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Premier League Team of the Week - Harry Kane, Alexandre Lacazette, David de Gea

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 17, including Harry Kane, Alexandre Lacazette, David de Gea and Kevin De Bruyne.

The opening gameweek of 2021 saw the title race blown wide open, with just four points now separating top-of-the-table Liverpool from seventh-placed Everton.

Jurgen Klopp's champions suffered just their second defeat of the season when they went down 1-0 to Southampton on Monday night, leaving them level on points with a resurgent Manchester United having now played a game more.

Man United's 2-1 triumph over Aston Villa underlined their credentials, while Manchester City thrust their name into the conversation with an impressive 3-1 win at Chelsea.

There were comfortable wins for Tottenham Hotspur against Leeds United and Arsenal against West Bromwich Albion, while Brighton & Hove Albion played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

West Ham United also won at Everton, Leicester City beat Newcastle United away from home and Crystal Palace piled more misery on rock-bottom Sheffield United, who set an unwanted record of 17 games without victory from the start of a Premier League season.

For the second week in a row, COVID-19 prevented a full schedule of fixtures from being played, with Burnley vs. Fulham becoming the latest match to fall victim to the pandemic.

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



PL TOTW GW 17

There were not many standout goalkeeping performances this week, but David de Gea was every bit as important to Man United's win over Aston Villa as those who scored the goals and that earns him a place in the team ahead of Emiliano Martinez at the other end, as well as Hugo Lloris and Bernd Leno.

Man United were also on course to provide Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back until Kyle Walker-Peters's performance for Southampton against Liverpool. The full-back was involved in a fascinating tussle with Sadio Mane all game and, while on another night he might have been punished with a penalty, by hook or crook he managed to deal with the former Southampton man.

Walker-Peters is joined in the back four by clubmate Jack Stephens, who was also at the heart of a sturdy rearguard action in the second half as the Saints became only the second team this season to stop Liverpool scoring in the league.

There was a lot of competition for the centre-back spots this week, with Toby Alderweireld, Ruben Dias, Rob Holding and Jan Bednarek all deserving of honourable mentions, but Angelo Ogbonna joins Stephens at the back having helped to keep Everton at bay with seven clearances.

One of the outstanding individual performances of the gameweek came from Kieran Tierney, who opened the scoring in style for Arsenal at West Brom and then went on to provide the assist for the fourth and final goal - a rout which earns a seemingly born-again Arsenal the most selections in this week's XI.

Central midfield was also a fiercely-contested spot in this team, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, James Ward-Prowse, Stuart Armstrong, James McArthur, Ilkay Gundogan, Emile Smith Rowe, Dani Ceballos and Youri Tielemans among those unfortunate to miss out.

Hojbjerg in particular came close to being included, but the decisive impacts of Kevin De Bruyne and Tomas Soucek earn them the midfield spots instead.

De Bruyne helped himself to a goal and an assist, admittedly from a much more advanced position than the one he takes up in this XI, while Soucek again popped up with a crucial late goal to see off Everton at Goodison Park.

Others offered similar returns but narrowly miss the cut this week; Phil Foden matched De Bruyne's goal and assist, Leandro Trossard helped himself to a couple of assists, Danny Ings scored a superb lob to see Southampton past Liverpool and Eberechi Eze produced one of the goals of the season so far as Palace beat Sheffield United.

However, the front four in this week's team all come from North London, including Tottenham's prolific and relentless double-act Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, who combined to score for the 13th time this season in the win over Leeds.

No duo has combined for more goals in an entire Premier League season, while Kane's nine assists for Son, whose goal was his 100th for Spurs incidentally, is also a joint-Premier League record from one player to another. Both ended the game with a goal and assist to their name as Spurs made a timely return to winning ways.

Arsenal have also rediscovered the winning formula - perhaps just in time for manager Mikel Arteta - and Bukayo Saka has been central to that. The youngster put in another fine display in the 4-0 win at West Brom, netting the second goal to cap off his performance.

Alexandre Lacazette went one better with a brace against the Baggies to wrap up a third win on the bounce for Arsenal.

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Jack Grealish in action for Aston Villa on December 20, 2020
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