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Premier League Team of the Week - Josko Gvardiol, William Saliba, Moises Caicedo

:Headline: Premier League Team of the Week - Josko Gvardiol, William Saliba, Moises Caicedo:
Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week, including Josko Gvardiol, William Saliba and Moises Caicedo.
Sports Mole

The penultimate round of Premier League fixtures is done and dusted and the enthralling title race will go down to the final day of the season after both Arsenal and Manchester City claimed maximum points from their respective matches.

Pep Guardiola's men kick-started the weekend with a comfortable 4-0 away victory against mid-table Fulham, a day after Mikel Arteta's men battled to a slender 1-0 win at top-seven hopefuls Manchester United, meaning just one point separates the Gunners at the top of the table from the Citizens in second.

Aston Villa are on the cusp of securing Champions League football after salvaging a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool on Monday night, while fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 and relegate the Clarets in the process.

Luton Town's survival hopes are all but over following their 3-1 defeat at West Ham United in David Moyes's final home game in charge of the Hammers, while Nottingham Forest are set to avoid the drop despite losing 3-2 at home to a resurgent Chelsea outfit now in contention for a top-six finish.

Newcastle United's Europa League hopes remain in the balance after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton & Hove Albion, while Bournemouth slipped out of the top half of the table after losing 2-1 at home to Brentford.

Crystal Palace continued their fine run of form with a 3-1 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers and have subsequently climbed above the Old Gold in the table, while Everton claimed maximum points from their final home fixture of the season with a narrow 1-0 win over already-relegated Sheffield United.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for the penultimate round of fixtures in 2023-24.


DEFENCE

Bart Verbruggen is beginning to find his feet between the sticks for Brighton and he played a pivotal role in helping the Seagulls claim a point against Newcastle. The 21-year-old made a total of seven saves - the joint most across the gameweek - completed three run-outs, two high claims, nine long balls as well as made three clearances during an assured display at St James' Park.

Although Liverpool conceded three goals on Monday, one player who impressed was young defender Jarell Quansah, who slots in on the right side of the back four for the purposes of our TOTW. The 21-year-old towered above Lucas Digne to score his first Premier League goal, while he also won three tackles, made four blocks, four clearances, four ball recoveries and completed 92% of his passes.

Arsenal's exceptional defensive record this season is the mark of champions and one of their standout performers this season has been William Saliba, who made the most tackles (four) and most clearances (six) of any Gunners players in their win at Man United. The Frenchman also won 100% of his ground duels (7/7) and aerial duels (3/3) as well as completed 90.5% of his passes during a colossal display at Old Trafford.

Everton were the only team along with Arsenal and Man City who kept a clean sheet in the latest round of Premier League fixtures, and the performance of James Tarkowski was key in helping the Toffees keep Sheffield United quiet. The Englishman blocked six shots, won four aerial duels and two ground duels, made three clearances and three successful ball recoveries to prevent the Blades from breaching Everton's solid backline.

Completing our back four is in-form Man City man Josko Gvardiol, who is enjoying a surprise purple patch in front of goal. The Croatian has now scored five goals in his last seven games, including a brace in the Citizens' win at Fulham, firstly rolling a composed right-footed finish into the bottom corner before sliding in at the back post to net his second.


MIDFIELD

While Gvardiol rightly received all the plaudits from City's win at Fulham, Bernardo Silva was another who impressed for the Citizens at both ends of the pitch while operating on the right side of midfield. The tireless Portuguese playmaker registered two assists, while he also created four chances, made five ball recoveries, two clearances, won four duels and completed 93% of his passes.

One performance that seems to have gone under the radar this week is that of Chelsea's Moises Caicedo, who enjoyed an impressive all-round display against Forest. The Ecuadorian made a team-high 11 progressive passes, seven ball recoveries, three blocks, three clearances and completed 92% of his passes, while he also assisted Raheem Sterling for his equaliser late in the game.

Although he has been excelling as a false nine in recent months, Kai Havertz slots into our three-man midfield after putting in a superb shift both offensively and defensively against Man United. The German was alert to set up Leandro Trossard for the game's only goal, while he also contributed with a team-high eight duels, including five aerial duels, three successful tackles and two key passes at Old Trafford.


ATTACK

For the second week running, Michael Olise makes our TOTW after another standout performance for Crystal Palace. The winger opened the scoring against Wolves with a superb curling strike - his 10th league goal of the season - before setting up Eberechi Eze with a perfectly-weighted through-ball. That assist was one of two key passes made by Olise, who also made three progressive carries, won three fouls and made a team-high six ground duels.

Eze also makes our TOTW as it was his individual brilliance and clinical finish that helped restored Palace's two-goal advantage at Molineux. The Englishman has thrived in an advanced role alongside Olise since the arrival of manager Oliver Glasner, and as well as his well-taken strike, he created two big chances, won four ground duels and completed 19 of his 21 passes.

Duran Duran are known globally as a band from Birmingham, but a 20-year-old from Colombia gave it a whole different meaning on Monday night. Indeed, Aston Villa striker Jhon Duran was introduced as a substitute with 11 minutes to go when Liverpool were 3-1 ahead, but he scored twice in the final five minutes to snatch a 3-3 draw for Unai Emery's men. Duran firstly arrowed a powerful strike from the edge of the area into the bottom corner, before instinctively deflecting a shot from Moussa Diaby - who can count himself unfortunate to be overlooked for our TOTW - in off his thigh to put Villa on the brink of Champions League qualification.


SPORTS MOLE'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week (4-3-3): Verbruggen; Quansah, Saliba, Tarkowski, Gvardiol; Bernardo, Caicedo, Havertz; Olise, Duran, Eze


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Read more about Josko Gvardiol William Saliba Moises Caicedo Bart Verbruggen Jarell Quansah James Tarkowski Bernardo Silva Kai Havertz Michael Olise Eberechi Eze Jhon Duran Pep Guardiola Mikel Arteta David Moyes Lucas Digne Raheem Sterling Leandro Trossard Oliver Glasner Unai Emery Moussa Diaby Football
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
2Arsenal38285591296289
3Liverpool382410486414582
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
6Chelsea381891177631463
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
12Bournemouth38139165467-1348
13Fulham38138175561-647
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
15Everton38139164051-1140
16Brentford38109195665-939
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RBurnley3859244178-3724
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916
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