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EPL 2016-17: Team of the Week - Gameweek 17

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Jordan Pickford of Sunderland reacts at the final whistle during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Watford at Stadium of Light on December 17, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Jordan Pickford celebrates his clean sheet against Watford
Tina Kaviraj

As we draw close to the end of the first half of the Premier League, Chelsea continues to sit atop the pile with their six-point lead. Many will say Arsenal have gone back to their rightful place in the world – back to fourth after their defeat against Manchester City. Liverpool were almost held to a draw but for Daniel Sturridge’s inspired bit of work in injury time that allowed Sadio Mane to score and Manchester United achieved a healthy victory against West Brom.

With more changes wrought at the bottom and middle of the table, here’s a look at Sportskeeda’s Team of the Week:

Goalkeeper

Jordan Pickford

Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has become crucial to the club’s survival this season as the shot stopper is sometimes the only thing standing between his team and yet another defeat. The 22-year-old kept his goal safe during the match against Watford and helped lift his team above bottom place in the league with a total of four saves.


Defenders

Cesar Azpilicueta

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea arrives at the stadiium prior to kick off during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea at Stadium of Light on December 14, 2016 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Cesar Azpilicueta made created two goalscoring opportunities for Chelsea against Crystal Palace

Cesar Azpilicueta or Dave, as Chelsea fans fondly call him, really can’t seem to make any mistakes this season. Whether it’s a back four or a back three, the Spaniard is a rock-solid presence in the heart of the Blues’ defence and proved it further against Crystal Palace. He made the all-important assist for Diego Costa’s only goal for the side and went on to keep the Eagles out to retain their six-point lead at the top of the table.

Marcos Rojo

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Jose Salomon Rondon of West Bromwich Albion (C) attempts to take the ball past Michael Carrick of Manchester United (L) and Marcos Rojo of Manchester United (R) during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on December 17, 2016 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Marcus Rojo (right) attempts to cut off Salomon Rondon’s pass (centre)

Marcos Rojo is more often than not criticised for his rash defending but the 26-year-old kept a level head against West Bromwich Albion. His minor scuffle with Salomon Rondon notwithstanding, the Argentine made 14 clearances against the Baggies, more than any of his other teammates and showed some great defensive resolution while under pressure.

Winston Reid

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Winston Reid of West Ham United (L) blocks a shot from Sam Clucas of Hull City (R) during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Hull City at London Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Stratford, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Winston Reid (left) blocks Sam Clucas’s shot

Winston Reid had a good game against Hull City as West Ham United was able to put some distance between themselves and the drop zone. The New Zealand international was precise making a total of 39 successful passes The centre-back could be seen taking on the opposition head-on making a combined five interceptions aginst the Tigers.

Patrick van Aanholt

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17:  Patrick van Aanholt of Sunderlandvies with Nordin Amrabat of Watford during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Watford at Stadium of Light on December 17, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Patrick van Aanholt (right) vies for the ball with Nordin Amartey (left)

Patrick van Aanholt has been just as his good as his keeper Jordan Pickford. The Dutch defender has been very impressive for the Black Cats and came through for his team once again during their fixture against Watford. Not only did the left-back keep the Hornets at bay but scored his side’s only goal making sure their Christmas weekend doesn’t begin at the absolute bottom of the table.


Midfielders

Leroy Sane

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: Leroy Sane of Manchester City (C) scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Leroy Sane (right) scores against Arsenal

Young Leroy Sane shone for the Citizens this past weekend in the absence of Sergio Aguero. The 20-year-old had a great game against Arsenal as he scored Manchester City’s equaliser soon after the start of the second half. The Gunners didn’t have the first clue about dealing with the German as he kept running into gaps in their defence thereby exposing their seemingly impenetrable defence.

Mark Noble

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Mark Noble of West Ham United celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Hull City at London Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Stratford, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Mark Noble scored West Ham United’s only goal from the penalty spot

The West Ham United skipper came through for the Hammers from the spot in the 75th minute to hand his team the win over Hull City. His passing in the midfield area was key to maintaining possession and helped them direct the tempo of the game as well. With an 85% passing accuracy in the final third, he was Slaven Bilic’s side’s most influential player.

Kevin de Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne’s form has suffered like the rest of his team’s but they all seemed to put that behind them against Arsenal. The Belgian kept up a flurry of crosses from the wings, seven in total and created as many goalscoring opportunities too. His passing was accurate as the Belgian also made 10 recoveries. The 25-year-old capped off his night by providing the assist for Raheem Sterling’s winning goal earning them three points.


Forwards

Alvaro Negredo

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Alvaro Negredo of Middlesbrough celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Swansea City at Riverside Stadium on December 17, 2016 in Middlesbrough, England.  (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
Alvaro Negredo scored a brace in the first half against Swansea

Manchester City reject Alvaro Negredo is doing quite well for himself in Middlesbrough. The Spaniard's double against Swansea City in the first-half all but ensured a victory for Aitor Karanka’s side as they rose to 14th position in the table. His first goal was an outstanding volley that left Lukasz Fabianski with no hope of saving it and his second came from the spot after Adam Forshaw had been fouled by Jordi Amat.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United (R) celebrates scoring his sides first goal with Jesse Lingard of Manchester United (L) during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on December 17, 2016 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates his first goal with Jesse Lingard

Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved that he can still win matches for his side after he scored a double against West Bromwich Albion. The Manchester United forward scored headed in his first goal of the night from a Jesse Lingard cross and then got really lucky with his second goal as his shot deflected off Gareth McAuley and found the back of the net. However, his little bit of skill before he took the shot was nothing short of genius.

Jay Rodriguez

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18:  Jay Rodriguez of Southampton (L) celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Southampton at Vitality Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Bournemouth, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Jay Rodriguez scored his first brace since March 2014

Southampton has really struggled to net goals in the absence of a natural forward but Jay Rodrguez made them forget about that particular problem during their match against Bournemouth. The Saints came from behind to win the match but not before Rodriguez had bagged a double for his side. His first goal was courtesy Artur Boruc’s mistake as the goalkeeper left his goal unguarded. His second came in the final five minutes of the game as he aimed a powerful drive into the back of the net, making it his first brace since March 2014.

Manager

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has definitely been knocked down a few pegs since his arrival to the Premier League but the Spaniard found something to celebrate ahead of the Christmas weekend. In spite of falling behind to Arsenal in the first half, Manchester City was able to fight back and win at home after Guardiola realised Arsenal was nowhere near performing at their best that night. Without the likes of Fernandinho and Sergio Aguero to boost his team, Guardiola made the most of the Gunners lack of resolve to rise to third place.


Where does Mane rank in Paul Merson's 5 greatest Liverpool signings of the Klopp era? Click here

Edited by Staff Editor

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