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Premier League Team of the Week - Alexandre Lacazette, Paul Pogba, Christian Pulisic

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 31, including Alexandre Lacazette, Paul Pogba and Christian Pulisic.

Manchester City's title charge was slowed as they fell to a home defeat at the hands of Leeds United in the big shock of gameweek 31 of the Premier League season.

Man City still boast an 11-point lead over nearest challengers Manchester United, and while the Red Devils may not be able to overturn that gap, they took another big step towards Champions League qualification with a come-from-behind 3-1 win away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

That result was a blow to Spurs' top-four hopes, particularly with West Ham United, Chelsea and Liverpool all winning, against Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa respectively.

At the other end of the table, West Bromwich Albion kept their slim survival hopes alive with a 3-0 victory over Southampton, although their task was made even tougher by Newcastle United picking up a much-needed win over Burnley earlier in the weekend.

Arsenal and Wolverhampton Wanderers also recorded victories over Sheffield United and Fulham respectively, while the gameweek came to a close with a drab goalless draw between Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 31.


Chelsea's Kurt Zouma celebrates scoring their third goal against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on April 10, 2021© Reuters

There was only one real contender for the gloves this weekend, with West Brom's Sam Johnstone not only keeping a clean sheet against Southampton on Monday night, but also denying James Ward-Prowse from the penalty spot to keep that clean sheet intact - one of four saves he made.

Right-back was by far the most competitive spot in this week's defence, with Jacob Murphy getting on the scoresheet for Newcastle, Seamus Coleman being arguably the standout performer for Everton and Nelson Semedo making a whopping 10 tackles as Wolves kept Fulham out.

However, it is Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold who gets the nod, having bounced back from his midweek mistake in Madrid with a timely late winner against Aston Villa, curling an unerring finish into the bottom corner to answer his growing number of critics and, more importantly, secure a crucial return to winning ways for the dethroned champions.

Alexander-Arnold's teammate Nat Phillips is also worthy of a mention at centre-back, but it is a Chelsea duo who make up the heart of the defence this week.

Kurt Zouma joins Alexander-Arnold as a goalscoring defender this week, netting the third goal against Palace in addition to winning 10 aerial duels, while Antonio Rudiger alongside him made more clearances, interceptions and possession gains than any other Chelsea player in that match.

It was relatively slim pickings at left-back, with Leeds United's Ezgjan Alioski pipping Andrew Robertson courtesy of his assist for Leeds' stoppage-time winner at Man City.


Leeds United's Stuart Dallas celebrates scoring their second goal against Manchester City in the Premier League on April 10, 2021© Reuters

The man who got that winner at Man City - adding to his earlier opener - was Stuart Dallas as he notched an unlikely brace to stop the champions-elect in their tracks.

The versatile Leeds man sets the tone for a midfield full of goals this week, although the man sitting alongside him in a slightly deeper role - Paul Pogba - is the only midfield selection not to have got on the scoresheet.

The Frenchman was a towering presence throughout against Spurs, though, and particularly in the second half as Man United launched their turnaround, with Pogba assisting the third goal to wrap things up.

Pogba's teammate Fred and West Brom's Okay Yokuslu deserve mentions in that part of the field too, and there was even more competition for places in the forward areas with Matt Phillips, Matheus Pereira, Callum Robinson and Mason Mount among the attackers unfortunate to miss out.

The fact that Newcastle's Allan Saint-Maximin beats them to a place in this XI despite only being on the field for 33 minutes speaks volumes as to his impact.

The winger immediately changed the game against Burnley, producing the assist for Murphy's goal within two minutes of his introduction and then netting the winner with a fine solo effort just five minutes after that.

Both men alongside him in the three behind the striker managed to go one better, with Jesse Lingard and Christian Pulisic helping themselves to two goals apiece.

Lingard continued his incredible form during his West Ham loan spell with the opening two goals in his side's huge 3-2 win over Leicester, sweeping home a fine half-volley from the edge of the box for his first before tapping into an empty net for the second.

Pulisic, meanwhile, scored the second and fourth goals for Chelsea as they eased past Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.


Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring against Sheffield United in the Premier League on April 11, 2021© Reuters

As ever, the centre-forward spot was a hugely competitive one this week, and even more so with non-traditional strikers such as Kai Havertz and Jarrod Bowen taking up that position.

Both of those players helped themselves to a goal and an assist but do not make the cut, while Mason Greenwood matched that return and Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice himself.

Edinson Cavani is another who is unfortunate to miss out, while arguably the most baffling VAR call yet prevented Mbaye Diagne from joining those with a goal and an assist to their names this week.

Ultimately the man who gets the nod is Alexandre Lacazette, who led the charge as Arsenal produced a much-needed return to winning ways. The Frenchman brought up 50 Premier League goals for the club with a fine brace, first stroking home the finish at the end of a superb team move, and then tucking his second into the bottom corner with aplomb.



PL TOTW (4-2-3-1): Johnstone; Alexander-Arnold, Rudiger, Zouma, Alioski; Dallas, Pogba; Saint-Maximin, Lingard, Pulisic; Lacazette

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