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Premier League Team of the Week - Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Aguero, Adama Traore

Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 23, including Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Aguero and Adama Traore.

Liverpool's march to a first top-flight title in 30 years passed what felt like a significant marker this weekend as they beat bitter rivals Manchester United 2-0 at Anfield to make it 64 points from a possible 66 so far this season.

The Reds are now just 30 points away from wrapping up the title having extended their lead at the top to 16, taking full advantage of both Manchester City and Leicester City dropping points.

Man City were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace, whereas Leicester threw away a lead to lose 2-1 at Burnley on Sunday.

Indeed, only two of the teams that went into the weekend in the top 12 of the table actually won, with Liverpool being joined in that respect by Wolverhampton Wanderers, who came from two down to beat Southampton at St Mary's.

Tottenham Hotspur played out a goalless stalemate with Watford, Arsenal were held at home by Sheffield United and Chelsea lost at Newcastle United in a poor weekend for most of the 'big six'.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 23.



PL TOTW GW23

Leicester are enduring their worst form of the season right now, but they would have got something out of their trip to Burnley had it not been for the fine form of Nick Pope in goal. The England international made seven saves - including one to deny Jamie Vardy from the penalty spot - to earn an important win for his side.

The personnel for this week dictates a back three led by the imperious Virgil van Dijk, who was once again a towering presence at both ends of the pitch as Liverpool beat United. The Dutchman scored the opener to get Liverpool on their way, while at the back he was as unflappable as ever en route to a seventh successive clean sheet.

Van Dijk is joined by a fellow Merseysider in Mason Holgate, who assisted Everton's equaliser against West Ham United in addition to making four tackles, two blocks, one interception and seven clearances, including one off the line.

Jamaal Lascelles completes the trio for his role in leading Newcastle to a memorable victory over Chelsea, winning five aerial duels and making 11 clearances as the Magpies kept their visitors at bay.

The three-at-the-back system means that Adama Traore is forced to feature as a wing-back following yet another effective display for Wolves. The Spaniard inspired his side's second-half comeback against Southampton, assisting two of their three goals as he continued his rich vein of form.

On the opposite flank, Enda Stevens gets the nod having had more touches than any other Sheffield United player during their draw at Arsenal, and he is joined in midfield by the man who earned the Blades that point. John Fleck's finish zipped off the surface and past Bernd Leno, ensuring Chris Wilder's high-flying side came away with a deserved result.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Fred both deserve mentions for their performances in the match at Anfield, but it is Liverpool's skipper Jordan Henderson who completes the midfield from that showdown. The Englishman put in a combative performance as Liverpool controlled the game for the most part, and it was a toss-up between him and Van Dijk for man of the match.

Two other players from the same game were also competing for man of the match - Sergio Aguero for Man City and Cenk Tosun for Crystal Palace, the latter impressing on his first start for his new club.

Tosun opened the scoring at the Etihad Stadium and threatened to do more damage to a shaky City defence as well, whereas Aguero continued his superb goalscoring form with a brace that takes him beyond 250 for Man City and clear of Frank Lampard in the all-time Premier League list.

Raul Jimenez rounds off this week's XI having also helped himself to a brace against Southampton, levelling things up with a cool penalty before completing the comeback in the final 15 minutes with a clinical finish.

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Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring their second goal on January 1, 2020
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Tuesday's key events


TRIATHLON
· Team GB trio Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth all have realistic medal hopes in the women's event (10.30pm-1am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After an impressive opening day, Great Britain play their final group game against a Fiji side level with them at the top of the pool, but also yet to hit their brilliant best (1.30am)

TAEKWONDO
· After disappointment for friend and housemate Jade Jones, Bianca Walkden will go for gold in the women's +67kg category (2am-2.30pm)
· Mahama Cho is another medal contender for Team GB in the men's +80kg class (2am-2.30pm)

SWIMMING
· Team GB's Duncan Scott has the chance to claim his first individual Olympic medal in the men's 200m freestyle final. Teammate Tom Dean is also involved. (2.43am)
· Kathleen Dawson is the Team GB representative in the women's 100m backstroke final (2.51am)

DIVING
· Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson will look to emulate Tom Daley and Matty Lee's success in the women's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three-time Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin is part of a Team GB team going for gold in the dressage team Grand Prix final (9.30am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Superstar Simone Biles leads the United States side in the women's team final (11.45am-2.10pm)

FOOTBALL
· Team GB's women's team play their final group game, taking on Canada with qualification for the knockout rounds already secured (12pm)

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