In Depth

Cech, Cahill, Hazard and Coutinho star in team of the week

Three Chelsea players and two from Leicester join Arsenal keeper in this week's pick of the experts' picks

It's tight at the top of the Premier League, with just one point separating the top five.

Chelsea are back in the mix after three straight wins including Sunday's 4-0 demolition of Man United, but they must be grateful that the pace-setters Man City have hit a rough patch. Although City remain top on goal difference from Arsenal and Liverpool they have not won for three games, and drew with Southampton on Sunday.

Arsenal and Spurs, who are fifth, both blew the chance to carve out a lead at the top of the table as they were both held to goalless draws on Saturday by Middlesbrough and Bournemouth respectively.

Indeed, Liverpool and Chelsea were the only sides in the top half of the division to win this weekend. The next side in the table to earn three points were Champions Leicester, who are struggling down in 12th, but made up some ground with victory over Crystal Palace.

But who were the stars of the weekend action? Here's the week's pick of the experts' picks:

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech (Arsenal)

The experts were torn between the two goalkeepers on show at the Emirates with both Cech and Boro stopper Victor Valdes enjoying excellent afternoons in the 0-0 draw.

But Cech gets the nod from the Daily Star, which says: "Arsenal have their lucky stars and the Czech goalkeeper to thank for not losing to Middlesbrough."

Defence: Christian Fuchs (Leicester City), Cesar Azpilicueta,  Gary Cahill (both Chelsea), Winston Reid (West Ham)

Leicester finally got their campaign rolling with victory over Palace and Fuchs played his part with a goal of the season contender, says ESPN. He "patrolled the left flank with his usual enthusiasm in the 3-1 win over Palace and let rip with a howitzer after a corner fell his way. What a strike."

The two Chelsea defenders both make the Daily Star team. Azpilicueta "proved he can deliver at any position and stood tall against United's stars", while Cahill "showed serious signs of regaining his confidence at the back and scored his team's second goal".

West Ham defender Reid is picked by Garth Crooks of the BBC for the second Monday in a row. "Last week he battened down the hatches against Crystal Palace and this week he provided the goal that gave a lucky West Ham three points that were so desperately needed," he says.

Midfield: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Adama Traore (Middlesbrough), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Oriol Romeu (Southampton)

Liverpool playmaker Coutinho was a "constant threat" against West Brom says the Daily Express. And his "fifth goal of the season was an absolute beauty, cutting inside two defenders and striking into the bottom corner".

Traore was "absolutely sensational" for Middlesbrough says Alan Smith of the Daily Telegraph. "I did not realise Aston Villa were so flush with talent last season they could afford to leave him out."

Shaqiri, who scored twice for Stoke against Hull, was the highest point score in Fantasy Premier League and also makes the Goal.com team of the week, among others.

Romeu was a shining light for Southampton as they held City to a draw at the Etihad. He made "more passes than any other Saints player," says the Express, "and also topped the tackling charts with eight challenges".

Attack: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Shinji Okazaki (Leicester)

Chelsea's Belgian playmaker is "back, alright, and confirmation came in front of the boss for whom he looked so disinterested last season", says ESPN. "A superb goal was just reward for a vintage offering."

Alongside him is the Leicester striker, who scored in the Foxes' 3-1 win over Palace. "Okazaki's performance against a disturbingly ordinary Crystal Palace seems to have got the Foxes' Premier League campaign back on track," says Crooks of the BBC, who believes it was a victory "stimulated by Okazaki's sheer energy and directness".

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

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 man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives
Kenneth Feinberg at a Congressional hearing
Profile

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives

The Week Footer Banner