The headline fixture of the weekend’s action predictably left us all a little underwhelmed as Liverpool vs Manchester United continued its modern history of producing little incident, whilst Manchester City underlined their title credentials with yet another victory and a clean sheet.
Elsewhere Leicester climbed to third after beating Southampton, whilst West Brom got their first win under Sam Allardyce after edging struggling Wolves in a thrilling Black Country derby at Molineux.
It’s that time of the week again where we compile our dream XI, here is The Football Faithful’s Premier League Team of the Week:
Goalkeeper: Alisson – Liverpool
Liverpool extended their unbeaten home run to 68 league games following a goalless draw with Premier League leaders Manchester United, though the Reds had their goalkeeper to thank for a number of crucial interventions in the second half.
Alisson had little to do for much of the first hour but bailed his side out when called upon as the visitors improved after the break, making two fine saves to deny both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba and prevent the champions crashing to a costly defeat.
Alisson's four saves against Man Utd were the joint-most he's made in a Premier League game this season (also vs. Fulham).
Keeping Liverpool in the game. pic.twitter.com/u6VrjmRiDd
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 17, 2021
Liverpool’s title hopes look in jeopardy given their makeshift defensive options and Jurgen Klopp’s side will need their number one to remain in top form if they are to defend their crown this season.
Right-back: Serge Aurier – Tottenham
Tottenham moved within a point of the top four after securing a 3-1 win at Sheffield United, overcoming a potentially tricky assignment against a Blades side buoyed by a first win of the season in midweek.
Spurs had won just once in their past six league fixtures but the result was rarely in doubt at Bramall Lane after the north Londoners opened the scoring, Serge Aurier powering over Jayden Bogle to head home after just five minutes.
The Ivorian has had his critics but has responded well to the challenge of Matt Doherty’s summer arrival from Wolves, Mourinho benefitting from the star’s attacking threat by using a wing-back system this weekend.
Centre-back: Kyle Bartley – West Brom
Kyle Bartley made his first start since Sam Allardyce’s appointment at West Brom this weekend and it’s fair to say he may already be a fixture in the side now, the centre-back producing the sort of performance his manager will cherish in the midst of a relegation battle.
Bartley defended superbly throughout as West Brom recovered from squandering an early lead to come back and win 3-2 at Wolves, securing their first away win of the season in the Black Country derby and a vital three points in their bid to beat the drop.
The 29-year-old was dominant aerially and made several crucial blocks and challenges, in addition to providing the assist for Semi Ajayi’s goal in a leader’s performance from the defender.
Centre-back: John Stones – Manchester City
What a season it’s turning out to be for John Stones, a player who seemed to be on his way out of Manchester City having been reborn at the heart of the club’s defence this season.
Stones has starred alongside Ruben Dias at centre-back with the duo having complimented each other perfectly so far this season, conceding just one goal and keeping nine clean sheets in 10 appearances in partnership.
Stones’ stunning renaissance continued with a brilliant individual night’s work against Crystal Palace on Sunday, scoring twice – his first Premier League goals in five years – in addition to another shut-out.
Man City when John Stones has started in the Premier League this season:
7 clean sheets
2 goals conceded
Been excellent since he returned to the side. pic.twitter.com/pszwvUHNzb
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 17, 2021
The solid foundations of Pep Guardiola’s side make them title favourites on current form, and an England recall for Stones seemingly beckons with the centre-back having not featured at international level since November 2019.
Centre-back: Jonny Evans – Leicester
Leicester kept in touch with the league leaders following a 2-0 victory over Southampton this weekend, Brendan Rodgers’ side moving to third in the division and just two points adrift of the summit.
It was an important result against a side with similar ambitions of securing European football, with Jonny Evans impressive as the calming and composed figure at the heart of the Foxes’ defence.
Evans read the play superbly and impressively covered the inexperienced Wesley Fofana throughout, the front-footed youngster having endured some uncomfortable moments at the King Power Stadium.
Left-back: Luke Shaw – Manchester United
Manchester United‘s best player as the Red Devils remained top of the division by securing a point at Liverpool, Shaw continued his form this season with another strong showing in the goalless draw at Anfield.
The 25-year-old provided energy down the left flank and contributed at both ends of the pitch, whilst he negated the threat of Mohamed Salah with the league’s leading scorer little more than a spectator for much of the clash.
📊 Luke Shaw's contribution for @ManUtd today
Completed 33/41 passes
Won 8/12 duels
8x possession gained
2 chances created
Man Utd are the 1st away team to keep a PL clean sheet at Liverpool since Oct 2018 pic.twitter.com/UjroJOOPVu
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 17, 2021
The summer signing of Alex Telles has seemed to provide Shaw with the competition he needed to push on this season and United are currently reaping the benefits of a fully-fit player increasing in confidence.
Midfield: Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City
John Stones and Ruben Dias may be taking most of the headlines at Manchester City at present, but the improved performances of Ilkay Gundogan have been a welcome boost during the current campaign.
Gundogan has had his fair share of critics since moving to the Etihad with many questioning his role in the side, but a midfielder often accused of unimaginative passing has been transformed into a goalscoring forward threat in recent weeks.
— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) January 17, 2021
The Germany international looks confident in possession and threatening when pushing forward, netting his fourth goal in six league fixtures against Crystal Palace this weekend with a stunning strike from outside of the penalty area.
Midfield: Mason Mount – Chelsea
Excellent once again, Mason Mount bailed out his misfiring Chelsea teammates to secure his side a late victory in the west London derby against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The midfielder is enjoying a fine season and has emerged as the Blues’ most influential player, starting on the right-hand side at Fulham but continuing to make things happen for Frank Lampard’s side.
The 22-year-old was the visitor’s bright spark throughout and created a huge seven chances, before taking his goal superbly to keep Chelsea within touching distance of the top four.
Mason Mount created seven chances for Chelsea vs. Fulham, no Blues player has created more in a Premier League away game across the past five seasons.
Another sensational display. ✨ pic.twitter.com/5MLyclZmCQ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 16, 2021
It was another stand-out display from one of the Premier League’s best young players and one who seems to be improving on an almost weekly basis.
Midfield: Tanguy Ndombele – Tottenham
Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Tanguy Ndombele following Tottenham’s 3-1 win at Sheffield United, hailing the midfielder for taking ‘responsibility’ in turning his fortunes around at Spurs.
Just a matter of months ago the club-record signing was on the receiving end of some stinging criticism from his manager, but has emerged as a key figure for the north London side this season and was brilliant at Bramall Lane.
We’re still wondering how Tanguy Ndombele pulled this off 😍
Special, special goal 👏pic.twitter.com/NAakNAP8WI
— Goal (@goal) January 18, 2021
The France international played in a deeper role and impressed with his driving runs forward and incisive passing, capping another strong performance with a wonderful improvised lob to put the result beyond doubt.
Forward: Michail Antonio – West Ham
West Ham have missed Michail Antonio this season with the forward having struggled with injuries, but the star returned with a bang this weekend to net the winner against Burnley.
Antonio’s troublesome hamstrings have left the Hammers without the services of their dynamic talisman for much of the campaign, with the 30-year-old providing a reminder of his qualities at the London Stadium.
⚽ Michail Antonio has scored on the 400th appearance of his club career (91st goal). His first appearance came for Cheltenham against Leeds in League 1, February 2009 pic.twitter.com/8SPEdGzGUF
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) January 16, 2021
Antonio battled the Burnley backline admirably and took his goal well after finding space inside the penalty area, his fitness likely to have a major say in the Hammers’ hopes of securing continental qualification.
Forward: Harry Kane – Tottenham
Harry Kane’s sensational individual season continued with another goal in Spurs’ win at Sheffield United, the forward once more central to his side’s best pieces of attacking play at Bramall Lane.
Kane dropped deep to pick up possession and was unfortunate not to claim an assist after releasing Son Heung-Min on goal, only the post preventing the Premier League’s finest partnership from registering another goal combination.
Great response to midweek. What a finish Tanguy 👏 pic.twitter.com/KLT2eJV9V9
— Harry Kane (@HKane) January 17, 2021
The England captain didn’t have to wait long before impacting the scoresheet, however, a powerful run and pinpoint finishing netting Kane his 12th league goal of the campaign and moving the 27-year-old within just one of Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot.