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Premier League Team of the Week - Sadio Mane, Marcus Rashford, Gabriel Jesus

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 15, including Sadio Mane, Marcus Rashford and Gabriel Jesus.

The busy December football schedule well and truly got underway with a bumper midweek offering of Premier League action as Liverpool maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the table.

The Reds ran riot over struggling Everton in the Merseyside derby, and their thumping 5-2 win at Anfield ultimately proved to be the final straw for the Toffees board as they sacked Marco Silva with the club languishing in the relegation zone.

Jose Mourinho returned to Old Trafford for the first time since his own sacking almost a year ago, but it was an unhappy comeback for the new Tottenham Hotspur boss as Manchester United ran out 2-1 winners.

Manchester City returned to winning ways with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Burnley on Tuesday night, but it is Leicester City who remain Liverpool's closest challengers as they made it seven wins in a row by beating Watford.

High-flying Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers also recorded victories over Aston Villa and West Ham United respectively, while Brighton & Hove Albion piled more misery on Arsenal with their first ever away win over the Gunners to end the gameweek.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 15.



PL TOTW GW15

One of the more surprising and controversial results of the midweek schedule came at Bramall Lane, where Newcastle United ended Sheffield United's impressive unbeaten run with a 2-0 triumph. Jonjo Shelvey's VAR-awarded goal made the headlines, but it was Martin Dubravka who was man of the match having made six saves to keep the Blades at bay - a performance which is enough to see off competition from Brighton's Mathew Ryan.

Brighton's historic triumph at the Emirates is recognised with one player in this XI, though, with Dan Burn getting the nod at left-back. The giant defender played a major role in the opening goal while also winning 10 aerial duels and making four tackles in a week which saw few other options in that area of the pitch.

Burn's teammate Adam Webster is unfortunate to miss out after scoring that opening goal, but Wolves' Leander Dendoncker was also on the scoresheet as part of a back three while also keeping a clean sheet and Dejan Lovren was one of a number of players to cause Everton problems with long passes forward, resulting in an assist for the Liverpool defender.

Leicester's Ricardo Pereira is becoming a regular feature of these teams, and he was once again the standout right-back in the division this week as the Foxes equalled a club record for successive top-flight wins.

There was no shortage of candidates for goal of the gameweek, and right at the top of that list was Rodri for his thunderous strike against Burnley which killed the game off once and for all. The goal capped off an assured all-round display from the Spaniard, earning him special praise from Pep Guardiola after the match.

Quite a few of the best goals came at Anfield, though, and while Georginio Wijnaldum's strike was not the pick of the bunch it was still a very well taken one which added insult to injury for a beleaguered Everton side in the final minute of normal time. As with Rodri, it was a goal which was the icing on top of a fine performance in midfield, despite having to contend with numerous personnel changes around him.

The likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, N'Golo Kante, James Maddison, Aaron Mooy, Harvey Barnes, Joao Moutinho, Jonjo Shelvey and James Ward-Prowse all deserve honourable mentions in midfield, but the disciplined attributes of Rodri and WIjnaldum allow us to indulge with an attacking front four.

The standout performance of the entire gameweek came from Sadio Mane, who tormented Everton in the first half in particular with two delightful assists and a goal. Had he completed a hat-trick with two second-half sitters then it would have gone down as one of the all-time great Merseyside derby performances, with Everton unable to live with him at Anfield.

Mane's versatility allows us to shift him over to the right in order to accommodate Marcus Rashford, who put in his best display of the season against Spurs. Not only did the England international score both goals, but he also crashed a stunning long-range effort against the crossbar and was a constant thorn in the side of Tottenham's defence. Rashford now has six goals in his last seven league games and nine for the season in total - just one behind his career-best season tally already.

The front two both scored twice apiece too, seizing their chances in the absence of their respective clubs' main marksmen. Divock Origi further enhanced his cult hero status at Liverpool with a brilliant brace against Everton, rounding the keeper for the first and then plucking a long ball out of the air and finishing past Jordan Pickford for the second - remarkably only Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard have now scored more for Liverpool against Everton in the Premier League era.

Gabriel Jesus was also in need of goals having gone eight games without one, and his double against Burnley was similarly well taken. The Brazilian curled his first into the far corner and then adjusted well to score an unorthodox volleyed second, putting Man City in complete control as they safely negotiated a potentially tricky fixture at Turf Moor.

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham also deserves a mention for his goal and assist against Aston Villa, while Bernardo Silva chalked up two assists and Adama Traore was a menace for Wolves against West Ham, but in truth our front four was a relatively easy choice this week with the chosen quartet all starring.

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rhs 2.0
FA Cup
Championship
La Liga
Serie A
Bundesliga
Australian Open Third Round
Result
Girogi
Kerber
2 7  3
6 64 6
Result
Pavlyuchenkova
Pliskova
7  7 
64 63
Result
Vekic
Swiatek
5 3
7 6
Result
Monfils
Gulbis
7  6 6
62 4 3
Result
Bencic
Kontaveit
0 1
6 6
Result
Putintseva
Halep
1 4
6 6
Result
Fritz
Thiem
2 4 7  4
6 6 65 6
Result
Goffin
Rublev
6 63 4 64
2 7  6 7 
Result
Nadal
Carreno Busta
6 6 6
1 2 4
Result
Mertens
Bellis
6 65 6
1 7  0
Result
Isner
Wawrinka
4 1
6 4
(ret.)
7.50am
Kyrgios
Khachanov
8am
Verdasco
Zverev
8am
Svitolina
Muguruza
10am
Medvedev
Popyrin
10.30am
Diyas
Bertens
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Scottish League Two
Greek Superleague
Swiss Super League
Argentine Primera Division
Liga MX
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Serie B
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Gallagher Premiership
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23221054153967
2Manchester CityMan City24163565273851
3Leicester CityLeicester24153652242848
4Chelsea2412484132940
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd249783629734
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs249783832634
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2481063532334
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd248972523233
9Southampton2494113142-1131
10Arsenal2461263234-230
11Crystal Palace247982228-630
12Everton2486102835-730
13Burnley2493122838-1030
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2486102436-1230
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2467112734-725
16Aston Villa2474133145-1425
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham2365122738-1123
18Bournemouth2465132337-1423
19Watford2458112136-1523
20Norwich CityNorwich2445152447-2317

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