In Depth

De Gea, Fabregas and Aguero star in team of the week

Three Man City players and two from Man United provide the backbone of this week's pick of the best

Arsenal remain top of the Premier League despite being held to a goalless draw by Stoke City on Sunday. A point was all it took to propel the Gunners back to the summit as second-placed Leicester also failed to win, against Aston Villa, on Saturday.

The two clubs are tied on 44 points, with Arsenal ahead on goal difference.

However, things are getting tight at the top as Manchester City are now just one point behind the leaders after routing Crystal Palace 4-0. Fourth placed Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester United, in fifth, also closed the gap with wins at the weekend. 

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

Goalkeeper:

David de Gea (Manchester United)

The keeper was in fine form against Liverpool and his team's victory was as much down to him as it was to Wayne Rooney's strike. "Petr Cech and Jack Butland were superb in their respective fixtures but if you want to know why Real Madrid are still chasing David de Gea, you need look no further than his performance for Manchester United against arch rivals Liverpool," says Garth Crooks of the BBC.

Defence:

Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth), Leighton Baines (Everton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

With a goal from the penalty spot and an assist and a clean sheet, Daniels was the top Fantasy Premier League scorer this week, with 18 points. That wasn't all: "As well as being strong in defence the left-back combined brilliantly with Marc Pugh to terrorise the Canaries defence," says Goal.com

Everton defender Baines, the second left-back in the team, was pivotal to Everton's performance in their 3-3 draw with Chelsea. "He provided assist for the first two goals and had more touches than any other Everton player on the pitch," notes website League Lane. "He is back to his best," says Garth Crooks.

Man Utd centre-back Smalling was at his best against Liverpool, says ESPN, and snuffed out any creativity from the home side going forward. "It wasn't exactly the most enthralling or high quality of games, [but] Smalling did stand out with a fine defensive display," adds the website.

Man City full back Zabaleta took advantage of a rare run out for the first team to prove he still has what it takes at the top level. He features in Harry Redknapp's team of the week in the Daily Telegraph and Garth Crooks was also impressed by his understanding with team-mate Kevin de Bruyne. "[He] is going to be a very important addition for Manchester City during their title challenge in the second half of the season," he says.

Midfield:

James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Georginio Wijnaldum (Newcastle United), Christian Eriksen (Spurs)

Southampton youngster Ward-Prowse had a fine game against West Brom, scoring a stunning free kick and converting a penalty in a 3-0 win. He simply "couldn't be ignored", says the Daily Express. He also makes Harry Redknapp's team of the week in the Daily Telegraph and is the top-scoring midfielder in Fantasy Premier League.

Chelsea creator Fabregas "looked back to his best after being deployed as a No.10 as he laid on Diego Costa for the home side's first goal before finding the net himself just seconds later," says Goal.com.

It's been a difficult season for City midfielder Delph, but he took his chance against Crystal Palace. "Not only did he score, he was very composed in the midfield and showed the stuff he is made of as City showed superiority over Palace," says website League Lane. 

Newcastle midfielder Wijnaldum scored against West Ham to lift the Magpies out of the relegation zone. "There hasn't been a great deal to provide cheer at Newcastle this season, but one thing that has most certainly given their fans something to feel better about is the form of summer signing," says ESPN. He also makes Harry Redknapp's team of the weekend.

Spurs midfielder Eriksen was "an easy choice" for team of the week, says the Express, after two goals in his team's 4-1 win over Sunderland. "He's the sort of footballer fans have no problem paying decent money to see," says Garth Crooks.

Attack:

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

There is only one man up front but even on his own City goal machine, Aguero would give most defences a run for their money - and he certainly did that against Crystal Palace on Saturday. 

"Aguero is perhaps the finest player in the division when he's fit and on form," purrs ESPN. "The Argentinean guided City to their comfortable 4-0 win over Palace with another fine display and a brace of goals, as well as laying one on for David Silva when he could easily have completed his hat-trick." 

Recommended

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs
Pin badges showing face of Cristiano Ronaldo
Expert’s view

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs

The heavy consequences of ‘light touch’ refereeing
Man Utd’s Bruno Fernandes confronts Southampton’s Jack Stephens
Why we’re talking about . . .

The heavy consequences of ‘light touch’ refereeing

‘Kane has found a gentlemen’s agreement is meaningless in the brutal world of football’
Harry Kane
Instant Opinion

‘Kane has found a gentlemen’s agreement is meaningless in the brutal world of football’

Premier League: pundit predictions
Manchester City are the Premier League defending champions
Expert’s view

Premier League: pundit predictions

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

Penguins ‘might be aliens’
Penguins
Tall Tales

Penguins ‘might be aliens’

The most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

The most extreme weather events in 2021

The Week Footer Banner