Thursday, February 20

Premier League Team of the Week - Jordan Henderson, Ayoze Perez, Moise Kean

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Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 24, including Jordan Henderson, Ayoze Perez and Moise Kean.
By , Editor | 26d

Liverpool overcame one of their toughest remaining hurdles to close out gameweek 24 in the Premier League season, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at Molineux to extend their astonishing run of form and take another step towards the possibility of an Invincible season.

The lead remains at 16 points after Manchester City edged past Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Tuesday night, and third-placed Leicester City found things more straightforward in their 4-1 victory over West Ham United.

The battle for the final Champions League spot continues to be defined by inconsistency, though, as Chelsea twice threw away leads against 10-man Arsenal to draw 2-2 and Manchester United slumped to a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Burnley.

Those results allowed Tottenham Hotspur to close the gap courtesy of their first league win of 2020 at Norwich City's expense, leaving the Canaries still rooted to the bottom of the table.

Aston Villa snatched a late win over relegation rivals Watford, while there was also late drama at Goodison Park where Everton somehow squandered a 2-0 lead deep into stoppage time.

Bournemouth stopped the rot with a much-needed victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, while their near neighbours Southampton continued their rise up the table with a 2-0 triumph at Crystal Palace.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League team of the week for gameweek 24.

There were a number of outstanding goalkeeping performances this week; Nick Pope made seven saves as Burnley kept a clean sheet against Manchester United, while Dean Henderson pulled off three stunning saves - including one from the penalty spot - in Sheffield United's narrow defeat to Man City.

However, Bournemouth's Aaron Ramsdale just pips them both to the gloves in this week's team after making a string of eye-catching stops to help the Cherries to an overdue victory. The youngster made seven saves overall, and many of them were of the highest order.

Burnley's first win at Old Trafford since 1962 does earn them one representative in this team, though, with Ben Mee making an impact at both ends of the field. The centre-back got the assist for Chris Wood's opener with a towering header and also made a game-high nine clearances to keep United at bay.

In terms of pure impact on a game, no-one can compete with Florian Lejeune in this week's XI, with the Newcastle defender coming off the bench to score goals in the 94th and 95th minutes, rescuing the unlikeliest of points when it looked as though all hope was lost for the Magpies.

Liverpool once again got the job done by a narrow margin against Wolves - their 15th one-goal victory this season - and Joe Gomez was instrumental in ensuring that Wolves did not do more damage during their time in the ascendency, as was his centre-back partner Virgil van Dijk.

Arguably Liverpool's best performer in recent weeks has been Jordan Henderson, and the captain was once again inspirational at Molineux. There was the usual work rate and endeavour, while he also scored the first and created the winner as Liverpool kept their remarkable run going.

Southampton's James Ward-Prowse joins Henderson in central midfield, although he had to play most of the win over Crystal Palace as an emergency full-back. Even from there he was always involved, while his defensive work against Wilfried Zaha was also impressive for a player who is not a natural in that position.

The 3-4-3 formation means that Harvey Barnes has to play in a slightly deeper role than usual as Leicester provide both wing-backs, with Ricardo Pereira joining in on the opposite flank after the pair set each other up for the opening two goals against West Ham.

Ayoze Perez made sure of that win with two goals in the final 10 minutes, first converting confidently from the penalty spot in the absence of the injured Jamie Vardy and then capping off the scoring in the 88th minute.

The likes of Adama Traore and Kevin De Bruyne were also considered for attacking roles, but Nathan Redmond's performance made him a shoo-in as he scored a fine opener for Southampton against Crystal Palace before setting up Stuart Armstrong for the second shortly after half time.

Chris Wood and Roberto Firmino were also considered for the central striking role, but in the end it came down to two Everton men and Moise Kean just pips Dominic Calvert-Lewin to the number nine role. Kean was euphoric after finally breaking his Everton duck as he produced his best performance yet for the Toffees, only to be on the wrong end of Newcastle's gut-wrenching late salvo.

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Premier League Table
2Manchester CityMan City26173667293854
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2666143045-1524
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418
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Championship Table
1West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom331712459362363
2Leeds UnitedLeeds33178848301859
5Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest331510845331255
6Preston North EndPreston331581047371053
7Bristol City33158104846253
8Blackburn RoversBlackburn331481148381050
9Cardiff CityCardiff33121474845350
11Swansea CitySwansea33121294141048
12Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds33128134138344
13Derby CountyDerby331111114145-444
14Birmingham CityBirmingham33128134249-744
16Queens Park RangersQPR33126155158-742
17Hull City33118144751-441
19Charlton AthleticCharlton3399154147-636
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3399153852-1436
21Stoke CityStoke33104194153-1234
22Wigan AthleticWigan33710163350-1731
23Luton TownLuton3393213966-2730
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