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Premier League Team of the Week - Hakim Ziyech, Andy Robertson, Josh Sargent

Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 24, including Hakim Ziyech, Andy Robertson and Josh Sargent.

Premier League sides prepare to take a break for the first international period of 2022, but not before serving up a tasty batch of fixtures up and down the country.

Manchester City continue to lead the way despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton, allowing Liverpool to close the gap with a 3-1 success away to Crystal Palace.

Chelsea ran out comfortable 2-0 winners in their North London derby with Tottenham Hotspur, but Manchester United left it until the last second to see off West Ham United 1-0.

Arsenal failed to climb back into the top four after being held to a goalless draw by Burnley, while Wolverhampton Wanderers' surge continued with an incident-packed 2-1 win at Brentford.

Everton began life after Rafael Benitez with a 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa, but Newcastle United claimed a vital win in the relegation scrap by seeing off Leeds United by the same scoreline.

Norwich City also came out on top in their basement battle with Watford by three goals to nil, while Brighton & Hove Albion managed to hold Leicester City to a 1-1 draw.

Here, Sports Mole selects the best performers from gameweek 24 to select an 11-man Premier League Team of the Week.


DEFENCE

Thiago Silva in action for Chelsea in January 2022© Reuters

As much as Arsenal's total lack of ruthlessness was to blame for the drab stalemate at the Emirates Stadium, take nothing away from Nick Pope's performance in between the sticks, as the Burnley number one came up with five saves - including a fantastic stop from Emile Smith Rowe - to preserve a point for the basement side.

Southampton's Kyle Walker-Peters may have stolen the headlines with his wonderfully-taken opener against Man City, but Mohammed Salisu's performance at the back was simply immense, as the 22-year-old won all seven of his ground duels and came up with 14 clearances, seven tackles, four interceptions and three blocks to prevent the champions from leaving the South Coast with maximum points.

Aston Villa on the other hand did leave Goodison Park with maximum points - thanks in no small part to the efforts of Tyrone Mings, who won four of his six aerial duels on the day while also making five clearances - including a vital header off the line from Ben Godfrey's effort to ensure that Steven Gerrard's return to hostile territory would be a memorable one.

Finally, Thiago Silva continues to justify his contract extension in the heart of the Chelsea defence, and the 37-year-old once again demonstrated his ageless qualities against Tottenham, sealing the victory with a well-taken header while also winning all five of his aerial duels and registering a staggering 96% pass accuracy.


MIDFIELD

Joao Moutinho celebrates scoring for Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2022© Reuters

To say that Hakim Ziyech's time at Stamford Bridge has been far from sunshine and rainbows would be an understatement, but the Blues will be counting their lucky stars that the attacker was snubbed by Morocco for the Africa Cup of Nations, as his stunning curler opened the scoring in the London derby with Spurs alongside his four tackles and two key passes on the day.

On the opposite side of our midfield five, Liverpool were once again indebted to Andy Robertson's assist mastery in their controversial win over Crystal Palace, as the Scotland international's corner met the head of Virgil van Dijk before his beautifully-weighted pass landed at the feet of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to put the Reds two goals to the good.

Leicester's Youri Tielemans did not produce any trademark wonder strikes during the visit of Brighton to the King Power Stadium, but the Belgian was a key presence in the Foxes midfield nonetheless, winning five of his six ground duels, making four tackles, registering two key passes and also making a clearance off the line from Dan Burn's goal bound effort.

If those operating the drone flying over the Brentford Community Stadium simply wanted to get a glimpse of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves's stellar midfield displays, they certainly got their money's worth. Moutinho's delightful outside-of-the-foot effort capped off a typically classy display from the Wolves man, who proceeded to set up Neves for his side's second - although Jonas Lossl will feel he should have done better - and the 24-year-old also made seven tackles during an all-action performance.


ATTACK

Norwich City's Josh Sargent celebrates scoring their second goal on January 21, 2022© Reuters

Seconds before Aston Villa's encounter with Everton was marred by the ugly scenes of objects being thrown in the direction of Gerrard's men, Emiliano Buendia's moment of quality from a corner settled the contest for the Lions, as the Argentine came up with a deft near-post header while also completing three of his four dribble attempts at Goodison Park.

However, Buendia's clever header was tame in comparison to Josh Sargent's performance against Watford, as the Hornets were stung by the scorpion. The Norwich man bagged his first Premier League goal in remarkable style with an improvised backheel flick before heading home to make it a brace for himself, and the Canaries will be hoping for more of the same from the 21-year-old in their bid for survival.


SPORTS MOLE'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

PL TOTW GW23

Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week (3-5-2): Pope; Salisu, Mings, T. Silva; Ziyech, Neves, Moutinho, Tielemans, Robertson; Buendia, Sargent


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Leicester City's Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring against Burnley in the Premier League on September 25, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City37286396247290
2Liverpool37278291256689
3Chelsea372011674324271
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs372151164402468
5Arsenal37213135647966
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd371610115756158
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham371681359481156
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves37156163740-351
9Leicester CityLeicester371310145858049
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton371115113943-448
11Brentford37137174754-746
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle371210154261-1946
13Crystal Palace371015124946345
14Aston Villa37136185051-145
15Southampton37913154263-2140
16Everton37116204261-1939
17Burnley37714163351-1835
18Leeds UnitedLeeds37811184078-3835
RWatford3765263375-4223
RNorwich CityNorwich3757252379-5622

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