De Gea, Rooney, Hazard and Bolasie in team of the week
Man United provide the spine with Spurs, Newcastle and Crystal Palace heroes also in the side
Chelsea's imperious march towards the Premier League title continued this weekend as the equally impressive declines of Arsenal and Liverpool continued, with the Gunners blowing their chance against Man United at the Emirates and Liverpool experiencing more pain against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Elsewhere, Newcastle won yet again to propel themselves into the European places and Burnley secured a second successive win. Everton and Spurs both secured much-needed wins to go level on points with Arsenal in an increasingly congested table, with just two points separating fourth from tenth. Indeed, Man United in fourth are 13 points behind Chelsea, but only 11 points clear of QPR at the foot of the table.
But after another weekend of thrills and spills (of red wine in some cases), who were the standout performers? Here's our pick of the experts picks.
Goalkeeper:David de Gea (Man United)There was strong competition from West Brom's heroic stopper Ben Foster, but for coming out on the winning side De Gea gets the nod. The United stopper refused to be beaten until well into stoppage time and made an impressive eight saves as the visitors "somehow" beat Arsenal at the Emirates, says the Daily Star.
Defence:Gael Clichy (Man City), Chris Smalling (Man United), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Massadio Haidara (Newcastle United)There is little agreement this week among the experts with over a dozen defenders in the running. But some did better than others. Man City defender Clichy produced "another sound performance" against Swansea, says Garth Crooks of the BBC, and was only denied a wondergoal by a fine save from Luksz Fabianski. He has won manager Manuel Pellegrini's trust says Crooks. Smalling of Man United appears to be winning over his manager as well, and put in an "excellent" performance at the Emirates, says website Caughtoffside, banishing memories of his "dismal performance in the Manchester derby".
Former Man United man O'Shea impressed the Daily Star as he "snuffed out a Leicester front line as the Black Cats when three games unbeaten". The final berth goes to Newcastle man Haidara, who is finally beginning to live up to his promise. "Haidara's bombarding runs and impressive physical edge — in addition to his improving defensive nous — will have been noted by Alan Pardew here," says Bleacher Report.
Midfield:Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Christian Eriksen (Spurs), Eden Hazard (Chelsea)Palace winger Bolasie is the player that came closest to unifying the pundits this week with more votes than any other. He "tore Liverpool to shreds" says Bleacher Report, which notes that he set up two of Palace's goals. "The tricky winger ran right at Javi Manquillo all game and had him pedaling backward in fear... he then switched wings and beat Glen Johnson with ease." Newcastle beat QPR thanks to a goal from Sissoko and ESPN believes he is "the main driving force behind Newcastle's revival" and his performance on Saturday showed "why he was one of the most coveted midfielders in Europe".
Spurs hero Eriksen scored a wonderful 90th-minute winner against Hull and was the top points scorer this week on fantasy Premier League. He was also man of the match for The Guardian. The final place goes to Chelsea man Hazard, who even outshone team-mate Cesc Fabregas as he scored the Blues' second goal against West Brom. His performance was, according to the Daily Star, "sublime".
Attack:Wayne Rooney (Man United), Danny Ings (Burnley)Rooney had a difficult start to the season but he scored the killer goal against Arsenal on Saturday. "He has proved his worth for both club and country in recent weeks and notched another key goal in United's key victory at the Emirates," says ESPN. Burnley beat Stoke thanks to two goals in two minutes from Ings, and are no longer bottom of the table. "Ings will need to score a fair few more goals to ensure the Clarets don't get relegated, but the good news is he appears to be finding his goalscoring touch," says Bleacher Report.