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Premier League Team of the Week - Zinchenko, Garnacho, Guimaraes

Sports Mole picks its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 13, including Oleksandr Zinchenko, Alejandro Garnacho and Bruno Guimaraes.

Gameweek 13 of the 2023-24 Premier League season was a particularly unlucky one for defences, with only two clean sheets to show from 10 gripping top-flight fixtures following the third international break of the season.

Arsenal will begin December atop the standings owing to their 1-0 win over Brentford, prior to which Manchester City and Liverpool failed to lay down a major marker in the title race, playing out a 1-1 draw at the Etihad to gift the Gunners the chance to jump up the rankings.

Aston Villa have replaced Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth and final Champions League spot owing to their 2-1 beating of the Lilywhites, who have now lost three in a row, while Manchester United won a Premier League game by at least two goals for the first time this season, sinking Everton 3-0.

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino lamented his side's "worst game" of the season as the Blues were demolished 4-1 by Newcastle United, and another five-goal thriller at the City Ground saw Brighton & Hove Albion end their winless run in the top flight by beating Nottingham Forest 3-2.

Fulham also prevailed against Wolverhampton Wanderers by the same scoreline in a tale of three penalties, while Luton Town have a first Premier League home win to shout about, defeating Crystal Palace 2-1 at Kenilworth Road.

However, Burnley have now lost seven on the bounce at Turf Moor, where West Ham United dramatically came from behind to prevail 2-1, while Sheffield United also disappointed the home crowd, losing 3-1 to Bournemouth at Bramall Lane.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 13.


Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates scoring for Arsenal on November 11, 2023© Reuters

While Andre Onana deserves a mention as just one of two goalkeepers to record a shut-out this weekend alongside Aaron Ramsdale - whose display left a lot to be desired - Luton would still be searching for a maiden Premier League home win had it not been for Thomas Kaminski, who came up with seven saves to thwart Palace and could do nothing about Michael Olise's wonder strike.

One member of Kaminski's shield also warrants a place in our gameweek 13 selection, as defender Teden Mengi - whose fledgling career has been blighted by injuries - produced a smart finish across goal to break the deadlock, and the 21-year-old helped out at the other end with 10 clearances and three tackles to get the Hatters over the line.

Another goalscoring defender in another 2-1 victory, Aston Villa's Pau Torres made a brilliant run to meet an injury-time Douglas Luiz free kick against Tottenham, before shrugging off Ben Davies and powering a header home, and the Spaniard also won five of his six ground duels to aid the Lions' charge into the top four.

While Mengi and Torres were lauded for their contributions in the opposition penalty area, Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko was the hero in his own six-yard box against Brentford - stretching to block a Neal Maupay header on the line after Declan Rice had also denied Bryan Mbeumo in similar circumstances - and the Ukrainian also created two chances and completed 93% of his passes in another London derby win for the league leaders.


Anthony Gordon celebrates scoring for Newcastle United on August 27, 2023© Reuters

While some people wait a while for a bus then two come at once, Bournemouth's Marcus Tavernier waited three months to open his account for the 2023-24 league season and ended up scoring a brace against Sheffield United, following up a composed first-half strike with a first-time effort at the back stick to propel the Cherries to back-to-back victories.

West Ham United's Mohammed Kudus could not match Tavernier on the goalscoring front last weekend, but the Ghana attacker made a pair of pivotal contributions of his own to the Irons' stunning fightback versus Burnley. After conceding the penalty for Jay Rodriguez to convert, Kudus made amends and then some, beating four players before providing the cross which led to Dara O'Shea's own goal, and his injury-time delivery was on the money for Tomas Soucek to crash home a dramatic late clincher.

Bernardo Silva can count himself unfortunate not to make the cut this time around, having glided across the field with unparalleled flamboyance against Liverpool, but Bruno Guimaraes ran the show for Newcastle in their crushing of Chelsea. While not bagging a goal or assist on the day, the Brazilian completed all four of his dribble attempts, made three tackles and saw seven of his 10 long passes come off in an astounding all-around engine room display.

Guimaraes is one of two Magpies representatives to feature in our Premier League XI this week, as Anthony Gordon continued to justify his £45m price tag against the Blues, picking out Jamaal Lascelles for the hosts' second goal before coolly slotting home Newcastle's fourth into the bottom corner, which took him up to eight direct contributions from 12 league appearances this season.


Manchester United's Alejandro Garnacho scores their first goal on November 26, 2023© Reuters

As Brighton's injury crisis worsened at the City Ground, Joao Pedro was called upon earlier than expected to fill the Ansu Fati-shaped void in the Seagulls' attack against Nottingham Forest, and the ex-Watford man would be the unlikely saviour for Roberto De Zerbi, netting twice through a sublime header and calm penalty to end Brighton's lengthy wait for another top-flight win.

Palace's wing wizard Michael Olise may have ended up on the losing side at Kenilworth Road, but the much-coveted Frenchman undoubtedly scored the best Premier League goal that Luton's humble stadium has seen to date, embarking on a magnificent solo run before unleashing a sublime curler into the top corner, and he also created three chances for his teammates, albeit to no avail.

Olise's wonder strike immediately entered the goal of the season conversation, with many believing that the 21-year-old's special effort would not be topped between now and the conclusion of the campaign. A penny for Olise's thoughts just after 4.30pm on Sunday, though, as Alejandro Garnacho channelled his inner Wayne Rooney with an outrageous bicycle kick against Everton, one which ought to be forever be remembered as one of the greatest strikes the Premier League has ever seen.



Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week (3-4-3): Kaminski; P. Torres, Mengi, Zinchenko; Tavernier, Guimaraes, Kudus, Gordon; Olise, Pedro, Garnacho

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Tables header RHS
2Manchester CityMan City26185359263359
4Aston Villa26164656352152
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs25145652381447
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd26142103636044
7Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2610974941839
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves26115104040038
9Newcastle UnitedNewcastle26114115445937
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2510693644-836
13Crystal Palace2677123144-1328
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2666143448-1424
18Luton TownLuton2555153551-1620
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2634192266-4413

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