Walker, Dier, Ozil and Kane make TOTW after north London derby
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Our panel of experts carefully selects 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 below the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #TOTW. Plus, tune in to Monday's ESPN FC show (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) for further reaction.
Goalkeeper: There's only one winner in the race to be named our Team of the Weekend goalkeeper this week, and that's Newcastle's Rob Elliot, who made a string of saves in the Toon's 1-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday. Elliot played through the pain barrier and was expected to miss the trip to the south coast through injury. Gab Marcotti salutes his bravery, saying: "Make no mistake about it, without him Newcastle would have been spanked. Severely." Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner agree.
Full-backs: The pairing of Kyle Walker and Erik Pieters have all our usual requirements -- diligent in their defensive duties and committed to pushing forward whenever the situation arises. For the Stoke man, you can also add brave, battling on in their 1-0 win over Chelsea after smashing his face early in the game. Walker was a constant threat for Spurs in their 1-1 draw at Arsenal and his performance was noted by both Mariner and Nicol, the latter adding: "Walker could do nothing about Kieran Gibbs' goal."
Centre-back: Apart from leading the line superbly well, cajoling those alongside into position and allying some neat distribution to his physical game, Crystal Palace's Scott Dann proved the difference in their 2-1 win against Liverpool, nodding home after his original header was saved. Nicol and Marcotti were both impressed by Dann's leadership at Anfield.
Centre-back: Another Stoke man features alongside Dann and that is Ryan Shawcross. Again, the Mariner-Nicol axis pushed this one through, beating Marcotti's selection of Chris Smalling. Shawcross expertly dealt with Chelsea striker Diego Costa in Stoke's win at the Britannia. "Shawcross stood tall against Chelsea and did not waiver against Costa in an assured display," said Mariner.
Right-wing: Jesse Lingard is the man who is "breathing life into Manchester United's attack," according to Nicol. He was also the man who ended their 260-minute Premier League goal drought. A fine finish it was too, as he arrowed a shot into the far corner from the edge of the box. Marcotti was also a fan, saying: "If Memphis Depay isn't performing, find your own Memphis. Lingard has bounced back from that horrid injury sustained in Louis van Gaal's first league match last season to provide an invaluable alternative. Scored one goal and could have had more." Mariner, meanwhile, neatly summed up Lingard's finish: "It was clinical."
Centre-midfield: Our midfield holder is Eric Dier. In the cauldron of a north London derby, he performed admirably in the centre of the park, playing a prominent role in a first half that Spurs edged. Nicol says Dier has "matured into his role" in the centre of the park, and Mariner elaborates a little further, adding: "Dier did a fantastic job protecting the back four and set off the attacks in the anchor role." He is included ahead of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has impressed since moving to Manchester United and was commanding in their 2-0 win over West Brom on Saturday.
Centre-midfield: Our trio also agree that West Ham's Manuel Lanzini deserves his place too, following a strong performance and fine finish in their 1-1 draw against West Ham. Nicol called Lanzini's strike "pure class" and Marcotti added: "The little man did it again for the Hammers. It was a tidy goal with oodles of creativity."
Left-wing: He's Arsenal's one-man supply line and a Premier League record-breaker to boot. Mesut Ozil provided an assist for the sixth league match in a row, making him the first to do so in a single season. Every ball he put in was menacing, and if Olivier Giroud could actually finish, Arsenal would have beaten Tottenham rather handsomely on Sunday. Gibbs gave Ozil reward for a sparkling afternoon's effort by finishing from the German's fine cross. Here's Gab again: "He provided a gilt-edged assist for Gibbs' goal but just as importantly, he led the charge during Arsenal's rough first half." Marko Arnautovic (Nicol) and Philippe Coutinho (Mariner) miss out.
Striker: Sure, he may have scored in nine Premier League matches in a row -- just one shy of equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy's record -- but Jamie Vardy's ever-presence in TOTW is just as impressive, right? Another goal was duly bagged in Leicester's 2-1 win over Watford, a result that puts Claudio Ranieri's men within touching distance of the top of the Premier League. Riyad Mahrez gave Vardy the ball to take the penalty he scored from and Marcotti said: "Forget that it was a penalty and focus instead on his repeated, lung-bursting runs that fray opposing defences."
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Striker: It's that man Harry Kane again. After a slow start to the season, he now has six in his last four matches, including a well-taken goal in Spurs' draw at Arsenal. He worked tirelessly and his finish from his first big chance of the game underlined his class. Latching on to Danny Rose's fine pass, he made no mistake. Kane was a constant threat to Arsenal, forcing Petr Cech into several saves, and he linked play neatly. Nicol said: "He's England's No.9," and Mariner added: "Kane showed an exemplary ability to lead the line."
Manager: Leicester's Claudio Ranieri edges out Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew with two votes to one. Ranieri has taken Leicester to within a point of the Premier League summit -- and that's remarkable when you consider they seemed relegation certainties back in March. Here's Marcotti to explain his choice: "One point off the top of the league. And they're Leicester. And he just arrived. And they were nearly relegated last season. Get past the goofiness and the tired, stupid stereotypes from a decade ago and you have a darn fine coach." Mariner simply adds: "What a job he's doing."