In Depth

Sanchez, Mata, Sturridge and Lamela in team of the week

Goals galore in this week's selection after a thrilling round of Premier League games ends with Man United top of the table

A thrilling weekend of Premier League action ended with Manchester United at the top of the table for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired.

The weekend got off to a scintillating start as Spurs came from behind to thrash Man City 4-1. Harry Kane scored his first of the season as City's bad run continued.

United capitalised on their local rivals' misfortunes to take top spot after beating Sunderland 3-0, while Arsenal, and Alexis Sanchez in particular, found their scoring boots against Leicester, winning 5-2.

Liverpool recorded a much-needed 3-2 win over Aston Villa, but Chelsea had to settle for a draw after recovering from 2-0 down against Newcastle and surprise package West Ham also drew 2-2 but remain in third place.

With the two Manchester clubs in first and second, four London clubs round out the top six, with Chelsea the least successful of the capital's teams languishing below Watford down in 15th place.

But who were the stars of a busy weekend? Here's The Week's pick of the experts picks.

Goalkeeper:

David de Gea (Man Utd)

"Of the weekend's Premier League goalkeepers, David de Gea was one of only two not to concede," notes the Irish Examiner. "Sunderland provided poor opposition, but he was still tested and, crucially, his presence gives United significant confidence."

Defence:

Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), Toby Alderweireld (Spurs), Chris Smalling (Man United)

After a high scoring weekend only three out and out defenders make the team. But Southampton centre back Van Dijk was a near universal choice. "He showed what a cracking signing he is, did his job magnificently and scored a super goal," says Paul Mariner of ESPN. "Assured" Man United defender Smalling impressed Mariner's ESPN colleague Gab Marcotti. "He's growing from game to game," he says. "Sunderland were not much in the way of competition, but he did his part."

Spurs centre back Alderweireld, who got on the scoresheet against Man City, also makes the cut after being picked by Harry Redknapp in his team of the weekend in the Daily Telegraph and making the Fantasy Premier League dream team.

Midfield:

Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Juan Mata (Liverpool), Erik Lamela, Eric Dier (both Spurs), James Milner (Liverpool)

Arsenal winger Sanchez finally found the net this week, then found it twice more as he notched a hat-trick against Leicester and earned a place in everyone's team of the week. "The tireless winger was sensational at the King Power Stadium, netting a triple as he became the first player in history to score a hat-trick in Serie A (for Udinese), La Liga (Barcelona) and now the Premier League," notes website The Offside Rule.

Man United forward Mata was one goal behind Sanchez with two against Sunderland, and was the second highest points scorer in Fantasy Premier League. "It has been Mata's consistent performances for the Red Devils under Louis van Gaal that have helped transform their season," says Garth Crooks of the BBC.

Two goalscoring Spurs midfielders make the cut. Dier has been a "revelation" in midfield says Crooks and looks "imperious" in front of the centre backs. "What makes this position so exciting... is Dier occasionally goes walkabout looking for goalscoring opportunities," he adds. Lamela, Spurs' £30m man "impressed throughout", according to the Irish Examiner and is "gradually beginning to show his potential".

The final berth goes to Milner of Liverpool, who also got on the scoresheet against Villa. Described by ESPN as the "ultimate utility player" he was deployed in his best position of central midfield where he provided leadership and a goal for a team that was very nervous.

Attack:

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Perez Ayoze (Newcastle)

Liverpool striker Sturridge is finally back, much to the delight of under pressure manager Brendan Rodgers. "Back with a bang is an overused saying, but an applicable one this week as Sturridge returned from his long-term injury with two goals against Aston Villa," says The Offside Rule.

Newcastle striker Perez was part of the team that almost felled Chelsea. "He effortlessly found space in a sluggish Chelsea defence – particularly in the first half – and as a result, he scored a fine goal," says Gab Marcotti of ESPN.

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