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Premier League Team of the Week - Kevin De Bruyne, Alisson Becker, Nicolas Pepe

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 26, including Kevin De Bruyne, Alisson Becker and Nicolas Pepe.

The first ever mid-season break in the Premier League saw gameweek 26 spread over a two-week period, which was then extended even further by Manchester City's match against West Ham United being postponed.

Man City went on to win that rearranged fixture on Wednesday night, but they remain 22 points adrift of champions-elect Liverpool after the runaway leaders overcame Norwich City.

While the battle at the top has long been over, the race for the final Champions League spot continues to twist and turn, with only five points separating fourth from ninth.

Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to give their own hopes a major boost, while there were also victories for Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United.

Arsenal are still not completely out of contention after turning on the style in a 4-0 win over Newcastle United, particularly with Man City's European ban potentially seeing fifth place enough to earn Champions League football next season.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 26.



PL TOTW GW26

Alisson Becker did not have a huge amount to do during Liverpool's win over Norwich, but he once again proved his worth when it mattered.

The league's bottom side looked certain to break the deadlock in the first half when Lukas Rupp bore down on goal with Teemu Pukki in support, but Alisson came out on top in a two-on-one situation which secured his 10th top-flight clean sheet of the season.

For the first time this season, the XI is made up almost entirely of players from some of English football's more traditional heavyweights, including three Manchester United defenders from their triumph over Chelsea.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka provided an assist for the opening goal and Harry Maguire added his side's second with his first Premier League goal for the club, but arguably the most impressive of the United trio was Eric Bailly, who starred on his first league appearance since April.

United's tally of three players is matched by Arsenal in this week's team, and all of those come in wide areas. Bukayo Saka continues to be something of a makeshift full-back, but he looked like a natural in the position against Newcastle and helped himself to an assist too.

Saka's assist was finished off by Nicolas Pepe, who produced the standout performance of the gameweek and undoubtedly his best display in an Arsenal shirt so far. The £72m man had a direct hand in three of Arsenal's four goals, adding two assists to his own strike - including setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opener.

Kevin De Bruyne was perhaps the only other player who could have rivalled Pepe for performance of the gameweek, putting in a typically driving display as Man City saw off West Ham. The Belgian scored one and created the other to help put a troubled week or so behind the team.

It was his midfield partner Rodri who converted the assist to open the scoring, and with a pass success rate of 95% he would provide the perfect balance in this team for the three more attack-minded players around him.

Spurs may have drawn a blank in the Champions League since they last played in the Premier League, but they had no such problem in front of goal against Aston Villa, where Son Heung-min scored in injury time of both halves including a 93rd-minute winner.

Son scored a memorable solo goal earlier this season, and Richarlison did the same for Everton against Crystal Palace to earn his place in the team ahead of clubmate Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is unfortunate to miss out having registered a goal and an assist.

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Liverpool's Jordan Henderson celebrates after the match on January 23, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721

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