VAVEL UK's Premier League Team of the Week - GW17
Photo: VAVEL UK - Daniel Orme

Manchester City returned to winning ways this weekend but it was Liverpool again who were the outstanding team, as they well and truly staked their claim for the title by defeating Manchester United

The Reds seem to be getting better and better with the race for top spot hotting up now as we enter the festive period. 

However, in the battle for the top four Arsenal lost for the first time since August in all competitions as their lengthy unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of relegation-threatened Southampton

But individually, who were the players to stand out? 

Goalkeeper and defence 

Martin Dubravka

The Newcastle stopper has had some games where he's looked almost unstoppable and against Huddersfield, on Saturday this was certainly the case. The Terriers were the dominant side but somehow lost again as their rotten luck in front of goal shone through once more. They couldn't find a way past the Slovakian keeper who put in a top display as he continued to prove himself to be one of the most underrated 'keepers in the league. He also played a part in Newcastle's goal as his pass started the move for Javi Manquillo to get forward and then find Salomon Rondon

Aaron Hindhaugh, Newcastle editor: "Dubravka was superb again and won points on his own. He was only forced into one great save but he dominated his box all game. The Serbian also started off the attack for the goal playing a risky pass to Jamaal Lascelles which showed his ability to play out."

Virgin van Dijk 

There is no doubting that the Dutch defender is easily one of the best in the business in his position. Before he arrived at Liverpool their defence was almost shambolic at times but he's been the catalyst for the Merseyside club's overall improvement. He's been able to solidify them at the back as those in front of the defence continue to express themselves. Against United, on Sunday afternoon he was once more one of the stand-out players as he helped Liverpool to one of their most significant victories of the season so far. 

Josh Kerr, Liverpool editor: "The best centre-back in the Premier League? It’s difficult to think of anyone better on current form. The worlds most expensive defender gave us another masterclass in the art of defending on Sunday. The Netherlands captain was authoritative, tenacious and when he got home to his family he probably emptied Romelu Lukaku from his back pocket. Van Dijk has been fundamental to everything good about Liverpool and has been a revolution since his record move in January. World class!"

Ben Davies

It took Tottenham 91 minutes to break down Burnley at Wembley on Saturday and it's arguably, therefore, no surprise that one of their best players was a defender rather than an attacker. Davies played as a makeshift central defender with injuries in the Spurs backline and put in an admirable shift, worthy of making this team of the week. He's played as a centre back as part of a back three, but this time it was in a back four and he didn't look out of place as Spurs kept a clean sheet.

Brogan Clasper, Tottenham editor: "The injury curse continues at Spurs and it has whittled the defence down to the bare bones. Davies has struggled with consistency at left-back but the Welshman certainly stepped up at centre-back to help Spurs in what could prove a vital win."

Jose Holebas

The Watford left-back has been in terrific form this term and that's displayed by being the defender with the most goal involvements in the Premier League, with three goals and four assists. Against Cardiff, he displayed those attacking qualities with a wonderful strike from the edge of the box for the Hornets second goal. It was a fabulous finish from a defensive minded player and the Greek proved a constant threat down the left-hand side. 



It's taken the holding midfielder a while to settle in England after arriving with so much expectation from Ligue 1's Monaco but Liverpool's game with Man United can be marked as a turning point in his Reds career. Jurgen Klopp has rotated his midfield this season with European commitments but Fabinho now looks as though he could become a vital part of their title charge. He put in a terrific display and was solid as a rock in the middle of the pitch. 

Josh Kerr: "If there was ever any need of a defining performance from the Brazilian to announce his Anfield tenure then this was certainly that. The former Monaco man was the best player on the pitch against Man United dominating the centre of the field, crunching into tackles and displaying an array of intricate passing as the Reds midfielder completely bewildered Mourinho’s team with a wonderfully lofted pass that split the United back four for the opening goal."

Domingos Quina

The wildcard pick of this team of the week, the 19-year-old was exceptional for Watford on Saturday. It was just his second Premier League start but his commanding display will surely mean more are to come. The Hornets had Etienne Capoue missing through suspension whilst Will Hughes was out injured but Quina stepped up in their place and scored Watford's final goal with a fantastic finish from just outside the area. It was a strike which capped off a near perfect match from the teenager. 

Robert Snodgrass

The creative midfielder has come out of the West Ham wilderness this season to become one of their best performing players under Manuel Pellegrini. Snodgrass had struggled for form previously and as such spent last season on loan with Aston Villa. However, he's discovered greater consistency this season as he scored for the fourth time in all competitions against Fulham at the weekend. The Scot now has five goal contributions in his last five matches. 

Alan Rzepa, West Ham editor: "Snodgrass was deemed to not be good enough before the season started. Now the winger is proving everyone wrong. Two goals and three assists this month shows how influential he is when West Ham really needed someone to step up after Yarmolenko’s injury."

Xherdan Shaqiri

The Swiss winger struggled to find any sort of form at Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Therefore, upon signing for another big club Liverpool fans were right to be sceptical about the acquisition. But in recent months he's been brilliant for the Reds. He saved his best performance since arriving in Merseyside for their biggest game of the season this weekend. He came on with 20 minutes remaining and scored two goals, albeit deflected, to win the game for Liverpool. 

Josh Kerr: "Arguably bargain of the season the Swiss magician is proving to be. The former Stoke City forward would have been disappointed not to start, but, quickly reminded his manager, Klopp of his quality - coming off the bench to score a quick-fire brace and put United to the sword.

"This is arguably Shaqiri’s last opportunity at a big club following spells with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. After coasting at Stoke for three years the Switzerland international is finally beginning to fulfil the undeniable potential on display when he first arrived on the scene. Another magnificent coup from Klopp!" 


Gerard Deulofeu

Much like Shaqiri, Deulofeu is a player who struggles for consistency and it's something that has ensured he never really managed to make it at Barcelona when he was in Spain. If he could display the type of form he showed against Cardiff then he'd be some player because he completely ran the game. He was the best player on the pitch as he scored a brilliant solo goal, dancing through the defence before slotting home. He also picked up the assist for Holebas' goal. 

Gabriel Jesus

What was most impressive about the City man's performance at the weekend were his intelligent runs. The Brazilian is a nightmare to deal with and it was no surprise that he got on the scoresheet twice against Everton. Picked ahead of Sergio Aguero he certainly did Pep Guardiola's selection justice as he showed his terrific promise by taking his tally to the season to seven strikes. 

Sam Straw at the Etihad Stadium: "He looked a lot happier and settled on the pitch which makes him a lot more dangerous. It was mentioned in the post-match press conference that this could be something to do with his family moving over from Brazil recently as he's very close to his Mum. Jesus had a very good understanding with Sane, who assisted both of his goals."

Danny Ings

It appears as though the Southampton striker has got his mojo back after joining from Liverpool in the summer. Ings was a nuisance for a makeshift Arsenal back line and his movement caused the returning Laurent Koscielny all sorts of problems. Ings scored twice as he ended the Gunners unbeaten run in Ralph Hasenhuttl's first game in charge of the Saints. His first was a stooping header at the near post before adding a second with his head as he looped Nathan Redmond's delivery into the back of the net.