Two-goal heroes Mane, Sanchez and Gabbiadini lead 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 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 at the foot of the article or on Twitter, using the hashtag #ESPNFCTOTW.
Goalkeeper: Victor Valdes' string of fine stops in the Middlesbrough goal against Everton helped secure a valuable point for Aitor Karanka's side. "He really did make some crucial saves in this match," Paul Mariner points out, with fellow Team of the Weekend panellist Shaka Hislop adding: "He seems unbeatable." With Valdes between the sticks, it's no surprise that only Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United have conceded fewer goals than Boro in the Premier League this season.
Defender: Though his teammates further up the pitch will receive more praise for Manchester United's complete performance against Watford, Eric Bailly played his own starring role at the back. Be it his strength in the challenge or passing from deep, he ensured it was a frustrating afternoon for Watford's attack. "When he plays United look very solid," Mariner says of a player who has helped his side to two clean sheets in two games since his return from African Nations Cup duty.
Defender: Alfie Mawson played his part as Swansea bagged a clean sheet in a vital win over champions -- and fellow strugglers -- Leicester, but it's his work at the other end that secured his place in our team. You'll struggle to see a more sweetly-struck goal all weekend than the one Mawson volleyed in to fire his side in front at the Liberty Stadium. A thing of beauty that our third panellist Steve Nicol described as: "A centre-forward's strike from a centre-back."
Defender: Sitting alongside Mawson in the heart of our defence is Liverpool's Lucas Leiva. He may only be filling in for the injured Dejan Lovren, but he produced a calming performance to help his side storm to victory over Tottenham, doing all the right things and, as Hislop notes: "Never putting a foot wrong." Nicol adds: "He was positionally excellent and never looked in trouble against a star-studded Spurs attack."
Defender: Rounding off our back four is Southampton's Ryan Bertrand, who had a field day as his side smashed four past Sunderland. The 27-year-old was a menace down the left for the Saints, setting up Manolo Gabbiadini's opener and forcing Jason Denayer's own goal for the third. "He terrorised Sunderland and going forward was a threat all day," Mariner says, with Hislop adding: "His two assists and a clean sheet were testament to his efforts."
Midfielder: Tottenham's defenders will be having nightmares about Sadio Mane following Saturday's events at Anfield. Two goals in as many minutes blew Mauricio Pochettino's men away and, in truth, the Liverpool man could have had three or four before the first half was done with. "Spurs just had no answer for his pace," points out Mariner. Nicol adds: "He's a superstar in the making." Oh how the Reds could have done with him in January.
Midfielder: As has often been the case this season, Jordan Henderson was the beating heart in Liverpool's all-action display against Tottenham. This was a real captain's performance from the Anfield captain, offering protection to his back four while helping the team drive forward. Nicol sums it up nicely: "Quite simply, the most influential midfielder in the Premier League this weekend."
Midfielder: Henderson lines up alongside a former Liverpool teammate in the heart of midfield, with Joe Allen securing a spot after his match-winning display against Crystal Palace. A number of promising runs into dangerous areas from the Wales international was capped when he eventually found the back of the net with a ruthless hit. "Yet another winning goal for Stoke," Nicol says of a man who is now up to a career best of six strikes for the season.
Midfielder: Jose Mourinho has been demanding more from Anthony Martial during what has often been a frustrating campaign for the forward and, against Watford at Old Trafford, the Manchester United boss got exactly what he was looking for: A match-winning performance that brought with it a clever assist for the opener and a well-taken finish for the second. "He's taken a lot of stick, but that should shut a few people up," says Nicol.
Forward: It wasn't pretty but Arsenal got over the line against Hull and, for that, they can thank Alexis Sanchez. The Premier League's top scorer bagged a crucial brace -- albeit one seemingly came via his hand and the other was from the penalty spot -- to secure a much-needed victory. There's a general consensus that the Gunners might struggle without their star man, with Nicol declaring him: "Arsenal's one-man team," while Mariner labels him: "The club's saviour again."
Forward: If scoring a goal on your debut wasn't quite enough to win over the Southampton faithful then how about following that up with a brace on your second appearance? Manolo Gabbiadini did just that against Sunderland on Saturday and, while his first strike may have been a tad fortuitous, there was nothing lucky about his superb second. "The Saints bought him to score and that's what he does," says Mariner, with Nicol adding: "He smells out goals for fun."
Manager: Jurgen Klopp could well have got the nod to take charge of our team after overseeing a Liverpool masterclass, but it's Paul Clement who edges him out of the dugout. Victory over champions Leicester on Sunday made it four wins from six Premier League matches for Swansea since their new boss was appointed, to take the club four points clear of the drop zone. As Nicol points out: "Swansea have been totally transformed since his arrival."
Tom is a freelance sports journalist. Follow him @Tom_Sweetman