By Benjamin Wills.
It took some extraordinary feat to stand out in a week where the buzz was all about Steven Gerrard’s final game at Anfield. From Sadio Mane’s fastest Premier League hat-trick to Leicester City securing their survival, here are the standouts from this weekend.
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart (Manchester City)
While he did concede two goals in Manchester City’s 4-2 win at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, Joe Hart pulled off a number of impressive saves to keep the Citizens ahead and ensured they left Wales with all three points, including one that could arguably be save of the season.
Federico Fernandez and Bafatimbi Gomis both had goal-bound headers brilliantly kept out by the sprawling Hart while he also superbly stopped Gomis in the first-half as well.
Right-Back: Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland)
Out of position in the OffsideRule Team of the Week, but PVA’s 90 minutes merits sticking him in this side.
Sunderland all but secured their safety with a 0-0 draw against Leicester City at the Stadium of Light and van Aanholt was key to that, with the ex-Chelsea man solid for manager and fellow Dutchman Dick Advocaat.
Centre-Back: Marc Muniesa (Stoke City)
Stoke City quietly went about their business as usual. The 0-0 draw with Burnley was a bit of a dead rubber, however the result secured ninth place for them this year in another impressive season.
Muniesa, who signed from Barcelona in 2013, was accomplished in the heart of the Potter’s back four as Stoke kept back-to-back clean sheets for the third time this season.
Left-Back: Danny Rose (Tottenham)
A perhaps bizarre new haircut from Danny Rose had Twitter talking pre-match, but by the full-time whistle he was hair-raising.
Tottenham’s marauding full-back, who has enjoyed a much better season this time around, notched his third goal of the campaign, and contributed to Spurs getting another clean sheet as they kept up the heat on Liverpool for fifth place.
Right Midfield: Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield this weekend was dominated by a certain Steven Gerrard, however when events on the pitch were eventually discussed, Bolasie was the man on everyone’s minds and mouths.
Bolasie ran the show for large sections, and set up Wilfried Zaha’s goal to put Palace in the lead just five seconds after the ex-Manchester United winger entered the fray.
Centre Midfield: Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
While it was Hart that kept City in the game, it was Yaya Toure who did the business in the other half of the pitch, notching two goals in what has been a yo-yo season for him.
Both of his goals were trademark Toure, lashing home edge-of-the-box pile-drivers which only left Lukasz Fabianski clutching at thin air just days after a perfect display at Arsenal.
Centre Midfield: Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
Manchester United stumbled to a home draw against rivals Arsenal, but Ander Herrera put in another professional outing at Old Trafford.
His goal came in the fashion it so often does, a simple shot, almost as if it was passed in with all the precision we associate Spanish midfielders with. Ironically, although his goal came against the Gunners, Herrera is very much made of Arsenal mould.
Left Midfield: Sadio Mane (Southampton)
Without a doubt the player of the weekend: Sadio Mane put in the performance of his life in Southampton’s 6-1 trouncing of Aston Villa.
Mane scored a three-minute hat-trick to break Robbie Fowler’s 21-year record for the fastest treble in Premier League history.
The Senegalese striker-cum-winger also added an assist to his name to make himself the far-away standout in a wonderful team display from the Saints.
Striker: Shane Long (Southampton)
Mane deservedly dominated Sunday’s backpages, but Shane Long added his two cents to the result of the weekend too, finishing the match with two goals and two assists.
Long’s amount of goals did not top Mane’s, but the quality of them certainly did, with the Irishman’s second being a 40-yard curler that sailed over a desperate Shay Given and in for what was then 5-0.
Striker: Graziano Pelle (Southampton)
Pelle completes the Southampton three who shone on Saturday – the former Feyernoord forward may have won Man of the Match on any other day with a goal and an assist, but despite others trumping him, his contribution should not be forgotten.
Italian stallion Pelle completed the scoring with a free header nine minutes before the end after turning provider for an earlier Long goal.
Striker: Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
A season of mediocrity for Everton has led to record signing Romelu Lukaku getting a fair amount of flak from blue noses and neutrals alike in his first full season at Goodison Park since signing permanently in the summer.
He had the assist for Leon Osman’s leveller before he scored a 90th minute winner for Roberto Martinez’s men for their sixth win in nine games.
Who would be in your team of the week?
Read more from Benjamin Wills here.