Sterling, Gerrard and Ramsey shine for team of the week
Liverpool duo drive Reds towards title, and two of David Moyes's executioners make the cut
THE weekend's action may have been overshadowed by the sacking of Man United manager David Moyes, but no matter what goes on at Old Trafford these days it won't knock Liverpool off their perch, and the Reds took another giant step towards the title as they beat Norwich on Sunday.
Before that the shock defeat for Chelsea at the hands of Sunderland puts the cat among the pigeons at the foot of the table and leaves Man City as the main threat to Liverpool's title hopes.
So who were the stars of the Easter weekend programme?
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris (Spurs).
The likes of Vito Mannone, Julian Speroni and David Marshall have every right to feel aggrieved after a vintage weekend of goalkeeping, but the Spurs man gets the nod thanks to his incredible stop to deny Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega and a penalty save from Steve Sidwell. He was in "sensational form" says Goal.com. Rodallega was so impressed he even jumped on Lloris's back after his wonder save.
Defence: Seamus Coleman, John Stones (both Everton), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)
The Everton duo of Coleman and Stones helped bring down the curtain on former boss David Moyes's reign at Man United as the Toffees won 2-0. Coleman made Moyes's decision to play Shinji Kagawa on the left look stupid, says ESPN, as he "ran riot down that side" and set up one of Everton's two goals. Stones, meanwhile was "near-perfect" in the centre says Bleacher Report. He "shows ball-playing prowess, positional awareness and great aggression when needed". Their team mate Leighton Baines also deserves a mention, but he misses out to former Man Utd player O'Shea, who showed Old Trafford what they are missing with a fine performance as Sunderland stunned Chelsea. "He was very solid... and made sensible decisions at the right times which allowed his side to stay in front," says website HITC. Arsenal centre back Mertesacker also gets the nod after a fine showing against Hull. "The German has made 48 starts for his club this season and has been immense. For me, he is their player of the season," says Garth Crooks of the BBC.
Midfield: Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard (both Liverpool), Christian Eriksen (Spurs), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Another Merseyside pair anchor the midfield. Sterling was a universal choice for TotW thanks to his two goals against Norwich, which also made him the highest-scoring player in Fantasy Football this week. Crooks describes Sterling as "sensational" but says his captain Gerrard is "ice-cool". The veteran refused to buckle at Carrow Road and led from the front. "To retain such an air of calm and composure in what is proving to be a most important season for his club – and city – is a special quality," says Crooks. Elsewhere, and Eriksen produced "another magnificent showing" for Spurs, says Bleacher Report, teeing up two Spurs goals with inch-perfect free kicks. The final spot goes to Asenal midfielder Ramsey, who has "hit the ground running" after a three month lay-off, according to ESPN. He scored one and notched two assists against Hull. Would the Gunners still be in the title race if he had not been injured?
Attack: Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)
Bony felled Newcastle on Saturday with injury time goals in each half. It inflicted a fifth straight defeat on the Magpies, earned Swansea three vital points that could keep them up and secured him the man of the match award in The Guardian. "Bereft of goals and leadership, Newcastle crave a Bony of their own. Unfortunately he would probably cost around £20m now," it notes. There have been persistent rumours about Podolski's Arsenal future but he is in fine form right now and scored twice against Hull to silence the doubters. "The way he's been playing recently for Arsenal suggests his best days at the Emirates might still be to come," says Crooks of the BBC. ·