Rooney, Suarez and Torres lead the line for team of the week
Formidible attacking trio selects itself, but there is controversy elsewhere on the pitch
ARSENAL remain top of the Premier League despite making heavy weather of their victory over the division's bottom club, Crystal Palace, on Saturday. But Chelsea and Liverpool are in hot pursuit, just two points adrift of the Gunners, after they too won at the weekend.
Spurs are one point further back in fourth ahead of Southampton and the quietly effective Everton.
But the big surprise is that the two former champions, Manchesters City and United, are down in seventh and eighth place respectively. United almost blew it at Old Trafford but a late burst saw them come from behind against Stoke, while City were undone by Chelsea on Sunday.
There were several stand-out performances this weekend and the forwards picked themselves, but elsewhere on the pitch the pundits were divided over who deserved a place in the team of the week. Here's The Week's pick of the experts' picks:
Tim Howard (Everton). There were several candidates this week including Cardiff's David Marshall and Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal, but Howard, who saved a penalty against Aston Villa and kept a clean sheet, gets the nod. Garth Crooks of the BBC notes that penalty saves often change the face of a match, and Howard's stop was no exception. But it wasn't just one moment of brilliance, his overall display was "immense".
Leighton Baines (Everton), Nathanial Clyne (Southampton), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Spurs). A second Evertonian, Baines, also makes the cut after a performance against Villa in which he set up a goal and "showcased his best qualities", according to ESPN. Southampton full back Nathaniel Clyne is almost a fixture in the team of the week and is "coming on in leaps and bounds" according to Crooks. ESPN tips him for England call-up. Mertesacker marshalled the Gunners' defence perfectly after Mikel Arteta was sent off. "A real steadying force at the back," says Crooks. Vertonghen, meanwhile, was the top-scoring defender in Premier League fantasy football, with 12 points thanks to a clean sheet and an assist for Spurs.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Ramires (Chelsea), Jay Rodriguez (Southampton).
Gerrard was instrumental in Liverpool's demolition of West Brom. "The reliable veteran provided an assist and completed 87 percent of his passes," notes Bleacher Report. Ramires was similarly influential for Chelsea against Man City. Website Fanatix says he was "solid" in defence and "perhaps the side's most creative force going forward". ESPN picks Southampton's Jay Rodriguez as an auxiliary midfielder after a "superb" display against Fulham, in which he scored one goal and set up another.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Fernando Torres (Chelsea). The experts may have been split about their selections elsewhere on the field, but up front the picks were obvious, although Sergio Aguero of Man City is unlucky to miss out. Rooney's brilliant vein of form continued against Stoke. He scored an equaliser, provided an assist and drove his team on when the chips were down. Where would they be without him, asks ESPN? Suarez scored a magnificent hat-trick for Liverpool and makes every single team of the week, he was also the top scorer in fantasy football this week. Finally, Fernando Torres is another ever-present and is "starting to look like the player he was at Liverpool", says Crooks. ·