Ozil joins Rooney, Hazard and Eto'o in team of the week
Arsenal's German star is back to his best and is only cup perfomer in this week's XI
A WEEKEND split between the Premier League and FA Cup has queered the pitch for team of the week. Some experts have made their selections from Premier League games only, while others have picked from across the board. The big winners this weekend were Chelsea and Arsenal. The Blues extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points with a convincing 4-0 win over Spurs, while the Gunners overcame Everton in the FA Cup to book a place in the semi-finals also and saw Man City tumble out of the competition. At the bottom of the Premier League table, Fulham look doomed after defeat to Cardiff in the battle of the basement clubs, while Sunderland are now free to "concentrate on the league" after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Hull. Here's our pick of the experts' picks: Goalkeeper:
Petr Cech (Chelsea).
On a weekend that lacked any outstanding performances between the sticks the Chelsea custodian gets the nod after another clean sheet for the Blues. Garth Crooks of the BBC praises one save from Sandro in particular and notes: "The teams with the best keepers normally win the league". Defence:
Luke Shaw (Southampton), Steven Caulker (Cardiff City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Rafael da Silva (Man Utd).
After making his England debut on Wednesday Shaw impressed again for Southampton as they beat Crystal Palace. He "showed precisely why he's making a late charge to the World Cup in Brazil, proving assured in his defensive duties and threatening going forward", says ESPN. Caulker is a unanimous choice after he scored twice for Cardiff as they overcame Fulham. He was the "key figure" in the match says Goal.com. Cahill was assured for Chelsea against Spurs and, according to Bleacher Report, "we're getting to the point when we need to be talking about Gary Cahill as not just the best English centre-back... but indeed one of the best in the Premier League". The final place goes to Rafael of Man Utd who played with "trademark gusto" against West Brom, putting in his best-ever display for the club according to Steve Nicol of ESPN. Midfield:
Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal).
There was little agreement between the experts over midfield this week. Matic gets the nod from Bleacher Report. "His strength and awareness make him a formidable opponent, but his technique of passing is also impressive," it says. Hazard won over most of the critics and Crooks of the BBC says he is "starting to struggle to find superlatives" for him. "Hazard's very presence was enough to frighten half the Tottenham team to death." Lallana shone for Southampton and The Times says "the new darling of English football reminded everyone why he should be on the plane to Brazil this summer, with another eye-catching display". The final midfield place goes to Ozil, who has recovered from his slump to star for Arsenal against Everton in the FA Cup, scoring the first and teeing up Olivier Giroud for the fourth. He earns the man of the match award from the Daily Mail.
Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea)
If there was confusion elsewhere over this week's selection, these two picked themselves. Rooney helped United overcome West Brom scoring and setting up the third and, according to ESPN, started paying back some of his £300,000-a-week contract. "He looked back to his sharpest and... he delivered when his team needed him to". As for Eto'o, he replaced Fernando Torres up front for Chelsea and had a blinder. "Mourinho may joke about Eto'o's age but the old man looked as sharp as a razor," says Crooks of the BBC.