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Premier League Team of the Week - Phil Foden, Kai Havertz, Cristian Romero

Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 27, including Phil Foden, Kai Havertz and Cristian Romero.

It is as you were in the Premier League title race following the events of gameweek 27, in which Liverpool retained their one-point lead at the summit with a drama-filled - and controversy-filled - 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest.

Manchester City remain on the Reds' coat-tails, having come from behind to best local rivals Manchester United 3-1, before Arsenal set a new English football league record in a 6-0 dismantling of Sheffield United.

Aston Villa rode their luck against Luton Town but came away with a 3-2 triumph to maintain their grip on fourth place over Tottenham Hotspur, who conceded first at home again but harnessed their powers of recovery to beat Crystal Palace 3-1 in that London derby.

Another all-capital clash at the Gtech Community Stadium saw West London foes Brentford and Chelsea shake hands on a 2-2 draw, while West Ham United travelled back to the capital revelling in a late 3-1 beating of Everton.

Elsewhere, Fulham tore Brighton & Hove Albion to shreds in a 3-0 Craven Cottage crushing, Newcastle United got back to winning ways against Wolverhampton Wanderers by the same scoreline, and Bournemouth's first league victory of 2024 arrived in a 2-0 success over Burnley.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for the latest round of fixtures.


DEFENCE

Tottenham Hotspur's Cristian Romero celebrates scoring their second goal on March 2, 2024© Reuters

Arguably producing one of the finest goalkeeping displays in the 2023-24 top-flight campaign to date, West Ham's Alphonse Areola earned his keep at Goodison Park with a remarkable nine saves to almost keep Everton entirely at bay, including guessing correctly to deny Beto from the spot and a remarkable dash across his six-yard box to keep Dwight McNeil out.

A left-footed goal is a collector's item for Arsenal right-back Ben White, who had minimal defending to do during the rout of Sheffield United but found the bottom corner like a veteran number nine to complete the six-goal slaughter, in which he also created one big chance and completed 90& of his passes.

It was not only the red half of North London celebrating in gameweek 27, as Tottenham rectified their recent home mistakes against Crystal Palace thanks in no small part to Cristian Romero, who found the bottom corner with a deft header to Spurs ahead for the first time in the match - one of six aerials duels the Argentine won from seven such battles in the capital.

The fourth London-based rearguard representative in our selection, West Ham's Kurt Zouma also flaunted his prowess in the air to magnificent effect versus the Toffees, emulating Romero by finding the corner with his back to goal while also contributing to the defensive effort with six clearances and two blocks on Merseyside soil.

In previous years, the thought of an injury to creator-in-chief Kieran Trippier would be a nightmarish scenario for the Newcastle faithful, but Eddie Howe is blessed with a more than capable deputy in Tino Livramento, whose strong solo run against Wolves ended with his first goal for the club - managing to sweep the ball home despite losing his balance - while he won both of his aerial contests and four of his five ground duels in another praiseworthy performance.


MIDFIELD

Manchester City's Phil Foden applauds fans after being substituted on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Enjoying the freedom of the final third while Jorginho mopped up defensively, Declan Rice continued to demonstrate his added goal threat during Arsenal's pummelling of Sheffield United, getting to the byline and cutting back for Martin Odegaard - although a slight deflection meant that he was not credited with the assist - before a clinical first-time finish for his fifth of the season and 10th top-flight goal contribution overall.

From the £105m maestro to the man that West Ham replaced him with, Edson Alvarez was the heartbeat of the Irons team during their late rally at Goodison Park. As well as bursting forward and calmly lifting the ball over Jordan Pickford to round off the scoring, the ex-Ajax lynchpin made five interceptions, five tackles, three blocks and completed four successful dribbles in a Rolls-Royce performance.

After Marcus Rashford had given Man United a derby-day lead with a 25-yard thunderbolt, the Englishman's Etihad strike would seemingly take home the goal-of-the-week award unrivalled. Up steps Phil Foden, who got the champions back on level terms with a long-range rocket of his own, before capping off a masterful attacking display - in which he fired a total of nine shots - with a fine strike across goal for his 17th of the season in all tournaments.


ATTACK

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring against Fulham on February 17, 2024© Reuters

Another acknowledgement goes to Fulham's in-form talisman Rodrigo Muniz, but the Brazilian just misses out on a spot in our XI to his fellow Cottager Harry Wilson, who - like Foden - found the mark against Brighton with an excellent left-footed strike of his own, before delivering a perfect cross for Muniz to direct a bullet header into the Seagulls' goal.

Justifying his selection over the injury-riddled Gabriel Jesus once again, the reborn Kai Havertz made it three goals from his last three Premier League games for Arsenal on Monday night, also taking one out of the Foden playbook with a clinical finish across goal before taking the ball down with an exquisite touch in the second half and claiming an assist for White - one of four chances he fashioned for his teammates.

In a league of his own when it comes to English top-flight goal contributions in 2023-24, Aston Villa marksman Ollie Watkins moved onto a staggering 26 direct involvements for the season against Luton, notching his second brace in three gameweeks with a pinpoint header and a thunderous strike in off the post to help keep the Lions in control of their top-four destiny.


SPORTS MOLE'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

PL TOTW GW27

Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week (4-3-3): Areola; White, Romero, Zouma, Livramento; Rice, Alvarez, Foden; Wilson, Watkins, Havertz


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