Giroud, Sturridge, Henderson, Wilshere in team of the week
Arsenal v Liverpool in team of the week as veterans including John Terry make up defence
IT'S as you were at the top of the Premier League after a weekend on which all of the top four won, albeit in varying styles.
Leaders Chelsea left it very late before getting the breakthrough against dogged Everton, Arsenal rediscovered their sparkle as they dismantled Sunderland and Man City laboured to victory over Stoke before Liverpool rounded off the weekend with a harum-scarum win over Swansea.
None of the bottom six won, and although things remain tight it is not quite so nip and tuck – West Ham and Hull are now well clear of the drop zone.
So who makes this week's team of the week? Here's our pick of the experts' picks.
David De Gea (Man Utd)
The Man United man edges out Norwich stopper John Ruddy for the number one jersey. He was the top-scoring keeper in Fantasy Football, having kept a clean sheet for United at Crystal Palace. It was not an all-action show, notes Bleacher Report, but "he was off his line in a flash on most plays, collecting long aerials and crosses with ease as well as relieving pressure on his defence".
Sylvain Distin (Everton), John Terry (Chelsea), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Man United)
Two of the back four faced each other at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Although Everton centre-back Distin ended up on the losing side, he earns his place thanks to what ESPN calls a performance "bursting with experience and pride". As for Chelsea veteran Terry, he was one of very few unanimous choices this week. He is a "warrior" says Garth Crooks of the BBC. "Love him or hate him, there can be no denying Terry is playing some tremendous football at the moment." Arsenal full back Sagna played down both flanks and in the middle of defence against Sunderland and performed well in all three roles. "Arsenal simply must persuade him to renew his expiring deal," says Goal.com. A fourth veteran makes finishes off an experienced defence. Patrice Evra had a hand in both United goals at Crystal Palace. "The extremely fit defender may be entering the twilight of his career and his defensive frailties have been criticised but one cannot argue with the 32-year-old's threat going forward," says Winner Sports.
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Kevin Nolan (West Ham)
A three-man midfield, but a solid one. Henderson scored twice for Liverpool as he proved himself to be "a genuine box-to-box midfielder," according to Bleacher Report. "Such games can only enhance his stock ahead of the World Cup." Another young Englishman, Wilshere, did not find the net against Sunderland but was instrumental in two of Arsenal's goals. "The young man was simply fantastic and he bossed the game with an all-action display," enthuses Winner Sports. After two youngsters comes a veteran, 31-year-old Nolan, who scored his fifth goal in four games against Southampton as West Ham won their fourth match in a row. Nolan was man of the match according to The Independent, to name just one.
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Nikica Jelavic (Hull)
England's cup runneth over as yet another young player forces his way into team of the week. Sturridge scored twice for Liverpool and is suddenly being talked about in the same breath as players like Sergio Aguero and even Cristiano Ronaldo. He has now scored in eight successive league matches for the Reds and this was "another dazzling display" according to Goal.com. Giroud also scored twice for Arsenal and he joins Terry as one of only unanimous choices for ToTW. His was a fine performance, says Gab Marcotti of ESPN. "Subtle when he needs to be, strong when he needs to be and always intelligent." The final place goes to Hull striker Jelavic, who was "the star of the show" as he netted twice in the 4-0 win over Cardiff, says Crooks of the BBC. ·