Eden Hazard and five Liverpool stars control team of the week

Feb 10, 2014
Jonathan Harwood

Chelsea's hat-trick hero and the architects of Arsenal's downfall dominate this week's picks

LIVERPOOL and Chelsea were the big winners in the Premier League this weekend and it’s no surprise that the two teams contribute seven players to team of the week.

The Blues, or rather Eden Hazard, destroyed Newcastle at the Bridge to go top of the table after the most extraordinary result of the weekend - Liverpool's 5-1 demolition of Arsenal at Anfield, which leaves the Gunners licking their wounds in second place.
There was some good news for Arsene Wenger, as Norwich surprised everyone as they held firm against Manchester City to leave Pellegrini’s misfiring goal machine down in third.
So who were the stand-out performers of the weekend? Here's our pick of the experts' picks:
Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham).
It was Darren Bent who earned the Cottagers a draw against Man Utd, but his injury time goal would have counted for naught were it not for Stekelenburg in the Fulham goal. "Fulham’s keeper gave a heroic display at Old Trafford, repelling nine shots as 31 efforts rained in on his goal," notes ESPN.
John Flanagan, Martin Skrtel (both Liverpool), Martin Olsson (Norwich), Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
The first of an unprecedented five Liverpool players in this week's team is right back Flanagan who "kept Arsenal's assortment of world-class attackers at bay and distributed very well out of the defensive third," according to Bleacher Report. His is joined by Martin Skrtel who scored twice in the opening ten minutes to leave Arsenal on their knees. He was a unanimous choice among the pundits and registered 17 fantasy football points. Norwich full back Olsson played a key tole in keeping Man City off the scoresheet at Carrow Road. "Olsson epitomised their determination with a superb display," says Garth Crooks of the BBC.
Phillippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling (both Liverpool), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin Nolan (West Ham), Thomas Ince (Crystal Palace)
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder was instumental in the demolition of the Gunners. "In an attacking display of the utmost quality, the Brazilian playmaker executed some of the finest passes seen on this or any other Premier League weekend," says ESPN. Sterling, like his team mate Skrtel, scored twice against Arsenal and is a unanimous choice for team of the week. He "tore Arsenal to shreds" notes Bleacher Report, and could replace Theo Walcott in the England team. Hazard's sublime hat-trick for Chelsea against Newcastle means he too is a unanimous choice for this week's best XI. Described as the best young player in the world by Jose Mourinho, Crooks of the BBC says he will rival Messi and Ronaldo if he keeps up his current form. Nolan of West Ham made it a brace of braces with his second two goal haul in two weeks. He has "stepped up just when his team needed him to", says ESPN. Ince marked his Crystal Palace debut with a goal and earns a place in Crooks's team of the week something that "speaks volumes" about the quality of his performance.
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
With eight goals coming from a five-man midfield, there is only need for one striker in this week's team, and once again it is Suarez who gets the nod. He didn't score against the Gunners on Saturday but, according to Wayne Veysey of Goal.com  "his imagination, creativity and touch started the fire that torched the Arsenal defence".

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