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Premier League Team of the Week - Paul Pogba, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for the final gameweek of 2018, including the likes of Paul Pogba, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

The final Premier League matchday of 2018 saw Liverpool ensure a seven-point lead at the top of the table courtesy of a rampant 5-1 win over Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday.

Tottenham Hotspur slipped up at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier in the day, allowing Manchester City to move back into second place as they eased to a 3-1 win over 10-man Southampton.

Manchester United were also reduced to 10, but they maintained their 100% start under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 4-1 victory over Bournemouth in the final game of the year.

Chelsea were also victorious with a 1-0 triumph over Crystal Palace as they opened up a five-point cushion to fifth place, while at the other end of the table there were crucial wins for Fulham, Cardiff City and Burnley.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 20.



PL TOTW GW20

Leicester City went into Saturday's match with Cardiff having beaten Chelsea and Man City in succession, but they fell to defeat at home to the Bluebirds thanks largely to Neil Etheridge's seven stops - one of which came from the spot for his third penalty save of the season.

Sol Bamba made a crucial challenge to deny the rebound from that penalty being converted too, and the big centre-back made a team-high nine clearances in all to earn Cardiff back-to-back away clean sheets in the Premier League.

Fellow promoted side Wolves also have two representatives in defence, although both were as important going forward as they were at the back during their shock win at Tottenham. Willy Boly kicked off the comeback with an equaliser 18 minutes from time, and Matt Doherty assisted the final goal to help Wolves wrap the points up.

Matt Ritchie has been deployed in a deeper left-back position for Newcastle United in recent games, but he still has an impact going forward and made a matchday-high 15 crosses against Watford, one of which led to their goal.

It is an all-French, World Cup-winning duo in midfield, with N'Golo Kante scoring the only goal of the game to fire Chelsea past Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, narrowly edging out Cardiff's Aron Gunnarsson and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum for a place in the team.

Paul Pogba's form since Jose Mourinho's exit has only reaffirmed suspicions that all was not right between the pair, and he scored another brace - in addition to registering an assist - in his side's win over Bournemouth. The goals saw Pogba become the first United player since Wayne Rooney in December 2012 to score at least twice in consecutive league appearances.

Marcus Rashford is another player who seems to be thriving in a central role under Solskjaer, and he also contributed a goal and an assist during that win at Old Trafford to earn his place in this XI above Burnley's Dwight McNeil.

The standout performance of the gameweek came from Liverpool, and Roberto Firmino was the star of the show at Anfield with a hat-trick, including a stunning second which saw him leave the Arsenal defence for dead.

Mohamed Salah was also on the scoresheet in that rout, as well as registering an assist, bringing an end to a phenomenal 2018 for the Egyptian king.

There was huge competition for a place up front with the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Raul Jimenez, Harry Kane and Salomon Rondon in contention - not mention Firmino, Salah and Rashford as options - but Sergio Aguero gets the nod. The Argentine scored once as Man City returned to winning ways and was only denied a hat-trick by the woodwork and a fine piece of goalkeeping from Alex McCarthy.

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Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 21, 2018
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PL Team of the Week - Salah, Kane, Lingard
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814

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