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Premier League Team of the Week for Gameweek 14

Is it now Liverpool’s title to lose? Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders moved 11 points clear of Manchester City after the champions dropped points more this weekend, though Leicester maintained their march as the Merseyside club’s nearest challengers with a late victory over Everton.

Elsewhere the resurgence of Tottenham and Dele Alli continued, whilst there were shock results at both Turf Moor and Stamford Bridge.

So as always, here is The Football Faithful‘s Premier League Team of the Week…

Goalkeeper: David Martin – West Ham

It was one hell of a story for the West Ham goalkeeper this weekend, the boyhood Hammers fan making his debut for the club at 33-years-old and keeping a clean sheet in a surprise win for Manuel Pellegrini’s struggling side at Chelsea.

His father Alvin had captained the side to their highest ever league finish back in 1986, and it was a joyous moment for the Martin family, the shot-stopper reduced to tears at the final whistle.

There has been little to cheer about at the London Stadium in recent weeks, but the veteran stepping in admirably to help the club’s goalkeeping woes and secure a precious three points has been a rare positive.

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool

Arguably Liverpool‘s worst league performance of the season proved to matter little courtesy of their threat from set-pieces, with a pair of pinpoint Alexander-Arnold deliveries gratefully being turned home by Virgil van Dijk in the first half.

The England international was absent for the midweek draw with Napoli in the Champions League and his penetration from the right-flank was duly missed, though returning to the starting XI against Brighton he proved why he remains just so crucial to Liverpool’s title-chasing side.

No side has scored more set-pieces than Liverpool since the start of last season, Alexander-Arnold’s delivery crucial to that statistic.

Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool

Joining his teammate in our defence is Van Dijk, the recipient of Alexander-Arnold’s deliveries proving to be an unlikely match-winner against Brighton at Anfield.

The Dutchman’s brace means that no defender has now scored more goals since the beginning of last season, his towering presence giving Liverpool a huge threat from set-pieces.

Reports have suggested that he could miss out on the Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi, though he remains as crucial as ever to Liverpool’s push for team success this season.

See also – Klopp not focusing on Liverpool’s 11 point lead at the top of Premier League

Centre-back: Fabian Balbuena – West Ham

A welcome return to the West Ham side for the Paraguay international, who has struggled to replicate the strong form he showed in his first season at the London Stadium.

Replacing Issa Diop at the heart of the defence alongside Angelo Ogbonna, Balbuena produced a towering display, throwing his body on the line and making a superb block to deny Pedro.

West Ham have looked shaky at the back in recent weeks, and the return to form of Balbuena could go some way to solving their defensive woes.

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Left-back: – Aaron Cresswell – West Ham

The match-winner for West Ham at Chelsea, Cresswell got forward brilliantly to score the only goal of the game, cutting inside Reece James to fire home on his supposedly weaker right foot to seal a vital three points for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

It was the club’s first win at their London rivals in 17 years, and could be the kickstart they need to get their season back on track following a run of seven games without a win.

Right-wing: Todd Cantwell – Norwich

Norwich may have struggled at times this season, but their young England U21 international has shown he is more than capable of thriving at Premier League level.

Unlucky to miss out on our Team of the Week last week, Todd Cantwell is included following another impressive performance against Arsenal at Carrow Road, capped with a goal to help Daniel Farke’s side to a point.

It’s now four league goals for the 21-year-old, who seems to have a knack of scoring in the biggest games for the club, netting against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal already this season.

See also – Ljungburg ‘disappointed’ to start Arsenal tenure with 2-2 win away at Norwich

Midfield: James Ward-Prowse – Southampton

A huge win for Southampton, who moved within two points of escaping the Premier League’s bottom three courtesy of a stirring comeback win against fellow strugglers Watford at St Mary’s.

The 25-year-old is so often his side’s creative heartbeat, whilst his threat from a dead-ball was once again evident as he curled home a superb free-kick to seal a precious three points for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

Southampton will need more moments of quality like this in the coming weeks though as the club look to move away from danger.

Midfield: Dele Alli – Tottenham

Is Dele back to his very best?

The midfielder has spoken about wanting to reclaim his place in the England squad, and if his performances at the beginning of the Jose Mourinho era at Spurs can be maintained then he will be very difficult to leave out once again.

Alli was once again on the scoresheet during the club’s 3-2 win over Bournemouth at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the 23-year-old thriving once again in his preferred central role behind Harry Kane and grabbing himself a brace.

It’s been a difficult year or so with injuries, but there are signs that his form and confidence is returning.

See also – Mourinho discusses Dele Alli’s ‘phenomenal’ form as Spurs edge out Bournemouth

Left-wing: Jack Grealish – Aston Villa

Another player likely to banging on the door for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, Grealish was once again his side’s star turn as they secured a 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Sunday.

Southgate had said the Aston Villa captain was not far away from his last squad, and his consistent performances are likely to have put him right at the forefront of his thoughts ahead of the next international break in the new year.

Grealish has thrived in recent weeks from a position on the left-hand side of Villa’s attack, whilst his goal to open the scoring at Old Trafford was straight out of the top drawer.

His relatively modest goal and assist records have been criticised in recent seasons, though he is thriving having returned to the top level with no English midfielder having been directly involved in more goals than the 24-year-old this season (three goals and four assists).

Forward: Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace

There are signs that Crystal Palace‘s talisman is beginning to rekindle his form, having enjoyed somewhat of a slow start to the season following a summer of agitating for a move away from Selhurst Park.

The Ivory Coast international was once again his side’s biggest threat as they secured an impressive win at Burnley, getting himself on the scoresheet for a second successive fixture as Roy Hodgson’s side secured a 2-0 victory.

Hodgson was full of praise for Zaha’s influence following the victory, but just how long can he keep the player at the club with bigger sides once again circling ahead of the January transfer window.

Forward: Kelechi Iheanacho – Leicester

Leicester‘s Iheanacho would prove to be a super-sub for Brendan Rodgers against Everton on Sunday, coming off the bench to help turn the contest as the Foxes made it six Premier League victories in succession.

It’s been a frustrating period for the 23-year-old since moving to the King Power Stadium, largely playing a back-up role to Jamie Vardy, but it was Rodgers’ decision to pair the two in the second period that allowed his side to secure a comeback victory.

The former Manchester City forward would provide the assist for Vardy’s equaliser, before scoring a late winner himself with the help of VAR to secure a vital three points.

It was, remarkably, Iheanacho’s first appearance of the season, proving to be a crucial one as Leicester’s unexpected title challenge continued in dramatic fashion.

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