Kane, Mahrez, Iwobi and Smalling star in team of the week

Young Arsenal stars, Southampton's comeback kings and key Leicester men all appear in this week's selection

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi runs with the ball at Goodison Park
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

Leicester City remain on course for the Premier League title after grinding out another narrow win, this time over Crystal Palace. However, Tottenham Hotspur remain only five points behind after a convincing win over Bournemouth on Sunday. Arsenal, in third, also won, but only stand the faintest chance of catching the Foxes as they are 11 points adrift with eight games remaining.

Manchester United's win over local rivals City knocks them out of the title race and opens up the hunt for fourth, with both clubs and West Ham United in contention for the Champions League.

At the bottom it was another disastrous weekend for Aston Villa, who lost to Swansea and are now 12 points from safety with only 21 left to play for.

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But who were the stars of the weekend's action? Here's The Week's pick of the experts picks.

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)

"Every title-winning side needs a top-class goalkeeper and it is increasingly evident that Leicester have one," says ESPN, which says Schmeichel is doing his famous family name proud. He made at least two crucial saves against Crystal Palace as he kept another clean sheet.

Defence: Federico Fernandez (Swansea City), Chris Smalling (Man United), Timm Klose (Norwich City), Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)

A goal and a clean sheet helped Swansea defender Fernandez score 15 Fantasy Premier League points this week. It was the right game to come good in, says the Daily Mail, as his performance "all but guaranteed their top flight status for another season".

Smalling's performance in the Manchester derby "proved crucial", says Harry Redknapp in the Daily Telegraph, while Goal.com notes: "The 26-year-old dealt with Sergio Aguero with relative ease throughout the game and was named as Man of the Match for his efforts."

Klose of Norwich took some time to settle into the Premier League but "Norwich are certainly getting what they paid for now", says ESPN, which adds that he was on top form as the team recorded their first win since January, finishing 1-0 over West Bromwich Albion.

Arsenal defender Bellerin set up Alex Iwobi for his goal against Everton. "This was Bellerin's third assist in two league games having managed only two in the previous 46 fixtures," notes Garth Crooks of the BBC.

Midfield: Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Sadio Mane (Southampton), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

Iwobi could be the new Ian Wright, says Crooks. "The link-up play between himself and Danny Welbeck was fabulous at times... What is even more remarkable is that it was only Iwobi's 14th game for Arsenal in all competitions. To be showing that sort of confidence so early in your career speaks volumes for Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff."

Southampton midfielder Mane scored twice as the Saints came from 2-0 down to beat Liverpool. He may have missed a penalty but he showed "electric pace and devastating feet" as his "well-taken brace" capped a remarkable comeback, says Goal.com.

There were also two goals for Fabregas of Chelsea. "The Spaniard has had his critics this season but Fabregas scored a brace including a stunning free-kick and a last-minute penalty as Chelsea came from behind twice to rescue a point against West Ham," says the Daily Mail.

The paper also believes Leicester midfielder Mahrez deserves recognition after he scored the all-important goal against Palace. "If Leicester do go on to win the title it will be largely thanks to the Algerian," says the Mail. Crooks of the BBC, who is this week keen on comparisons, likens the Algerian to Trevor Francis of Nottingham Forest, the striker who helped Brian Clough's unfashionable side win the European Cup.

Attack: Harry Kane (Spurs), Graziano Pelle (Southampton)

Two more goals for Kane sunk Bournemouth on Sunday and took him past 20 goals this campaign. "Kane's quality might just be enough to bring Tottenham the title. He's now on 21 league goals for the season - so much for all those saying he was a one-season wonder following his exploits last term," says ESPN. He was also the highest Fantasy Premier League scorer this week with an impressive 16 points.

Pelle was key to Southampton's comeback at Liverpool, and earns the praise of Goal.com. "Scored the Saints' second late on in a wonderful second-half showing, as he also turned provided for both of Sadio Mane's strikes. His goal six minutes from time marked his third consecutive goal scoring game as Ronald Koeman's men move up to seventh."

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