In Depth

Aguero, Sanchez, Hazard and Heaton in team of the week

City and Arsenal strikers unanimous choices with Burnley keeper after outstanding weekend performances

It's tight at the top of the Premier League and it looks like it will be a thrilling title race in store this season. 

While the four leading teams, who all scored four goals and won handsomely at the weekend, are moving away from the pack, there is little or nothing to separate them. 

Manchester City are one of three sides on 23 points, but remain top on goal difference after returning to winning ways against West Brom. 

Arsenal come in second, Liverpool in third and Chelsea are one point behind in fourth.

Unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur dropped more points at the weekend and are in fifth place. However, with only three points between them and the leaders, they still remain in touch, which is more than can be said for Man United, languishing in eighth place and eight points adrift after a draw with Burnley.

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

Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton (Burnley)

No doubt about the choice of keeper this week. The Burnley man – and former United trainee - held Jose Mourinho's men at bay as the Premier League minnows earned a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. Heaton pulled off a series of outstanding saves to maintain his clean sheet and "was nothing short of breathtaking" against his old club, says Garth Crooks of the BBC.

Defence: Michael Keane (Burnley), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Joel Matip (Liverpool)

Heaton was not the only Burnley hero at Old Trafford - Keane, another United old-boy, was also impressive. "Keane continued his outstanding season by contributing more blocks and clearances than anybody else on the field," says the Daily Mirror.

Arsenal's forgotten man Gibbs gave a reminder of his qualities against Sunderland. He is not a player vying for a place in the dream team every week, says Alan Smith of the Daily Telegraph, but he deserves "great credit" for a "superb attacking display".

Liverpool centre-back Matip also makes the cut in a three-man back line. "He has been Liverpool's best defender this year and in the 4-2 win against Crystal Palace he also popped up with a key goal," says Gab Marcotti of ESPN.

Midfield: Ilkay Gundogan (Man City), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Ross Barkley (Everton)

Germany midfielder Gundogan inspired City to a 4-0 win at West Brom and his two goals and an assist made him the top Fantasy Premier League points scorer on a weekend of goals. It was a "fantastic display", says the Daily Star.

Palace midfielder McArthur also scored twice, but it was not enough and they went down 4-2 to Liverpool. It was only the player's second Premier League double, says Goal.com, and takes "his seasonal tally to four, more than he has scored in any previous PL season".

Hazard was back to something approaching his best as Chelsea beat Southampton. He has "scored in three consecutive PL games for the first time in his career and scored and assisted in the same PL game for the first time since April 2015", reports Goal.com.

Liverpool's inspiration in the win over Palace was Coutinho, says Crooks of the BBC. "He might only be 5ft 7in but he stood head and shoulders above any other player at Selhurst Park on Saturday evening. The Brazilian was involved in almost every move Liverpool produced."  

Barkley, meanwhile, scored a crucial goal and showed "maturity, strength and quality", says Marcotti of ESPN, as Everton ended a run of five games without a win against West Ham.

Attack: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Sergio Aguero (Man City)

As with Heaton in goal, these two were unanimous choices for this week's team. Sanchez "simply ran the heart out of Sunderland, picked up his two goals as a reward for his efforts and went home", says Crooks, adding that playing him as a striker has been a "masterstroke" from Arsene Wenger. "Sanchez could have the same impact on Arsenal as [Luis] Suarez had on Liverpool," he says.

From a striker proving his worth to another who is having to do the same. City boss Pep Guardiola has not seemed "overly enamoured" with Aguero recently, says the Mirror, "but the Argentina striker was back to his unstoppable best on Saturday".

ESPN agrees. "Any doubts about Sergio Aguero's future at Manchester City should be forgotten after a dominant display at the Hawthorns," it says. 

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