Garth Crooks’ team of the week: Aguero, Mata, Van Dijk, James, Ings
Liverpool continued their unbeaten run with a 1-0 away win at Tottenham to go 14 points clear at the top of the table.
Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick and became the top-scoring foreign player in Premier League history as Manchester City hammered Aston Villa 6-1 at Villa Park.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's Southampton celebrated a 2-1 away victory against high-flying Leicester as Danny Ings' late goal denied Brendan Rodgers' men a third successive league win.
Marcus Rashford marked his 200th Manchester United appearance in style by scoring twice as the Red Devils easily saw off bottom-of-the-table Norwich 4-0.
At Stamford Bridge, Callum Hudson-Odoi scored his first Premier League goal as Chelsea regained their home form with a 3-0 win over Burnley.
Sheffield United, Everton and Watford also picked up three points, while Crystal Palace and Arsenal plus Wolves and Newcastle both drew 1-1.
Here's my team of the week – have a read and then select your own below.
Goalkeeper – Martin Dubravka (Newcastle)
I thought Crystal Palace's Vicente Guaita's double save in the closing minutes of their game against Arsenal was excellent. His efforts preserved a point for the Eagles, who played for almost 30 minutes facing 10 men after Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had to go for the sheer carelessness he showed in his tackle on Max Meyer.
However my goalkeeper this week is Newcastle's Martin Dubravka. The Slovakia international's performance away to Wolves was immense. He made two world-class saves; one with his feet and the other he practically pulled the ball out of the net. If you don't believe me, ask his manager Steve Bruce.
Did you know? Dubravka made two saves from shots in the six-yard area in Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Wolves.
Defenders – Fernandinho (Man City), Reece James (Chelsea), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Fernandinho: There was a wonderful moment on 49 minutes against Aston Villa when Fernandinho screamed at his fellow defenders and pointed to play the ball forward rather than square. Manchester City were cruising at 4-0 but that didn't deter the Brazil midfielder-turned-defender from lecturing his team-mates. At a time when Fernandinho could be winding down and starting to become a squad player, he's now playing in a back four and has added another two years at the top to his career.
Did you know? Fernandinho made 71 passes, had 74 touches and made one tackle in Man City's 6-1 victory against Aston Villa.
Reece James: This lad has caught my eye before and I'm not in the least bit surprised he has finally made my team. He is starting to look like the real deal. Some of you may remember me admonishing him after Chelsea's defeat against West Ham when Aaron Cresswell got the better of him. The Chelsea youngster seems to have learned a lesson from that experience and is impressive in defence and attack.
Did you know? No Chelsea player created more chances against Burnley than defender James (three – including an assist).
Virgil van Dijk: Dele Alli had roasted Joe Gomez and seemed to be bearing down on Liverpool's goal – but that was to reckon without this Dutch colossus. Van Dijk weighs up the situation and realises in order to avert the crisis he is going to have to get his shorts dirty. It's rare for the Netherlands defender to have to go to ground but the situation called for it. The tackle was beautifully timed, with the man bun still intact, the shorts slightly ruffled but no lasting damage to the image or brand. Job done. Clean sheet. Liverpool march on.
Did you know? Van Dijk made 110 successful passes against Tottenham; the most of any player this weekend.
Midfielders – Juan Mata (Man United), Bernard (Everton), Kevin de Bruyne (Man City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
Juan Mata: The ball for Marcus Rashford to score Manchester United's opening goal against a soon-to-be-ravaged Norwich City was wonderful. There are few players in the Premier League capable of delivering such a ball – but Mata is one of them. The former Spain playmaker looked up, saw what Rashford saw, and played a pass that rendered everyone in the ground – including the entire Norwich defence – as spectators. Manchester United are simply not good enough to keep a player of Mata's quality on the bench these days. When is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going to realise that?
Did you know? Mata provided two assists in a Premier League game for the first time since October 2012, also in a match against Norwich.
Bernard: This lad was only on the pitch for 72 minutes but the impact he made on Everton against a resilient Brighton side was clear. Bernard buzzed around Goodison Park like the legendary Colin Harvey used to – and he had to do it without players of the calibre of Alan Ball or Howard Kendall supporting him. That's the problem for new manager Carlo Ancelotti – Everton lack quality in midfield, Bernard apart.
Did you know? No Everton player made more passes in the opposition half (38) or created more chances (four) than Bernard against Brighton in the Toffees' 1-0 win.
Kevin de Bruyne: I must say I have struggled with my team this week. To leave out Abdoulaye Doucoure and Troy Deeney after their win at Bournemouth and two-goal Riyad Mahrez after he danced his way through the Aston Villa defence on two occasions was very difficult. But I could not bring myself to leave out Kevin de Bruyne after his assist for Gabriel Jesus. Have you ever seen a pass like it? Out of this world.
Did you know? De Bruyne notched his 13th and 14th assists of the Premier League season against Aston Villa.
Roberto Firmino: Spurs deserved something from this match but got nothing, thanks to Roberto Firmino's Exocet missile. If his left is his weaker foot, I can't imagine how sweetly he strikes the ball with his right. The Brazil international usually plays up front but his work-rate and – for such a gifted player – his surprising physicality mean he could handle a midfield role in my team. He's been in hot form since he scored the winner in the Club World Club final and, clearly, so are Liverpool, who look unstoppable at the moment.
Did you know? Firmino has scored five goals in his last six games for Liverpool in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 30 appearances for the Reds.
Forwards – Marcus Rashford (Man United), Danny Ings (Southampton), Sergio Aguero (Man City)
Marcus Rashford: The way Rashford nonchalantly took his first goal against Norwich told you all you need to know about his development. The casual manner in which he celebrated screamed ‘this is just what I do for a living' and that it was simply business as usual. I can't help but feel if Jose Mourinho was still at Old Trafford, Rashford would be playing for a club abroad or in the reserves – instead, he is now flourishing at the club he loves.
Did you know? Rashford scored twice from three shots in Manchester United's win against Norwich.
Danny Ings: The Southampton striker was a constant threat to Kasper Schmeichel and Leicester's defenders; he could have scored four goals rather than ‘only' the winner. Ings was effervescent throughout but if, as some are suggesting, he has the potential to move to a bigger club, he needs to improve his chances-to-goals ratio. Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said the win wasn't about avenging the 9-0 humiliation against the Foxes in October but about how far they had come in their development. Come off it Ralph!
Did you know? Ings was responsible for half of Saints' 10 shots on target at Leicester.
Sergio Aguero: Aguero's hat-trick against lamentable Aston Villa was further confirmation he is, without doubt, the best striker to have graced the Premier League. He will soon call it a day on these shores but I dearly hope before he leaves he will be appropriately honoured by the PFA or the Football Writers' Association. Preferably both.
Did you know? The Argentina striker netted his 12th Premier League hat-trick – the most of any player in the competition's history.
Now it's your turn
You've seen my selections this week. But who would you go for?
The Crooks of the matter
Gambling is not only legal but has been a recreational activity in the United Kingdom for over a century. But the question I would like to pose is: should sport governing bodies be recommending it? I think not.
The Football Association has sold its football rights to betting agencies via a third party, as if that was somehow providing an arm's length approach. So, since the start of last season, bookmaker Bet365 has had rights to show FA Cup ties on its website and app, with matches available to anyone who had placed a bet or put a deposit in their account in the 24 hours before kick-off.
But the point of the FA is to protect the sport and the millions of boys and girls around the country who play it – not encourage gambling. Players, managers and owners of clubs are excluded from engaging with betting companies, so why should the FA be any different?
The government allowing members of the public to gamble is one thing, but for a governing body to act in this way is entirely different. The FA has created a double standard and I find it unacceptable.
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