In Focus: The Premier League stars who lit up Matchday 18

Cian Cheesbrough
LiveScore
Joao Cancelo put in another outstanding display for Manchester City
Joao Cancelo put in another outstanding display for Manchester City

Coronavirus limited the weekend’s Premier League schedule to just four games but there was still plenty of drama with 13 goals scored across those clashes.

Arsenal put depleted Leeds to the sword before Manchester City did similar to Newcastle, Chelsea were held by Wolves and Tottenham and Liverpool played out a thrilling encounter.

Read on as we pick out the standout stars of Matchday 18.

Gabriel Martinelli

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s recent issues mean Arsenal are looking for a new main man — and Gabriel Martinelli is showing all the attributes to be just that.

The Brazilian was in sublime form with two impressive first-half goals as the Gunners showed no sympathy for Leeds’ current injury crisis.

The 20-year-old set his side on their way with a well-taken side-footed effort before racing on to Granit Xhaka’s through ball to coolly chip Illan Meslier for his and Arsenal's second.

They were two finishes the Gunners' former captain would have been proud of and outlined Martinelli's credentials to be a Premier League star.

When asked of the whizkid's potential, manager Mikel Arteta said: "Huge. That's why you have to prepare a player. You can't throw in a player when you think he's not ready.

"Gabi has made the right steps and is evolving in the right direction. He has huge potential and I don't know where the ceiling is. He has so much still to improve."

Gabriel Martinelli showed he may be the man to fill Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's shoes against Leeds
Gabriel Martinelli showed he may be the man to fill Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's shoes against Leeds

Joao Cancelo

It was a similarly ruthless display by league leaders City as they breezed past relegation-threatened Newcastle.

There were four different goalscorers in the rout but Joao Cancelo’s effort was the pick of the bunch. 

After his spectacular touch set up Ruben Dias for the opener, the Portuguese full-back drifted infield in typical style before unleashing a stunning strike which flew past Martin Dubravka.

It was yet another performance that showed Cancelo to be one of the Premier League’s most potent attackers despite being a defender by trade.

The 27-year-old has emerged from the periphery as a key cog in Pep Guardiola’s machine.

Raheem Sterling

Similar has been said of Raheem Sterling for much of Guardiola’s reign but his City future looked in serious doubt after he saw limited minutes earlier this season.

Jack Grealish’s £100million arrival looked set to push the England star out of the team but Sterling has shown his worth with three goals in as many Premier League appearances.

Jamie Carragher has admitted that he "can’t understand" why City paid that sum of money for Grealish when they had his Three Lions team-mate all along — and the speedster's display on Tyneside added weight to that viewpoint.

He was a constant menace throughout and topped off his display by being in the perfect position to tap home City's fourth late on.

Sterling has always made it clear that he needs to be somewhere where he is playing regularly and he will be doing just that at the Etihad if he continues with his current run of form.

Raheem Sterling showed his worth once again by scoring his third goal in as many Manchester City appearances
Raheem Sterling showed his worth once again by scoring his third goal in as many Manchester City appearances

Diogo Jota

If Spurs against Liverpool is to be the final Premier League game for a while as coronavirus continues to cause problems, then it has bowed out in some style.

The clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium served up a frenetic display of attacking football and Diogo Jota was at the heart of the Reds’ contribution to that.

On an unusually quiet day for star man Mohamed Salah, Jota stepped up once again by drawing Liverpool level with a fine guided header back across goal.

The Portuguese can count himself unlucky to not win a penalty as well after being brought down by a clumsy challenge from Emerson Royal — one of the incidents which left Jurgen Klopp furious with referee Paul Tierney at full-time.

While he is often seen as the ideal understudy to Liverpool’s front three, 11 Premier League goals this season suggest Jota may now be one of Klopp's main acts.

Harry Winks

Harry Winks was a standout performer during Tottenham's impressive display against Liverpool
Harry Winks was a standout performer during Tottenham's impressive display against Liverpool

Games that get the adrenaline pumping are commonplace for Liverpool and Tottenham more than matched that intensity in arguably their best performance under Antonio Conte.

No one summed up that effort more than Harry Winks, who silenced many doubters during an unlikely start in the centre of the hosts midfield.

His sliding challenge won Spurs the ball to allow Harry Kane to score the opener and his through ball set up Heung-Min Son for their second.

But it was his all-round display which earned him the man-of-the-match award from Spurs fans.

The much-maligned midfielder made four interceptions and completed 61 passes as he thwarted several Liverpool attacks before quickly setting his side away on the counter.

The 25-year-old has been linked with a move away in January in search of first-team football but Sunday's display suggests Conte yet could still unlock Winks' potential at his boyhood club.

Tags

Premier LeagueArsenalManchester CityLiverpoolTottenham HotspurJoao CanceloMartinelliRaheem SterlingDiogo JotaHarry Winks
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