Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week

Sports Mole picks out the best 11 players from the 24th round of Premier League fixtures.

Manchester City's home clash with Chelsea was billed as the biggest game of the weekend, and it lived up to expectations.

The Citizens had won all 11 of their Premier League matches at the Etihad Stadium up until the visit of the West Londoners, but it was Jose Mourinho's men who were celebrating come the final whistle courtesy of a 1-0 victory.

It meant that Arsenal's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace was enough for the Gunners to return to the summit, but Liverpool missed an opportunity to capitalise on dropped points by fellow Champions League hunters Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United by only drawing 1-1 away at West Bromwich Albion.

Meanwhile, towards the bottom, Sunderland eased their relegation fears with a 3-0 success over rivals Newcastle United, while there were also wins for Cardiff City, West Ham United and Stoke City, all of which meant that Fulham dropped to the bottom for the first time this season after their 3-0 home loss to Southampton.

So, with another round of encounters completed, Sports Mole has picked out the 11 players who made the biggest impression on us.

Artur Boruc (Southampton)
It's difficult to predict what type of performance Boruc is going to produce between the posts, such has been his inconsistency this season. This time the Southampton goalkeeper made a handful of smart saves to keep Fulham at bay at Craven Cottage.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
The Serbian is paid for his defensive qualities, which were there for all to see against Man City. However, he went the extra mile at the Etihad Stadium by firing in the game's only goal with a low drive that left Joe Hart no chance.
Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
City put Chelsea under pressure during the opening exchanges and towards the end of the contest, but the Blues stood firm, thanks in part to Cahill, who produced a number of clearances and important challenges.
John O'Shea (Sunderland)
The Republic of Ireland international has been a major cog in Sunderland's renaissance under Gus Poyet and continued his recent form as the Black Cats kept a clean sheet against Newcastle.
Erik Pieters (Stoke City)
Juan Mata may not be a natural right-winger, but he is still a talented footballer. Down that flank, Manchester United's club-record signing was largely shackled by Stoke's full-back.

Adam Johnson (Sunderland)
The calls for Johnson to come into contention for a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad are going to rise a decibel or two after his display against the Magpies, in which he scored his seventh goal in as many matches in all competitions.
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)
It takes a huge effort to 'out-Toure' Yaya Toure, but Matic did just that with a commanding performance in the middle of the pitch. The Serb also showed that he has a keen eye for a pass.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)
With injuries to the likes of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, the fit again Oxlade-Chamberlain was given the central midfield role by manager Arsene Wenger and he flourished by scoring both of Arsenal's goals against Palace.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Right now, it seems that Hazard is taking his performance levels up a notch. He was the best player on the pitch as Chelsea beat City, having taken the game to the opposition on numerous occasions with a string of adventurous dribbles towards the home side's goal.

Kevin Mirallas (Everton)
With Romelu Lukaku injured, Mirallas has been moved further forward to replace his fellow Belgian. Although he didn't score from open play, he capped off a decent showing by curling in a free kick from distance.
Nikica Jelavic (Hull City)
He may not have got his name among the scorers, but Jelavic showed great work rate against Spurs at the KC Stadium. What's more, the Croatian international played a key role in Shane Long's opening goal.

Numpty of the week

Kolo Toure: In terms of performance, West Brom weren't playing too badly against Liverpool at The Hawthorns. Having said that, they never really looked like cancelling out Daniel Sturridge's opener for the away side. They needn't have worried, though, because Liverpool centre-back Toure was in a giving mood, despite the fact that Christmas was over a month ago. The Ivorian inexplicably passed the ball across the face of his own goal, which Victor Anichebe anticipated. From there, the West Brom striker struck into the bottom corner of the net to secure his side a share of the spoils.

Goal of the week

Charlie Adam (Stoke City vs. Man United): David Moyes described the Scot's effort as a "worldie", which after a quick Google search appears to mean a great goal! Well, it was just that, with the Scot powering his shot into the top corner of David de Gea's net from 20 yards out. It won Stoke all three points, so carried extra significance as well.

Juan Mata poses with his new #8 Manchester United shirt on January 27, 2014
Read Next:
January transfer window review
>
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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