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Premier League Team of the Week - Erling Haaland, Declan Rice, Thiago Silva

:Headline: Premier League Team of the Week - Erling Haaland, Declan Rice, Thiago Silva:
Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week, including Erling Haaland, Declan Rice and Thiago Silva.
Sports Mole

It is as you were in terms of the Premier League title race following this weekend's enthralling action, as Arsenal earned a 3-0 triumph over Bournemouth to remain one point clear at the top of the standings.

However, the crown is still Manchester City's to lose thanks to their 5-1 crushing of Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Liverpool are clinging onto their slim hopes of stardom, besting Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at Anfield.

Thankfully for Spurs, their Champions League bid is not completely dead in the water as Aston Villa went down 1-0 to Brighton & Hove Albion, while Manchester United suffered their worst loss of the top-flight season, being annihilated 4-0 by Crystal Palace.

In contrast, fellow European hopefuls Chelsea and Newcastle United were dishing out the beatings, as the Blues smashed West Ham United 5-0 to hammer the final nail in David Moyes's coffin, while the Magpies eased past Championship-bound Burnley 4-1.

Down the bottom of the division, Nottingham Forest boosted their survival chances by defeating already-demoted Sheffield United 3-1, Luton Town and Everton's Friday night battle ended all square in a 1-1 draw, while West London rivals Brentford and Fulham played out a forgettable goalless stalemate.

Here, Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week for the latest round of fixtures.


DEFENCE

Despite possessing World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez as his number one, Villa boss Unai Emery was keen to stress the qualities of Robin Olsen, who stepped in at the Amex for his injured senior. The Spaniard's comments were well-founded, as Olsen kept Villa in the tie with seven saves, including stopping Joao Pedro's penalty before being deceived by the rebound.

Speaking of South Americans doing the business in the final third, Palace right-back Daniel Munoz was one of Man United's tormentors on Monday night and laid on both assists for Michael Olise's strikes. Firstly picking out the Frenchman with a throw from inside his own half, the January arrival then stole possession off of a dilly-dallying Casemiro and fizzed a perfect pass into his teammate, who duly completed the Selhurst Park slaughter.

Thiago Silva's Chelsea days may be numbered, but the 39-year-old put in a Stamford Bridge performance to be proud of against West Ham. As well as heading the ball down for Noni Madueke to score, the Brazilian completed a staggering 99% of his passes, made eight clearances and successfully won three tackles in a classy performance from the back.

Fulham's Tosin Adarabioyo is thought to be on Chelsea's list of possible replacements for Silva, but with the soon-to-be free agent not involved in the derby with Brentford ahead of his exit, Issa Diop stole the defensive limelight. In a game with few standout players, Diop produced two point-saving contributions - one last-man tackle and clearing Keane Lewis-Potter's effort off the line - while also winning both of his aerial duels to deny the Bees the breakthrough.

While Andrew Robertson and Tyrick Mitchell were among the goals in the latest gameweek, the performance of Forest's rearguard rock Murillo against Sheffield United justified shoe-horning the Brazilian into a left-back role. Matching Diop with a last-man challenge of his own, Murillo totalled five clearances, three blocks, four interceptions and two tackles to move the Tricky Trees one step closer to survival.


MIDFIELD

By Jurgen Klopp's own admission, he has not given Harvey Elliott all the opportunities he deserves in the Reds midfield this season, but the England Under-21 international should have already entered Arne Slot's good books. Selected from the off versus Spurs, Elliott delivered a perfect cross for Cody Gakpo before cutting inside and firing an incredible left-footed strike into the top corner; Arjen Robben eat your heart out.

Another week, another majestic midfield display from City's dynamo Rodri, who weighed in with two assists in the battering of Wolves. Firstly chipping an exquisite ball to the back stick for Erling Haaland to head in, the Spaniard subsequently sprayed a crisp pass out to Julian Alvarez to round off the scoring and ended the afternoon with five key passes, four tackles and a 93% passing accuracy to his name.

Arguably the league's second-most influential midfielder behind Rodri, Arsenal's £105m man Declan Rice more than made up for a huge first-half miss against Bournemouth with a magnificent second-half display. The Englishman's improvised flick to Leandro Trossard allowed the Belgian to pick his spot into the bottom corner, and he subsequently wrapped up the win with a thumping finish from a tight angle for his seventh top-flight strike of a wonderful campaign.


ATTACK

Mohamed Salah and Jacob Murphy can count themselves unfortunate to be overlooked, but Michael Olise's man-of-the-match display versus Man United was impossible to ignore. As appalling as the Red Devils' defending was for his first goal, he still made Casemiro look a fool before finding the bottom corner with panache, and he took his second of the night like a seasoned striker, potentially putting himself in the shop window for a move up the Premier League ladder.

Over at Bramall Lane, the redemption of Callum Hudson-Odoi has been one of the feel-good stories of 2024, as the ex-Chelsea winger struck his first Premier League brace in the beating of Sheffield United. A beautiful curling effort preceded a woodwork hit for the 22-year-old, but he quickly followed up that close call with a carbon copy of the strike, and that one did make the net bulge as Forest put the Blades to the sword.

However, Olise and Hudson-Odoi's four strikes between them is exactly what the irrepressible Erling Haaland managed in just 54 minutes against Wolves, where he had already guaranteed a match ball by the half-time whistle and produced a ruthless finish to complete his quartet. Another Golden Boot surely beckons for the Norwegian, although his unsavoury reaction to being substituted and subsequent war of words with Roy Keane was an unnecessary dampener.


SPORTS MOLE'S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK

Sports Mole's Premier League Team of the Week (4-3-3): Olsen; Munoz, T. Silva, Diop, Murillo; Elliott, Rodri, Rice; Olise, Haaland, Hudson-Odoi


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Read more about David Moyes Thiago Silva Declan Rice Erling Haaland Robin Olsen Emiliano Martinez Joao Pedro Daniel Munoz Michael Olise Casemiro Noni Madueke Tosin Adarabioyo Issa Diop Keane Lewis-Potter Tyrick Mitchell Murillo Andrew Robertson Harvey Elliott Jurgen Klopp Arne Slot Cody Gakpo Julian Alvarez Arjen Robben Rodri Leandro Trossard Unai Emery Mohamed Salah Jacob Murphy Roy Keane 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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