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Premier League Team of the Week - Son Heung-min, Bernardo Silva, John McGinn

Sports Mole picks its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 16, including Son Heung-min, Bernardo Silva and John McGinn.

Pole position in the race for Premier League supremacy has changed hands once again, as Liverpool end the weekend atop the standings owing to a 2-1 come-from-behind success against Crystal Palace in the Saturday lunchtime kickoff.

The Reds' Selhurst Park success saw them usurp Arsenal, who missed the chance to respond in a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, who rose to third place owing to their record-breaking 15th Premier League home win on the trot.

Faltering holders Manchester City pulled themselves out of their rut by fighting back to defeat a valiant Luton Town side 2-1, while Tottenham Hotspur ended their own winless streak by crushing Newcastle United 4-1.

Manchester United and Chelsea's problems mounted, though, as the Red Devils were destroyed 3-0 at home by Bournemouth one day before the Blues were beaten 2-0 by Everton at Goodison Park.

Fulham incredibly made it back-to-back 5-0 home wins with a five-star mauling of West Ham United, and Sheffield United head coach Chris Wilder claimed his first three points since his homecoming, overseeing a 1-0 beating of Brentford.

Brighton & Hove Albion were forced to accept a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Burnley, and the same scoreline also appeared on the Molineux screens during Wolverhampton Wanderers' clash with Nottingham Forest, plunging Steve Cooper's future into further uncertainty.

Here, Sports Mole picks its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 16.


DEFENCE

Burnley's James Trafford after the match on August 11, 2023© Reuters

As much as Brighton may feel that profligacy contributed to their failure to beat Burnley at the Amex, the Seagulls came up against an on-song James Trafford in the Clarets goal, as the 21-year-old made a whopping 10 saves on the South Coast, including an acrobatic stunner to deny Kaoru Mitoma a certain winner.

Sheffield United centre-back Anel Ahmedhodzic made headlines in midweek after failing to don the rainbow armband, but the Bosnian let his on-field actions do the talking in his side's beating of Brentford, where he contributed 11 clearances and four tackles in a monstrous defensive display.

While he was arguably fortunate not to see red for an apparent elbow on Eddie Nketiah in Villa's victory over Arsenal, Diego Carlos was central to the Lions' remarkable rearguard efforts against the Gunners, making a pair of goal-saving interventions as well as five tackles to send the Gunners home empty-handed.

Trafford, Ahmedhodzic and Carlos were all lauded for their contributions in the defensive third over the weekend, but Bournemouth's Marcos Senesi made his presence felt in both Old Trafford boxes. As well as chipping in with eight clearances, three blocks and two tackles, the ex-Feyenoord man peeled away from his marker to head home the Cherries' third from a corner, thus rubber-stamping one of Bournemouth's greatest-ever Premier League victories.



MIDFIELD

Aston Villa's John McGinn celebrates scoring their first goal on December 9, 2023© Reuters

Saturday's clash at Old Trafford pitted £85m Antony against £10.2m Marcus Tavernier, and the Bournemouth man's stock continued to rise with a pair of terrific assists, crossing for both Senesi and Philip Billing to continue the sort of form which saw him nominated for November's Player of the Month prize.

Over at Villa Park, ex-Arsenal boss Unai Emery had the last laugh against his former club thanks to an early strike from John McGinn, who produced a sumptuous turn inside the box before picking out the corner with aplomb, and the Scotsman also contributed five tackles and two interceptions en route to Lions history.

Arsenal's loss was Man City's gain at the weekend, although the Citizens required a quintessential all-action performance from Bernardo Silva to get the job done against Luton. The effervescent Portuguese midfielder produced a stunning first-time finish into the bottom corner to draw the champions level, while also creating three chances and completing 89% of his passes at Kenilworth Road.

Tottenham's Destiny Udogie is more than worthy of a mention here, but the Lilywhites will be well-represented later on, and Vitaliy Mykolenko's contribution versus Chelsea could not be overlooked. Nullifying the Blues' right-hand side all game long, the Ukrainian made seven tackles, six clearances and two blocks on a glorious Goodison occasion.



ATTACK

Tottenham Hotspur's Richarlison celebrates scoring their second goal on December 10, 2023© Reuters

Fulham attacker Harry Wilson was overlooked for a starting role when the Cottagers welcomed West Ham to their headquarters, but the ex-Liverpool man has certainly given Marco Silva food for thought moving forward, netting the Cottagers' fourth with an incredible curling effort into the top corner before unselfishly squaring for Carlos Vinicius to complete the rout.

Not since his days in an Everton strip had Richarlison netted a Premier League brace or even scored a top-flight goal with his feet, but the Tottenham man lifted that hoodoo in the crushing of Newcastle, producing a calm side-footed finish to double the advantage before poking home from an acute angle in a highly promising North London display.

Also helping to ensure that Spurs would not suffer another calamitous collapse after taking the lead, Son Heung-min flaunted his playmaking qualities in the first half of Sunday's affair, acting as provider for both Udogie and Richarlison before netting his 10th Premier League goal of the season from the penalty spot late on. The South Korea captain has now reached double figures in eighth consecutive top-flight English seasons, joining Wayne Rooney, Sadio Mane, Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard, Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane in that elite crowd.



SPORTS MOLE'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

PL TOTW GW16

Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week (3-4-3): Trafford; Ahmedhodzic, Carlos, Senesi; Tavernier, McGinn, B. Silva, Mykolenko; H. Wilson, Richarlison, Son

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Today's games header
Tables header RHS
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26186263253860
2Manchester CityMan City25175358263256
3Arsenal25174458223655
4Aston Villa25154652331949
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs25145652381447
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd2514293534144
7Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2510874840838
8Newcastle UnitedNewcastle251141053411237
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham2510693644-836
10Chelsea25105104241135
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves25105103940-135
12Fulham2585123441-729
13Bournemouth2477103346-1328
14Brentford2574143544-925
15Crystal Palace2567122844-1625
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2566133244-1224
17Everton2586112733-620
18Luton TownLuton2555153551-1620
19Burnley2534182555-3013
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2534182265-4313

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