The Premier League is heating up at both ends of the table as Crystal Palace remain in a survival fight despite winning their two games to start Roy Hodgson's second tenure, while Liverpool and Arsenal played a humdinger of a draw at Anfield that allowed Manchester City to close the gap.
Palace still lie in danger all the way up in 12th and will continue to look over their shoulder with just six points separating them from the relegation zone. But their 5-1 demolition of Leeds United has given rise to their hopes since the surprise return of Roy Hodgson as manager.
At the opposite end, six points now separate Manchester City from leaders Arsenal with Pep Guardiola's side holding a game in hand and with the two teams set to meet on Apr. 26.
Using PFF grades and metrics, here is the selected XI who form this week's PFF Premier League Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal
PFF shot-stopping grade: 92.7 (position rank: 1st/20)
As the pressure in the Premier League title race was ratcheted up by the events at Anfield on Sunday, Aaron Ramsdale made sure Arsenal survived a late onslaught from Liverpool to take a point back to north London.
Should Arsenal beat Manchester City to the title, montages of their season will have the saves made by Ramsdale played over and over again as he denied a deflected shot by Mohamad Salah and kept out a chested shot from short range by Ibrahima Konaté.
All told, Ramsdale’s 92.7 shot-stopping grade is the third-highest recorded all season in the Premier League. Behind David De Gea’s sensational display for Manchester United against Bournemouth in January and Wolves’ José Sá producing six saves and a 92.8 grade in a 1-0 defeat to United a week earlier.
Right-back: Reece James, Chelsea
PFF passing grade: 88.5 (1st/50)
Frank Lampard could not arrest Chelsea’s slump into the lower half of the table in his first match back in charge of the London club, but Reece James will be at the centre of his plans as he produced a high-quality performance across multiple facets at Molineux.
In the 1-0 defeat to Wolves, James generated grades above 80.0 in passing (88.5), challenge (80.8) and ball carrying (80.1) – a feat unmatched by any other player this week.
Centre-back: Angelo Ogbonna, West Ham United
PFF Challenge grade: 90.0 (1st/49)
Angelo Ogbonna boosted West Ham’s survival hopes with a dominant display against Fulham, who struggled in the absence of the suspended Aleksandr Mitrović.
Stand-in striker Carlos Vinícius recorded a challenge win rate of just 11% on an afternoon where he went head-to-head with Ogbonna and Kurt Zouma, with the former going a perfect 100% win rate including on five aerial duels. Ogbonna also cleared the ball without error to earn a 97.7 clearance grade.
Centre-back: Ibrahima Konaté, Liverpool
PFF Challenge grade: 86.0 (4th/49)
Ibrahima Konaté handled the threat of Arsenal’s attack better than any other Liverpool defender to post the fourth-best challenge grade among centre-backs, 86.0.
The France international was particularly effective in aerial duels and 50-50 challenges, recording win rates of 80% and 83% on a combined 11 such events.
Left-back: Aaron Cresswell, West Ham United
PFF crossing grade: 86.8 (1st/31)
The West Ham full-back was a threat from set pieces with three of his four crosses completed to a teammate, which resulted in Cresswell creating three goal-scoring chances and an 86.8 cross grade. In the 21 appearances this season where Cresswell has produced a cross, he has finished in the top 5 ranking for the facet eight times.
Midfielder: Eberechi Eze, Crystal Palace
PFF passing grade: 91.6 (3rd/67)
Last week we detailed the change of role for Eze in Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge, and he continued where he left off against Leeds United as Crystal Palace carved up their relegation rivals in the second half.
Playing on the right side of a midfield three, Eze pulled the strings to capitalise on Leeds’ implosion after they conceded on the brink of half-time to a Marc Guehi goal.
Eze created three chances, the same as he did against Leicester City, on his way to a pass grade of 91.6 and a ball carry grade of 85.2 – good enough to rank second overall among midfielders.
Midfielder: Moises Caicedo, Brighton & Hove Albion
PFF passing grade: 85.4 (4th/67)
Moises Caicedo looked a picture of health after being cleared to play against Spurs having limped off with an ankle injury in the midweek win over Bournemouth.
On top of creating two chances to earn an 85.4 passing grade, Caicedo was also relatively sound as a challenger with a grade of 78.7.
Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes, Manchester United
PFF passing grade: 80.0 (10th/67)
As Manchester United await the imminent return of Christian Eriksen from a lengthy injury lay-off, Bruno Fernandes kept United’s midfield ticking along once again as coach Erik ten Hag opted to have Marcel Sabitzer play in a more advanced role and drop the Portuguese into a double pivot with Scott McTominay.
Among all players, only Brentford’s Mathias Jensen could join Fernandes for company after creating a league-high six goal-scoring chances. Jensen's pass grade of 79.2 is marginally below Fernandes’ 80.0.
Right wing: Michael Olise, Crystal Palace
PFF crossing grade: 91.1 (2nd/40)
A hat-trick of assists make Olise’s inclusion an easy one. The Crystal Palace winger tormented the Leeds defence with nine dribble attempts, second only to Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli (10), though Olise was more successful in completing 67% of his dribbles to Martinelli’s 40%.
Whether attempting to beat a defender or delivering the ball with precision, Olise was a tough threat to handle as he generated a 91.1 crossing grade and 77.6 ball carrying grade, as well as a passing grade of 81.8 – all rank top six in each facet.
Left wing: Jordan Ayew, Crystal Palace
PFF shooting grade: 86.8 (2nd/31)
As much as the performances of Eze and Olise have been a cause for renewed optimism at Crystal Palace, seeing Ayew treble his goal tally in a single afternoon can only fuel the early belief instilled by Roy Hodgson’s surprise appointment.
Ayew’s only goal of the season prior to Palace’s 5-1 thumping of Leeds at Elland Road had come on New Year’s Eve, but his two-goal display earned the Ghanaian a season-high shooting grade of 86.8 on his three attempts.
Striker: Erling Haaland, Manchester City
PFF shooting grade: 86.8 (2nd/25)
Erling Haaland heads into Manchester City’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich off the back of a two-goal performance at Southampton, which saw him post an 86.8 shot grade.
On just 12 possessions over the course of 71 minutes, Haaland was still able to score twice despite spending a grand total of 6.34 seconds on the ball as City remain in contention for a fifth Premier League title in six years.