualities. But on the weekend he laid on two exquisite deliveries before scoring a stunner to twist the knife into his former side.
Add to that his four key passes, 93 per cent passing accuracy and two big chances created and you have a supreme display from one of the best midfielders on the planet.
Declan Rice registered two assists and a goal against his former club West Ham on Sunday
1. Bukayo Saka (new entry)
No one was more thankful for Arsenal’s short hiatus than Saka, who looked like he had been running on empty for weeks ahead of the break.
Since returning, Saka has four goals and one assists in four games, with his performance against David Moyes’s side the pick of his outings.
Bukayo Saka now has four goals and one assists in his last four games after returning from the winter break
The England international bagged a brace – the second coming after a trademark mazy shimmy inside before a pinpoint finish. He was successful with 50 per cent of his dribbles, completed 47 of 51 passes and also won five of his eight ground duels.
Mikel Arteta’s side are a frightening proposition when their attackers are on song and Saka is their most potent component.
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