MX23RW : Monday, January 21 04:06:16

Premier League Team of the Week - Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 18, including the likes of Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard.

The final Premier League gameweek before Christmas did not disappoint, with 34 goals and a couple of very notable shocks.

Crystal Palace pulled off arguably the surprise result of the entire season so far by beating Manchester City 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium, allowing Liverpool to enjoy Christmas Day four points clear courtesy of their 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday night.

Chelsea also fell to a shock home defeat as Leicester City won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, and Arsenal's 3-1 triumph over Burnley earlier in the day means that only goal difference now separates the London rivals either side of the Champions League dotted line.

Tottenham Hotspur put more distance between themselves and their capital neighbours with a huge 6-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, and Manchester United were also big winners over Cardiff City in their first match under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

There were wins for Bournemouth, Watford and Southampton too, while Fulham finally kept their first clean sheet of the season in a goalless draw with Newcastle United.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 18.



PL TOTW GW18

The goalkeeping position has often been hard to fill in these teams during the first half of the season, but there is no shortage of competition for the gloves this week.

Alisson Becker, Asmir Begovic and Kasper Schmeichel all deserve honourable mentions for keeping clean sheets, but Watford's Ben Foster just about gets the nod with seven saves during his side's 2-0 win at West Ham United.

Palace may have conceded twice in their famous victory at the Etihad, but they still contribute two players into the back four, although Jeffrey Schlupp - who scored in that game - actually started in a more advanced position than his left-back role in this team. Aaron Wan-Bissaka increased his burgeoning reputation with another mature display against City's dangerous attack.

Wan-Bissaka played at right-back in that game, but much like Schlupp his versatility takes him into a different position in this XI as Ricardo Pereira earns a place on the right courtesy of his clean sheet and game-high six tackles in the win over Chelsea.

Virgil van Dijk has been in contention for a place in this team almost every week of the season, but this time it is impossible to leave him out. The Dutch colossus scored his first league goal for the club, won 100% of his aerial duels, completed 92% of his passes, kept a clean sheet and even outpaced Adama Traore at one stage. It was an imperious display from the world's most expensive defender.

Things suddenly look a lot brighter at Manchester United after they produced their best performance and biggest win of the season following the exit of Jose Mourinho, and the likes of Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial all deserve mentions for their part in that. Jesse Lingard is the only United player to make this team, however, having scored two and assisted another in the rout of Cardiff.

Bournemouth's David Brooks was also on the scoresheet twice to fire his side past Brighton & Hove Albion, earning him a place in this XI ahead of the likes of Nathan Redmond, Roberto Pereyra and Mesut Ozil.

Mohamed Salah produced a brilliant finish and supplied an exquisite assist in Liverpool's win at Molineux to make the team of the week for the third time this season, but he is the lowest scorer from any of the midfielders or attackers chosen in the XI, with the rest all helping themselves to braces.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the only player to have scored more than Salah this season courtesy of his double against Burnley, but Harry Kane is level with Salah and just one behind his North London rival having also netted twice as Spurs hit Everton for six.

Kane - and pretty much everyone else this weekend - was outshone by Son Heung-min, though, as he scored twice and assisted another to help Tottenham put their hosts to the sword at Goodison. Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend narrowly misses out on a place in the team, but has to be mentioned after his stunning volley against Man City.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates Arsenal's second goal against Tottenham Hotspur on December 2, 2018
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PL Team of the Week - Aubameyang, Gundogan, Torreira
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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