In Depth

Cazorla, Eriksen, Oscar and Costa in team of the week

London clubs dominate this week's selection with eight of the XI coming from capital clubs

After what appears to be a critical week in this year's title race, Chelsea are five points clear at the top of the table after they thrashed Swansea and rivals Man City lost at home to an inspired Arsenal.

The result at the Etihad also puts the cat among the pigeons in the race for Europe, with fifth-placed Arsenal now just three points behind Southampton in third, while Liverpool in eighth are also just five points off the Champions League spots.

Leicester City, who lost to Stoke, are now two points adrift at the foot of the table, but only three points separate Crystal Palace in 13th and QPR in 19th.

So who were the star performers this weekend?

Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)

Once again the De Gea was a star as Manchester United overcame a spirited QPR at Loftus Road, making two fine stops from Charlie Austin to keep a clean sheet for the visitors. "De Gea's performance against QPR not only added to Harry Redknapp's woes but also elicited rare public commendation from his manager Louis van Gaal," notes Garth Crooks of the BBC.

Defence: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea), Jan Vertonghen (Spurs), Phil Jones (Man United), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)

Chelsea stalwart Ivanovic grabbed an assist as the Blues put Swansea to the sword on Saturday. "While it was Chelsea's phalanx of attacking stars who stole the show in a first half bursting with quality and clinical finishing, Ivanovic was his usual, busy self, tearing up and down the wing with relish," says ESPN. Vertonghen opened the scoring for Spurs against Sunderland and then had a second goal incorrectly ruled out for offside. He "must have been furious" says Crooks, but at least he gets a place in his team of the weekend.

Man United defender Jones earns his place in the MSN team of the week thanks to some impressive stats. He "attempted the most clearances of any player at Loftus Road on Saturday (12), and made three interceptions", says the website. The final place goes to Arsenal full back Monreal who is "often a fall guy for the Gunners" according to Caughtoffside. But he had a "fine game" against Man City, looking solid at the back and winning a critical penalty.

Midfield: Christian Eriksen (Spurs), Oscar (Chelsea), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Eljero Elia (Southampton)

The Daily Mail hails "late goal specialist" Eriksen, who struck at the death for the fifth time this season to earn Spurs victory over Sunderland, and the paper makes him man of the match. Chelsea star Oscar was also on target scoring twice as the Blues demolished Swansea. "He's playing the best football I've seen him play for Chelsea," purrs Garth Crooks of the BBC.

Man of the weekend is surely Arsenal schemer Cazorla who inspired the Gunners to victory over Man City. ESPN pundit Gab Marcotti says it was his best performance in an Arsenal shirt. "In a disciplined, dogged Arsenal performance, Cazorla was the standout player." The final berth goes to Southampton's new loan signing Elia, who scored both goals against Newcastle at St James's Park. Saints were far from their best says Caughtoffside, but "managed to grind out the points, largely thanks to two well taken goals from new boy Eljero Elia".

Attack: Diego Costa (Chelsea), Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace)

Up front are the two top scorers in fantasy football this week, with both Costa and Gayle scoring 16 points apiece.

Costa added two goals and an assist to his season's tally against Swansea, and MSN points out the Spaniard "has been directly involved in 19 Premier League goals this term; no player has more (17 goals and two assists)".

Gayle meanwhile also scored two and set one up as Palace came from behind against Burnley. "Carry on like this, and Gayle could be a serious asset for Palace," says ESPN.

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