The Premier League's top performers

Team of the Weekend

September 22, 2013
By Nick Miller
(Archive)

After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Selected by our panel of ESPN FC experts, 11 of Saturday and Sunday's star performers, including a manager, are carefully chosen. Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section at the foot of the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #TOTW. Plus, tune in to Monday's ESPN FC show (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) for further reaction.

Team of the WeekendOtherTeam of the Weekend

Goalkeeper: A good few strong goalkeeping performances this week, and thus a good few nominations from our panel. Steve Nicol suggested Artur Boruc for 'providing the platform' for Southampton's terrific win against Liverpool, while it was tempting to give the nod to David de Gea just out of sympathy for the defending in front of him. However, both Gabriele Marcotti and Paul Mariner chose Aston Villa's Brad Guzan, who 'came up with some huge saves' to help his side collect the points at Norwich.

Right-back: There was not as much debate about the defence, with both full-back positions and one of the centre-backs unanimous choices. The first of those was Nathaniel Clyne, who all our panellists agreed was terrific against Liverpool, keeping the dangerous Victor Moses quiet. Mariner said the youngster was excellent 'both defensively and going forward', while Marcotti noted that he 'dominated his flank and forced Liverpool inside'.

Jussi Jaaskelainen is powerless to keep out Leighton Baines' first free-kick.
GettyImagesJussi Jaaskelainen is powerless to keep out Leighton Baines' first free-kick.

Left-back: Another unanimous choice, and indeed anyone who didn't choose Leighton Baines probably wasn't paying a great deal of attention to the Premier League this weekend. What was especially impressive about his two free-kick goals was that he seemed to set up Jussi Jaaskelainen, finding a small gap to the West Ham keeper's right with the first, causing him to move further that way when another free-kick was given, thus allowing more room to the left.

Centre-back: The third consensus in the defence came from the Manchester derby. Manchester City have won the three games Vincent Kompany has started this season and struggled in those he hasn't, and the Belgian was imperious in their win over Manchester United. Mariner was impressed with Kompany 'influencing all he surveys' while Nicol called the City captain a 'rock' at the back.

Centre-back: Dissent! Dissent in the ranks, as our panel disagree on something. Well, one disagreed with the other two, but by this week's standards, that's a full-scale bar brawl. Mariner nominated Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark, saying the youngster 'was key as the anchor down the spine of the team' and 'snuffed out everything that was thrown at him'. However, Southampton's Dejan Lovren gets the nod on majority verdict, with both Marcotti and Nicol selecting the Croat for his fine showing against Liverpool.

Yaya Toure net goal celeb Manchester derby
PA PhotosYaya Toure made it 2-0 to City against United at the Etihad Stadium.

Centre-midfield: Another across-the-board choice came from City's big win, with our panel tipping their collective hat towards the colossus of Manchester City, Yaya Toure. Marcotti praised how the big Ivorian 'wins balls and redelivers them with startling efficiency' and Mariner declared him 'back to his best' and cited Toure as the catalyst to City's success.

Centre-midfield: Steve Nicol nominated a partnership for the midfield, suggesting that Fernandinho's performance with Toure should earn him a place in our team. However, the other members of our panel selected two still-young midfielders who seem to be finally living up to their potential. Paul Mariner chose 'tireless workhorse' Fabian Delph, who was brilliant in the middle of the park for Villa, operating as not only a superb midfield screen, while Gab Marcotti picked Aaron Ramsey, in the form of his life for Arsenal and who opened the scoring against Stoke. With the panellists deadlocked, the judge stepped in and chose Ramsey, if only for the remarkable statistic that he has scored seven goals from eight shots on target this season.

Attacking-midfield: It seems our panel are just about as excited at the arrival of Mesut Ozil in England as the Arsenal fans are. While Gab and Paul probably weren't among the group of Gooners who assembled outside the Emirates to have their photograph taken with No. 11 on their backs, they praised the German playmaker for his 'match-winning performance' and how he 'makes players better around him'. 'Assists may or may not be a bogus stat, but suffice to say he keeps delivering them,' said Marcotti. Quite so.

Oscar scores from close range against Fulham.
GettyImagesOscar scores from close range against Fulham.

Attacking-midfield: Juan Mata might be the current cause celebre among fans and sections of the media, but Jose Mourinho has made his feelings quite clear on who his 'No. 10' is, and with good reason. Oscar has been excellent for Chelsea, and particularly this weekend as they overcame Fulham -- indeed, Mariner described him as 'Chelsea's saviour, their best player on the day' and it's hard to disagree.

Attacking-midfield: The final spot in our talented attacking triumvirate goes to the man who bagged two goals in the Manchester derby. Sergio Aguero won the title for Manchester City two seasons ago, and the way he's playing at the moment it's not out of the question to think he might do so again. The Argentinean's first against United was brilliant, making an incredibly difficult hooked volley look incredibly easy - and all with his 'wrong' foot too. A 'big game player for the big games,' said Mariner.

Centre-forward: Aguero received a nomination for this position too, but since not even he can be in two places at once, the nod went to a team-mate who is shaping up to be an unsung hero with some, but not with our panel. Alvaro Negredo may not have scored for Manchester City, but his tireless work-rate created plenty of opportunities for the creative trio behind him, and indeed he set up two of their four strikes. 'And to think that some of his critics said he wasn't a big-game player,' noted Marcotti.

Manager: There are three different nominations for the spot on the bench from our panel. Marcotti went for Manuel Pellegrini after his first big win in his big job, Mariner chose Mauricio Pochettino and his 'masterful' tactical plan to beat Liverpool, while Nicol plumped for Hull boss Steve Bruce. Faced with a three-way tie, and being a sucker for a plan, I went for Pochettino and his tactics board.

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