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Premier League Team of the Week for Gameweek 31

Liverpool’s long wait for a league title is finally over, Jurgen Klopp’s side crowned as champions of English football for the first time in three decades following Manchester City’s defeat at Chelsea in midweek.

The champions had earlier thrashed Crystal Palace 4-0 at Anfield to move to the brink of the title, whilst elsewhere there was a comfortable victory for Manchester United over Sheffield United, and Arsenal returned to winning ways at Southampton.

It’s that time of the week again where we compile our dream XI from the week’s action, here is the Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week:

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel – Leicester

Leicester have made a stuttering restart to the Premier League with consecutive draws at struggling Watford and Brighton, though their stalemate against the Seagulls could have been much worse had it not been for the heroics of Schmeichel in goal.

The Denmark international got down brilliantly to stop and hold Neil Maupay’s poor penalty, helping secure a point for the third-placed Foxes who will be nervously looking over their shoulder in the race to secure Champions League football.

Schmeichel is amongst the few players to have returned in form for Brendan Rodgers’ side so far, and the club will need their big names to step up during the run-in if they are to seal a place amongst Europe’s elite.

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Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s meteoric rise with his boyhood club continues after Liverpool‘s coronation as Premier League champions, the 21-year-old adding another medal to his growing collection of honours and achievements.

The playmaking right-back was once again instrumental to a fine Reds win against Crystal Palace, opening the scoring with a sublime free-kick which saw the youngster draw comparisons with David Beckham.

Alexander-Arnold’s all-round play was also once again excellent as he combined well with the returning Mohamed Salah, the full-back the odds-on favourite to be named as the PFA Young Player of the Year after a Premier League season that has delivered three goals and 12 assists to date.

Centre-back: Michael Keane – Everton

Everton‘s steady progress under Carlo Ancelotti continued with a hard-fought win at struggling Norwich, the Toffees making it consecutive clean sheets since the restart to maintain their hopes of reaching Europe.

Key to the win at Carrow Road was the performance of centre-back Michael Keane, the England international having formed a promising understanding with Mason Holgate at the heart of the defence.

Keane’s contribution came at both ends of the pitch, however, celebrating becoming a father this week by heading home Lucas Digne’s corner to lift Everton within four points of seventh-placed Tottenham.

Centre-back: Rob Holding – Arsenal

Arsenal‘s disastrous restart to the Premier League campaign has been well-documented, but Mikel Arteta’s side bounced back with an impressive win at Southampton, keeping a clean sheet and securing three points against a Saints side seeking a top-half finish.

Youngsters Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock scored the goals but it was the performance of Rob Holding that may have most pleased the Gunners’ support, the centre-back producing a dominant display in a backline which has capitulated all too often in recent times.

Holding’s aerial ability and heading gave the Arsenal defence a major boost as they kept a precious clean sheet, and the 24-year-old must surely be set for an extended run in the side following an indifferent return from a lengthy spell out injured.

See also – Van Persie pinpoints Arsenal’s long-standing weakness following FA Cup win

Left-back: Andy Robertson – Liverpool

The returns from injury of Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson were a huge boost for Liverpool ahead of their clash with Crystal Palace, with each player demonstrating just what they bring to Jurgen Klopp’s side during a rampant Reds’ performance at Anfield.

Robertson’s relentless energy boosted a Liverpool side which had laboured on occasion against Everton in their first fixture of the restart, working brilliantly in tandem with Sadio Mane and bringing balance with his cultured left foot.

Only three players have provided more Premier League assists this season than Robertson, though the Scotland international will no doubt thank Fabinho for boosting his personal tally following a thunderous strike from distance.

Midfield: Fabinho – Liverpool

Fabinho doesn’t score many goals for Liverpool, but when he does they tend to be pretty special.

The Brazilian’s latest stunner against Crystal Palace capped a Man of the Match display for Jurgen Klopp’s side, 26-year-old Liverpool’s best player and controlling proceedings at the base of the midfield.

He completed 98% of his passes and provided a brilliant assist for Mohamed Salah in addition to his spectacular strike, a hugely influential performance from a player who looked more like his old self, after initially struggling for form following his return from an ankle injury suffered in November.

Midfield: Paul Pogba – Manchester United

Paul Pogba’s return has added to the feel-good factor surrounding Manchester United since the Premier League’s restart, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side now unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions either side of the campaign’s suspension.

The France international has endured an injury-ravaged campaign but has quickly demonstrated what he can bring to an emerging side, following an impressive cameo against Tottenham with a creative performance against Sheffield United.

Pogba has quickly shown signs of forming a strong understanding with Bruno Fernandes in a talented and fluid midfield line-up at Old Trafford, the Frenchman United’s chief creative threat despite starting in a deeper role against Chris Wilder’s side.

Right-wing: Adama Traore – Wolves

There is perhaps no other player in the division who brings the x-factor quite like Wolves’ Adama Traore.

The winger came off the bench to provide an assist for Raul Jimenez against West Ham, before repeating the trick from the start as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side made it back-to-back wins since the restart against Bournemouth.

Wolves are a fine footballing side and amongst the best-coached outfits in the division, their brilliantly cohesive team in with a real chance of securing Champions League football – a stage on which the electric Traore deserves to test himself after a scintillating season.

Left-wing: Christian Pulisic – Chelsea

Chelsea‘s victory over Manchester City in mid-week may have been overshadowed given its consequences on the destination of the title, but it continued a solid start to the Premier League’s restart for Frank Lampard’s side.

Back-to-back wins over Aston Villa and City have seen the west London side keep up their chase for a top-four finish, closing the gap on third-placed Leicester to just a single point and maintaining a cushion to the chasing pack.

Chelsea’s return has been boosted by the return of injury of several players including USA international Christian Pulisic, who made it consecutive goals since the restart with a brilliant run and finish on Thursday night.

The 21-year-old has impressed during his debut season in English football and his goal at Stamford Bridge was another reminder of both his quality and potential, skipping past two defensive challenges on a breakaway before an inch-perfect finish into the far corner.

See also – Lampard backs Pulisic to be among Premier League’s best

Forward: Anthony Martial – Manchester United

A display which vindicates Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to hand Martial a regular opportunity as Manchester United’s number nine, the Frenchman cool, composed and clinical to score his first career hat-trick against Sheffield United.

Martial scored all three goals during an impressive 3-0 victory at Old Trafford, netting two first-time finishes before a delightful chipped effort to seal his treble in style.

The 24-year-old has the talent to flourish as the focal point of Solskjaer’s side in seasons to come, and will now hope to deliver more performances of this ilk after taking his tally to a career-best of 19 goals in all competitions so far this season.

See also – Rating the 12 French players to play for Manchester United

Forward: Mohamed Salah

Liverpool’s front three were in fine form after being reunited against Crystal Palace, with Salah’s return bringing balance back to arguably the best-attacking triumvirate in world football.

The Egyptian was sorely missed during the goalless draw at Everton but showed just why he is so important to this side against Roy Hodgson’s visitors, the 28-year-old a constant menace with his runs in behind the Palace backline.

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Salah scored Liverpool’s second of the game after racing onto Fabinho’s pass, before providing a wonderful assist to set Sadio Mane clear for the Reds’ fourth and final goal of the evening.

Salah now has 17 Premier League goals for the season and is just two behind Leicester’s Jamie Vardy as he bids to become just the third player in Premier League history – after Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry – to win three consecutive Golden Boots.

Read – How Jurgen Klopp unshackled the burden of history to guide Liverpool to the title

See also – The five highest points totals in Premier League history

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