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Premier League Team of the Week: Sadio Mane, N'Golo Kante, Hugo Lloris

Sports Mole selects its Team of the Week for gameweek 12 of the Premier League season, including Sadio Mane, N'Golo Kante and Hugo Lloris.

Gameweek 12 of the Premier League season has concluded, with Chelsea still leading the way at the top of the table after seeing off Leicester City 3-0 in Saturday's early kickoff.

Second-placed Manchester City kept the pressure on the league leaders by downing Everton 3-0, while Liverpool broke Arsenal's resistance with a 4-0 demolition job at Anfield.

The Reds rose to third in the process after West Ham United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Tottenham Hotspur claimed their first Premier League win under Antonio Conte with a 2-1 success over Leeds United.

Manchester United's 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Watford spelled the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's time in the dugout, but there were wins for both Aston Villa and Norwich City under new management over Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton respectively.

There were also two pulsating 3-3 draws at the weekend, as Newcastle United were held by Brentford while Burnley and Crystal Palace played out their own six-goal thriller at Turf Moor.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Team of the Week for gameweek 12 of the Premier League season.


DEFENCE

Antonio Rudiger in action for Chelsea in November 2021© Reuters

Hugo Lloris was not the member of Tottenham's backline which made the most headlines on the day against Leeds, but without the Frenchman's six saves against the Whites - three of which were from inside the area - Conte would not be sitting here with a first Premier League win in charge of the Lilywhites.

Taking the opportunity to display his wittiness on social media following the game, Trent Alexander-Arnold's initials befitted his performance against Arsenal as he ended the encounter with two assists to his name, making four key passes in total and registering a 92% success rate on the day.

Another English full-back occupies the other side of the backline in our team, as Aston Villa's Matt Targett was rock solid to help preserve his side's clean sheet against Brighton, winning eight of his 10 ground duels and making seven tackles at Villa Park.

Fans have become accustomed to seeing Alexander-Arnold register multiple assists in one game, but not a single soul could have foreseen James Tarkowski setting up two of his side's goals in the 3-3 thriller with Palace, as the centre-back won an astonishing 12 of 14 aerial battles - two of which ended in assists - and he also chipped in with six clearances.

Alongside Tarkowski in the heart of the rearguard is a man whom Chelsea will be desperate to tie down to a new deal, as soon-to-be free agent Antonio Rudiger opened the scoring against Leicester with a well-taken header and won three of his four aerial duels in an assured display.


MIDFIELD

Sadio Mane celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Arsenal on November 20, 2021© Reuters

The St James' Park faithful were treated to an enthralling first half during Newcastle's clash with Brentford, and the Bees' Sergi Canos was at the heart of his side's attacking prowess, assisting both of his side's goals in the first half, including a pinpoint cross to pick out Rico Henry's run at the back post.

During his return to his former home in the King Power Stadium, a sudden burst of energy from N'Golo Kante ended with the former Leicester man picking out the far corner after an eye-catching run, and the Chelsea star also posted an 85% pass success rate to show his old club what they are missing.

Kante's strike at the King Power Stadium was overshadowed by the goal of the weekend at the Etihad Stadium, though, as Rodri met a loose ball before unleashing a phenomenal strike against Everton, and the Spaniard also won all three of his aerial duels while registering a 94% pass accuracy.

Sadio Mane may have been the instigator of the touchline row between Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp following a perceived elbow on Takehiro Tomiyasu, but the Senegalese superstar did his talking on the pitch by opening the scoring against Arsenal with a strong header before setting up his fellow wing king Mohamed Salah in the second half.


ATTACK

Emmanuel Dennis celebrates scoring for Watford against Manchester United in November 2021© Reuters

It was simply impossible not to have a Watford representative in this XI after they made a mockery of Solskjaer's Man United, and having had a direct hand in three of his side's four goals on the day (one strike, two assists), Emmanuel Dennis was a simple selection to lead the line.

Christian Benteke also justified his selection over Odsonne Edouard for the trip to Burnley, as the Belgian powerhouse drew first blood against the Clarets by firing home through a sea of bodies, and he was on hand to lash home from Conor Gallagher's pass during a clinical display at Turf Moor.


SPORTS MOLE'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

PL TOTW GW12

Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week (4-4-2): Lloris; Alexander-Arnold, Tarkowski, Rudiger, Targett; Canos, Kante, Rodri, Mane; Dennis, Benteke

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea1510323592633
2Manchester CityMan City1410222982132
3Liverpool1494143123131
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham158342819927
5Arsenal147251720-323
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs137151317-422
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd146352424021
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves146351212021
9Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton144731315-219
10Leicester CityLeicester145452225-319
11Crystal Palace143741920-116
12Brentford144461719-216
13Aston Villa145181923-416
14Everton144371724-715
15Leeds UnitedLeeds143651320-715
16Southampton143651320-715
17Watford144191926-713
18Burnley131751420-610
19Norwich CityNorwich14248828-2010
20Newcastle UnitedNewcastle140771630-147

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