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Premier League Team of the Week - Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Jan Vertonghen

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 17, including Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Jan Vertonghen.

Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 10 points over the weekend courtesy of a hard-fought 2-0 win against Watford in the Hornets' first game under Nigel Pearson.

Leicester City's slip-up at home to Norwich City saw their eight-match winning streak come to an end as they fell further off the pace, and champions Manchester City gained ground on the Foxes with a commanding 3-0 win away to Arsenal on Sunday.

Chelsea fell further adrift of those top three courtesy of a shock home defeat to out-of-form Bournemouth, while Manchester United also dropped points in front of their own fans against Duncan Ferguson's Everton.

Tottenham Hotspur needed a last-gasp winner to overcome Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, and there was a crucial win for West Ham United in their relegation battle against Southampton on Saturday evening.

Burnley and Sheffield United were also victorious on Saturday, while Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion rounded off the weekend's action with a 1-1 draw on Monday night.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 17.



PL TOTW GW17

Crystal Palace were fortunate to come away with a point from their match with rivals Brighton on Monday night, and they have Vicente Guaita to thank for that after he made nine saves to keep the Seagulls at bay. The shot-stopper could do nothing to keep out Brighton's goal and repelled everything else to snatch the gloves away from Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale.

There is a back three in this week's team due to a lack of outstanding full-back performances, with the exception of Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen, who is more comfortable in the middle anyway. The Belgian popped up with his side's last-gasp winner against Wolves, rescuing a result which flattered Jose Mourinho's men somewhat.

Fernandinho put in another disciplined and effective display in a position which is not his favourite as Man City strolled past Arsenal, keeping a first clean sheet in 10 games in the process, while James Tarkowski won a whopping 10 aerial duels en route to a shutout of his own in Burnley's 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

The two wing-backs in this XI must settle for more defensive responsibilities than they have been used to in recent weeks, but both Adama Traore and Michail Antonio have carried out the roles before so would know what is expected of them.

Southampton struggled to cope with Antonio throughout West Ham's win at St Mary's, with the attacker only being denied a good goal by VAR, while Traore terrorised the Spurs defence at times. Mourinho's side ended up resorting to fouling the speedster in an attempt to stop him, although even that could not prevent him scoring a fine equaliser.

Two players who will not be expected to make many of these teams of the week over the course of the season patrol central midfield, with Dan Gosling putting in a fine shift for Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge before capping it off with a late winner which was only allowed to stand after VAR's intervention.

John Fleck went one better with a match-winning two-goal show against Aston Villa, meaning that he has now scored four goals in his last four home league games - more than he had managed in his previous 73.

Jefferson Lerma, Davy Propper and Emiliano Buendia all deserve mentions in midfield this week, but the standout performance of the weekend came from Kevin De Bruyne, who produced an utter masterclass in the first half against Arsenal. The Belgian scored two goals with superb finishes either side of adding another assist to his tally, almost single-handedly taking the game away from the Gunners before half time. Only a stunning save from Bernd Leno denied him a quite brilliant hat-trick too.

On the opposite side of this week's front three is Lucas Moura, who caused plenty of problems down his own flank despite Wolves' Traore stealing the spotlight somewhat in the same game. The Brazilian beats Sebastien Haller and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to a place in this team, allowing Mohamed Salah to lead the line.

The Egyptian was the difference for Liverpool at Anfield as they marched on towards a first title in 30 years, scoring two brilliantly-taken goals in a match which saw Watford squander some golden chances of their own. Liverpool could easily have dropped points for just the second time this season had it not been for a mixture of Salah's magic and Watford's profligacy.

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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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