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Premier League Team of the Week - Lukaku, Antonio, Alexander-Arnold

Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek two, including Romelu Lukaku, Michail Antonio and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The final whistle has blown on gameweek two of the 2021-22 Premier League season, which began with Liverpool maintaining their perfect start to the season with a comfortable 2-0 success over Burnley at Anfield.

Chelsea also made it two for two in the new season with a resounding 2-0 win at London rivals Arsenal, while reigning champions Manchester City got off the mark with a five-star performance against Norwich City as Tottenham Hotspur claimed a second 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

There was less for Manchester United to celebrate as they were forced to come from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw with Southampton, while the points were also shared in Crystal Palace's drab stalemate with Brentford and Leeds United's four-goal thriller with Everton.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa came up trumps against Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion moved onto six points with victory over Watford, and 10-man Leicester City were torn to shreds by West Ham United on Monday night.

With eye-catching performances and broken records on show this weekend, Sports Mole picks its Team of the Week for the second gameweek of the Premier League season.


DEFENCE

Kostas Tsimikas warms up for Liverpool on March 7, 2021© Reuters

On his record-breaking 300th Premier League appearance for Tottenham, Hugo Lloris played a key role in preserving his side's lead against Wolves at Molineux. The World Cup-winning Frenchman is in no position to relinquish the gloves to Pierluigi Gollini and came up with six saves on the day - including a one-versus-one against Adama Traore - for his second clean sheet of two matches in the 2021-22 season.

The summer of 2021 was a painful one for Trent Alexander-Arnold as he witnessed his England teammates march to the Euro 2020 final while he sat on the treatment table, but the right-back put on a show against Burnley, providing the assist for Sadio Mane's second as well as making seven key passes, creating two big chances and making two tackles. On the opposite side, Kostas Tsimikas should give Andy Robertson a real run for his money when the Scot is fit again, as the 25-year-old's inch perfect cross set up Diogo Jota's opener before he made three tackles and three clearances during an assured performance.

The reinvigorated Shane Duffy looks every inch a Premier League player, and the 29-year-old's partnership with Lewis Dunk is bearing fruit once more. After his forgettable loan spell at Celtic, Duffy followed up his stellar showing at Burnley with the opener against Watford - a powerful header off the crossbar - while he also won six aerial duels and blocked three shots in another inspirational performance. Alongside him is a man whose days at his club also appeared to be numbered for a brief while, as Aymeric Laporte was in the right place at the right time to prod home City's third against Norwich and ended the encounter with a pass success rate of 98%.



MIDFIELD

Chelsea's Reece James celebrates scoring against Arsenal in the Premier League on August 22, 2021© Reuters

A defender by trade, Reece James bombing down the right flank was too painful a sight for Arsenal fans at the weekend, as the England international had a hand in both goals during Chelsea's 2-0 win. Firstly setting up Lukaku for his first ever Chelsea goal, James was then found in acres of space inside the area before crashing a thunderous shot past Bernd Leno, and he also played his part with four key passes, three tackles and five ground duels won.

Said Benrahma's goalscoring exploits were seldom on show during the 2020-21 season, but the former Brentford man has started the campaign as he means to go on this time around. Against Leicester, the 26-year-old proceeded to lay the ball on a plate for Pablo Fornals to roll in the opener before being on hand to capitalise on Caglar Soyuncu's dreadful error from Antonio's pass, and there is no doubting that the Algerian will be instrumental to his side's European ambitions once again.

The likes of Chelsea and Manchester United are running out of time to prise Declan Rice away from West Ham United, and the England international is showing exactly why the country's leading clubs are after him. As well as setting up Antonio's record-breaking strike on Monday, the 22-year-old made four tackles, three interceptions, two successful dribbles and seven victorious ground duels during a monumental performance.

Alongside the Englishman is another man who seems set to stay put this summer despite links with Champions League-chasing clubs in Yves Bissouma, whose prowess in the middle of the park was priceless in Brighton's success over Watford. The Mali international's tenacious nature saw him steal in on a loose pass and prod the ball into the path of Neal Maupay - who made no mistake - while five tackles and five interceptions was a true indication of Bissouma's all-round quality in the engine room.



ATTACK

Michail Antonio celebrates scoring for West Ham United against Leicester City in the Premier League on August 23, 2021© Reuters

Romelu Lukaku may have left Chelsea without a single goal from 15 appearances back in 2014, but the £97.5m man has returned with a bang after conquering Italy. Arsenal fans feared the worst with Pablo Mari up against the Belgian, and the Chelsea man would bully the Spaniard out of the way to score his first goal for the club on his second debut. The 28-year-old was only denied a second thanks to a heroic save from Leno in the second 45, but his physicality and clinical nature could yet fire Chelsea all the way to the top of the standings.

However, the biggest success story in the final third came at the London Stadium on Monday night, as Michail Antonio remains unfazed by all the attacking burden as West Ham's only recognised centre-forward. With 80 minutes on the clock, Antonio turned and fired home past Kasper Schmeichel to become West Ham's all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League - surpassing Paolo Di Canio - and only four minutes later, the 31-year-old's magnificent turn and finish secured a crushing win for the Hammers as his cardboard cutout waited to be lifted aloft.


SPORTS MOLE'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

PL TOTW GW2

Sports Mole's Premier League team of the week (4-4-2): Lloris, Alexander-Arnold, Duffy, Laporte, Tsimikas; James, Bissouma, Rice, Benrahma; Lukaku, Antonio


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea86111631319
2Liverpool85302261618
3Manchester CityMan City85211631317
4Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton843185315
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd84221610614
6Everton7421138514
7Brentford8332107312
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves840488012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs7403610-412
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham73221410411
11Leicester CityLeicester83231314-111
12Aston Villa83141212010
13Arsenal7313510-510
14Crystal Palace7142811-37
15Southampton8143610-47
16Watford8215715-87
17Leeds UnitedLeeds8134715-86
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle7034816-83
19Burnley8035513-83
20Norwich CityNorwich8026216-142

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