Januzaj, Morrison & Sturridge star in team of the week
Two Man United trainees stole the show this weekend to make it into a youthful team of the week
ARSENAL and Liverpool are top of the pile heading into the international break. Few people would have tipped those two clubs to be the early-season pace-setters, but with the other title favourites faltering early on, Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers will now harbour genuine ambitions of winning the title, even if they decline to say as much in public.
Manchester United scraped a vital win over Sunderland on Saturday, which lifts them back into the top half of the table, but their victory over the bottom club was far from straightforward and was down to one of the stars of the weekend, youngster Adnan Januzaj.
He leads The Week's team of the week, but who will join him. Here's the pick of the experts' picks:
Artur Boruc (Southampton).
A unanimous choice across the experts' teams of the week, the Southampton shot stopper played a crucial part in the win over Swansea. The Saints are now fourth in the table and Boruc has conceded just two goals this season. "I just hope he is not in the same form against England in the World Cup qualifier next week," says Garth Crooks of the BBC.
Winston Reid (West Ham), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Sascha Riether (Fulham), Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).
West Ham's 3-0 win over Spurs was the shock result of the weekend and defender Winston Reid played a crucial part. He not only scored but was a "giant at the back," according to Goal.com. Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho "finally produced the sort of performance you'd expect from a big-money signing," says Bleacher Report. He looked at home in the Reds' three-man defence and was calm in possession.
Sascha Reither was Fulham's best player as they beat Stoke 1-0 to relieve the pressure on Martin Jol. Goal.com says Fulham may have to fend off bigger clubs in January. Garth Crooks picks both John Terry and Ivanovich for his team, but Ivanovic gets the nod for The Week. Since the start of last season he has played more minutes that any other outfield player for the Blues.
Adnan Januzaj (Man United), Ravel Morrison (West Ham), Adam Lallana (southampton), Claudio Yacob (West Brom).
Teenager Adnan Januzaj, the Brussels-born Kosovar-Albanian who could one day play for England, was the star of the weekend with two goals for Man United on his full debut. "At the Stadium of Light a star was born," says the Daily Telegraph. "He almost single-handedly turned the game around and helped United avoid a third successive league defeat."
Former United trainee Ravel Morrison, who failed to make it at Old Trafford, may have been inspired by what he saw, because the West Ham man showed off the skills that made him such a prospect before he fell out with Alex Ferguson. His goal had "the wow factor stamped all over it," says The Guardian, who made him man of the match.
Southampton skipper Adam Lallana is another young star in the making, and his performance against Swansea was a "coming of age" according to Bleacher Report, which tips him for an England call. Claudio Yacob scored for West Ham and earned ten points to make the Premier League dream team of the week. He also got the nod from Garth Crooks.
Forwards: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Loic Remy (Newcastle).
There's only room for one Liverpool striker this week and although Luis Suarez scored against Crystal Palace, so did his partner Daniel Sturridge. The England man's form is "nothing short of sensational," says Garth Crooks of the BBC, so he is in. Alongside him in most people's teams this week is Newcastle striker Loic Remy. He netted twice against Cardiff and Bleacher Report notes: "The French international is one of those players who is simply nailed on to score goals." ·