Team of the Week: Game week 24

Team of the Week: Game week 24

08/02/2017Sport

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Chelsea's relentless pursuit of a fifth Premier League tittle showed no signs of abating after this week's round of fixtures.

Antonio Conte's men comfortably dispatched Arsenal 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to extend their lead atop of the table to nine points.

It was for a few hours at least an eye-watering 12 points but that was cut short when nearest challengers Tottenham Hotspur scraped to a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Elsewhere, Manchester City recorded another victory with teenage sensation Gabriel Jesus registering a stoppage time winner against Swansea City, after Gylfi Sigurdsson had cancelled the Brazilian international's opener.

Manchester United poured more misery on Leicester City when they left the home of the champions with all three points after scoring three without reply. 

Sunderland produced the performance of the round, hammering fellow strugglers Crystal Palace 4-0 in south London, whilst Hull City shocked Liverpool at the KCOM Stadium who are now enduring their worst run of form under Jurgen Klopp.

So, with all this in mind, here are the stand-out performers from Gameweek 24

Defence: Vito Mannone; Antonio Valencia, John Stones, Andrea Ranocchia, Marcos Alonso

It's now consecutive clean sheets for Sunderland goalkeeper Mannone - the only ones he's produced this season.

For manager David Moyes they couldn't have come at a better time as he looks to preserve the Black Cat's top-flight status. Mannone produced eight saves against Palace as Sunderland cruised to an unexpected, but welcomed, 4-0 win over former boss Sam Allardyce.

Ever-present this season for Manchester United, the Ecuadorian full-back Antonio Valencia was at his marauding best against an abject Leicester City creating no fewer than two chances in the process.  

Another who has looked unsure this season is John Stones, but his display against Swansea is sure to have made Pep Guardiola proud, as no player across the weekend made more forward passes (75) than the 22-year-old England international.

Arriving at Hull City on deadline day from Inter Milan was the much-maligned Andrea Ranocchia, who was once considered the hottest prospect in Italian football.

The last few years have been difficult for the Assisi-born central defender, but he can be pleased with his home debut for his new employees, playing a pivotal role in Hull's deserved win over Liverpool, even registering the assist – a well-timed long ball – for their second goal coolly slotted by Omar Niasse.

Ranocchia, though, isn’t the only ex-Serie A defender now plying his trade in the Premier League, and one that continues to shine is Marcos Alonso who broke the deadlock in Chelsea's emphatic win over London neighbours Arsenal, all-but ending their championship aspirations for this season.

Midfield: N'Golo Kante, Jake Livermore, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eden Hazard

With the way things are panning out Kante is on course to be named signing of the season in back-to-back campaigns. The intelligent Chelsea defensive midfielder showed against Arsenal why he's the best in his role, seamlessly winning every challenge and intercepting with immense accuracy.

Someone else putting on a stellar midfield display was new West Brom signing Livermore; the 27-year-old protected Tony Pulis' back four with consummate ease in their narrow win over Stoke City.

He might have had a difficult time living with Mkhitaryan who is now showing exactly why Manchester United parted with £30 million for his services last summer.

The Armenian international was given license by manager Jose Mourinho to float across the forward line and he punished Leicester twice; firstly, pouncing on a loose ball to put the 20-time champions in front before expertly assisting Juan Mata for their third and final goal.

Speaking of tormenting their rivals, that is exactly what Hazard did against Arsenal, as the Belgian wizard scored a stunning sole effort leaving Francis Coquelin in his wake. Back to his best, the 26-year-old is definitely a contender for player of the season.

Attack: Gabriel Jesus, Romelu Lukaku

Anything Hazard could do his fellow countryman Lukaku went four times better. The 23-year-old marksman put four past a hapless Bournemouth side, leaving him in pole position for this season’s golden boot on 16 goals, as Ronald Koeman's side ran out 6-3 wins in one of the more entertaining games this season.

No longer the up-and-coming striker of the Premier League, though, as that honour now belongs to Gabriel Jesus, who is settling to life in England so much so that he's keeping City's long serving centre-forward Sergio Aguero on the bench. His brace against Swansea increases his tally to three goals in as many games. A star is born as they say.

Written by Mohamed Moallim for Squawka.com