Lloris, Zouma, Blind and Cazorla all make Team of the Weekend
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Our panel of experts carefully select 11 star performers along with a manager.
Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section at the foot of the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #TOTW. Plus, tune in to Monday's "ESPN FC" (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) for more reaction.
Goalkeeper: It's all been a bit too cordial in the past few weeks, consensus getting in the way of a good old argument. So, it is with the greatest of respect that I'm going to completely ignore all three of our pundits' selections for goalkeeper of the weekend. Gab Marcotti is right, Lukasz Fabianski had a fine game for Swansea in their south coast smash and grab raid; Paul Mariner is correct when he says David Ospina did well for Arsenal and Steve Nicol is spot on singling out Asmir Begovic for praise as Stoke beat QPR. But there's only one man for me -- Hugo Lloris. Spurs' goalkeeper was imperious at West Brom and made two world-class saves that denied Saido Berahino and James Morrison.
Right Back: Our right-back is Hector Bellerin. Perhaps overshadowed in the race to heap praise on Francis Coquelin after Arsenal's win at Manchester City, the Spaniard has steadily been acclimating to the top flight in recent weeks. He was rewarded with his first goal for the club on Sunday, as Arsenal brushed aside Aston Villa. Both Steve Nicol and Gab Marcotti saluted his strike, the latter going to say: "This game is made for him and he's rewarded with a goal. But nobody can deny how far he's come in the past few months."
Centre Back: Let's be honest, Everton took a battering at Selhurst Park. In-form Crystal Palace put them under pressure from the second Romelu Lukaku scored and didn't let up for the next 80 minutes or so. Gone were the expansive full-backs, split centre halves and playing out from the back and in came good, old-fashioned defending. Their gritty charge was led by Phil Jagielka -- a unanimous choice by our three pundits. All three hailed his magnificent goal line clearance, while Paul Mariner adds that the 32-year-old was a much needed "tower of strength" for Roberto Martinez.
Centre Back: Fabricio Coloccini (Gab Marcotti) and Mamadou Sakho (Steve Nicol) were in the running but I've plumped for Kurt Zouma as Jagielka's partner at the heart of our TOTW defence. For a game of such magnitude (that actually turned out to be a little disappointing) the 20-year-old was calmness personified and aside from the predictable vignettes of panic instilled by Sergio Aguero, was rock solid throughout. As Paul Mariner explains: "He's looking to be a rock at the back for Chelsea for many years to come. Very assured for a youngster."
Left Back: It feels like Patrick van Aanholt has been around for years. His latest dropping off point has come at Sunderland and judging by his display against Burnley, he may well be getting to grips with the rigours of the Premier League. As is ever the case with TOTW, full backs tend to barge their way in by virtue of a promising attacking display and that is certainly the case with the 24-year-old, whose lung-busting run and precise cross allowed Jermain Defoe to score Sunderland's second goal against Sean Dyche's men.
Right Midfield: "Dispenses assists left and right, opponents can't get near him," so says Gab Marcotti regarding Santi Cazorla. After last week's tour de force at Manchester City, the Spaniard was a class above hapless Aston Villa at the Emirates. If the rest of Arsenal's players could harness the finesse and work rate he's shown in the last few weeks they might well be in the title mix alongside Manchester City and Chelsea. Paul Mariner adds: "We are loving watching him, creative on the ball and hard-working when tracking back."
Centre midfield: This season's TOTW has been one long Nemanja Matic love-in and our pundits were falling over themselves to praise the Serbian after Chelsea locked down a 1-1 draw with Manchester City on Saturday. Matic manages to ally diligent distribution with a sixth sense in terms of breaking up attacking movements. Steve Nicol thinks he is "the best in the business," Paul Mariner says he is having an incredible season and Gab Marcotti adds the gloss by commenting: "So what if Chelsea park the bus? He's the one driving it. And he does it like nobody else."
Centre midfield: Next to him is a Dutchman making a good impression after a summer move to the Premier League. Louis van Gaal was anxious that Daley Blind join him at Old Trafford and we are starting to see why. Blind went about his business with relish as Manchester United embarked on their quest for revenge against Leicester City, laying on a sublime assist for Robin van Persie's opening goal. Gab Marcotti's analysis is thus: "Van Gaal's lopsided lineup means he has to protect the defence on his own. He's more than up to the task." Paul Mariner calls Blind the "glue in the middle of the park."
Left Midfield: Was this the Premier League assist of the season? Philippe Coutinho's reverse pass for Raheem Sterling's opening goal for Liverpool against West Ham was sensational. The Brazilian mirrors Liverpool's season, slowly cranking into gear and recapturing last season's vim and vigour. Not only did he link well with Sterling, he also recaptured his understanding with Daniel Sturridge almost immediately, laying on Liverpool's second for the returning striker. Gab Marcotti wonders if this is the 22-year-old's "finest stint since landing at Anfield" while Steve Nicol's assessment of that first assist is simply "WOW."
No.10: Christian Eriksen, Sterling and Stephen Ireland were in contention but for propelling Newcastle to a much-needed first win under head coach John Carver, Remy Cabella gets the nod. After promising much in his first few weeks in the Toon, the Frenchman finally delivered at Hull, scoring his first goal for the club in a resounding 3-0 win. Playing on the right of a five-man midfield he was Newcastle's go-to man in creative terms, and provided a constant threat to a struggling Hull defence. Paul Mariner calls his display "excellent" and says his goal arrived at precisely the right time.
Striker: How fitting that on what would have been the 100th birthday of Sir Stanley Matthews, a Stoke player stepped forward to register their first ever Premier League hat trick. Look up "graft" in the dictionary and you might well see Jonathan Walters peering back at you, but as well as the hard work he offers, the man can play -- and as it turns out, score the perfect treble. All three of our pundits emphasised how much effort he puts in and his selflessness in our lone striker formation have put pay to Harry Kane's chances of inclusion.
Manager: An honourable mention in dispatches to Garry Monk (Gab Marcotti's choice for manager of the weekend) but our other two have plumped for John Carver. His has been an uneasy temporary reign, but in his first match as a fully fledged head coach, he came away with a 3-0 win at Hull -- an "incredible" result according to Steve Nicol. He may be a tad emotional and managed to bang his head off the team bus upon arriving at the KC Stadium, but he doesn't want for passion. The final word, as it so often does, goes to Paul Mariner: "Almost everyone has written him and Newcastle United off since his appointment, but he's done a sensational coaching job, all the players are playing their hearts out for him and after the first goal went in you could see the connection back between manager, players and fans." Enough said.