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Premier League: Team of the Week XIII

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Premier League: Team of the Week XIII

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Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph (West Ham United)

Last weekend’s late defeat at Tottenham will have been a bitter one to take for the Hammers shot-stopper, but the Republic of Ireland international seemed to allow that to spur him on as he produced a superb display between the sticks to thwart Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The West Ham defence put in an excellent defensive shift to come away with a point against the Red Devils, with Randolph making several excellent stops to deny Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard amongst others as United tried desperately for a winner – only to be frustrated at home yet again.

Right Centre-Back: Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton) 

Virgil van Dijk yet again was a standout candidate in a match dominated by the Saints, against the man who brought him to English football, compatriot and former Saints boss Ronald Koeman. Van Dijk made a match-high of five interceptions in the game against Everton and is beginning to establish himself as one of the league’s best defenders.

 

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He didn’t give Romelu Lukaku as much as a sniff at goal, and he almost capped his impressive display with a goal of his own after an adventurous run forward. Southampton are really hitting their stride under Claude Puel now, and the Dutchman is one player who just continues going from strength to strength.

Centre-Back: Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham United)

Angelo Obonna made a match-high total of interceptions during West Ham’s creditable draw at Old Trafford, but his standout contribution was a superb last-ditch block to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic what looked a certain goal.

 
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It was a wonderful piece of individual defending by the Italian international and one of the many turning points in a pulsating match. Like teammate Randolph, his team are indebted to his display in the Hammers rearguard and he duly stood up to the plate in the absence of the suspended Winston Reid.

Slaven Bilic’s switch to a 3-5-32 formation seems to be coaxing the best from the Italian, and we are now starting to see why the Croatian paid £8.5million to sign him from Serie A side Torino.

Left Centre-Back: Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion)

Despite being the oldest outfield Premier League player, the Northern Irish international remains a vital cog in the machine that is Tony Pulis’ Baggies side. McAuley’s headed strike at Hull was his third league goal of the season already, a tally superior to those Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy in the Premier League this campaign.

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Defensively however he is also showing no signs of his age catching up with him.

Dieumerci Mbokani may not be the division’s most deadly forward,  but is nonetheless a handful for any defender to deal with, and McAuley dealt with him expertly. It’s beyond belief that the defender turns 37 next month, though having said that he is one of those figures in the Premier League that seems to have been around forever.

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