Premier League Team of the Week – Erling Haaland, Declan Rice, Andre Onana

Sports Mole selects its Premier League Team of the Week, including Erling Haaland, Declan Rice and Andre Onana.

Another Premier League gameweek consigned to history, another three victories for the title-chasing trio, as Liverpool retained their two-point advantage at the summit by overcoming Burnley 3-1.

Manchester City had briefly risen into top spot with a 2-0 beating of Everton, while Arsenal moved level on goal difference with the champions by dismantling West Ham United 6-0 for their biggest-ever Premier League away win.

Tottenham Hotspur completed a dramatic comeback in injury time to overcome Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1, and Manchester United closed the gap on Aston Villa with an identical success over the Lions in the West Midlands.

Chelsea‘s mini-revival gathered pace with a 3-1 success over London rivals Crystal Palace on Monday evening, prior to which Newcastle United also put a trio of strikes past Nottingham Forest in a thrilling 3-2 triumph.

Elsewhere, Sheffield United gave their flickering survival hopes a boost with a 3-1 triumph over Luton Town, Fulham bested Bournemouth by the same scoreline at Craven Cottage, and Brentford‘s trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers ended 2-0 to the Bees.

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


Manchester United's Andre Onana celebrates after saving a penalty missed by Copenhagen on October 24, 2023© Reuters

While Aston Villa partially had their lack of ruthlessness to blame against Man United, Red Devils number one Andre Onana guarded the posts to terrific effect at Villa Park. There was little the Cameroonian could have done about Douglas Luiz‘s leveller, but he produced a pivotal eight stops and also succeeded with all four of his run-outs to silence a few of the doubters.

Onana was also offered adequate protection from his defensive shield, one of whom – Diogo Dalot – made crucial contributions in both halves of the Villa Park field. As well as making two interceptions, two tackles, two blocks and a goal-line clearance, the Portuguese whipped in a stunning delivery for Scott McTominay to seal all three points for Erik ten Hag‘s Champions League-chasing troops.

As easy and justifiable as it would have been to simply select a full complement of Arsenal players, we have limited ourselves to just one of the Gunners’ goalscoring centre-backs for our defensive setup, as Gabriel Magalhaes gets the nod over William Saliba. A pre-free kick chat with Declan Rice against West Ham worked a treat as the Brazilian – always a threat from set pieces – headed in his fourth goal of the Premier League season, and in the rare moments when Arsenal were under the cosh, he rose to the challenge with two blocks and two tackles to preserve a coveted clean sheet.

In contrast, Bournemouth’s away day in the capital was a forgettable affair during their loss to Fulham, but Marcos Senesi could afford to travel home with his head held high. The centre-back expertly hooked the ball from the air before turning and finishing like a seasoned striker, in addition to making four clearances and creating three chances in a fine individual display.


Arsenal's Declan Rice celebrates scoring their sixth goal on February 11, 2024© Reuters

A yellow-and-black-clad midfield begins with the inevitable selection of Arsenal wing king Bukayo Saka, who hit the 50-goal mark for the Gunners at West Ham with an emphatic penalty – atoning for his 12-yard miss at the London Stadium this term – and an arrowed near-post finish, becoming the youngest man since Frank Stapleton in 1978 to reach a half-century for the North London titans.

While Saka boasts a collection of wonderful strikes in an Arsenal shirt, the England winger was left in awe when Declan Rice scored one of the finest goals he has ever scored at the London Stadium, for Arsenal or indeed West Ham. After providing the deliveries for Saliba and Gabriel to nod home in the first half, the ex-Irons captain capped off the six-goal slaughter with a thunderous first-time strike from distance, leading to applause from some of the sparsely-populated home crowd and more uninviting gestures from others.

Rounding off the four-strong Arsenal contingent in our latest Team of the Week, skipper and creator-in-chief Martin Odegaard terrorised the West Ham backline to no end and wrote a new chapter of history in doing so. Ever since data became available, Odegaard is the first Premier League player on record to make at least 100 successful passes (107), create at least five chances (seven) and set up multiple goals in one game, having played the final pass for Saka’s second and Leandro Trossard‘s effort in the capital crushing.

Rice may have toned down his celebrations against his old club, but there was no restraining Conor Gallagher during Chelsea’s comeback success over Crystal Palace. Having levelled the scores with a well-taken side-footed half volley, Gallagher picked out the corner from the edge of the area in the dying embers to send the away end into bedlam, and there was not a shred of sentimentality present for the ex-Eagles loanee at Selhurst Park.

Another two-goal showing from an engine room enforcer arrived at the City Ground, where Newcastle’s marquee man Bruno Guimaraes saw his stock rise further. Firstly arriving unmarked at the back post to lash home a fine volley, the South American edged the Magpies ahead for the third time on the night by intercepting a poor pass from Anthony Elanga and finding the corner from inside the D, and Forest ultimately had no response to that exquisite effort.


Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring their first goal on February 10, 2024© Reuters

Unfortunately for Chelsea loanee Armando Broja, Fulham teammate Rodrigo Muniz has chosen the worst possible time to hit a rich vein of form as far as the Albanian is concerned. Following up his effort against Burnley, Muniz got across Ilya Zabarnyi to double his side’s lead versus Bournemouth before providing an instant response to Senesi’s leveller – arriving at the back stick to volley in the Cottagers’ insurance goal.

Speaking of resurrected centre-forwards, Golden Boot holder and current top scorer Erling Haaland ensured that the Premier League had not forgotten about him with a match-winning display against a dogged Everton unit. Thanks to a kind ricochet and ferocious finish, the Norwegian netted his first goal of 2024 in the 71st minute, before bullying the imposing Jarrad Branthwaite out of the way and slotting home his second, momentarily allowing the champions to look down on the other 19 teams in the division.


Sports Mole’s Premier League Team of the Week (3-5-2): Onana; Dalot, Gabriel, Senesi; Saka, Rice, Guimaraes, Gallagher, Odegaard; Haaland, Muniz

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