Salah, Mane, De Bruyne and Morata 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 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: Tottenham usually gain the plaudits for their swashbuckling attack, but it's at the back where praise is due this week, with third choice Paulo Gazzaniga excelling in Sunday's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Drafted in late on with Hugo Lloris and then Michel Vorm unavailable, Gazzaniga was superb. An excellent save at 0-0 denied Scott Dann in the first half, and the Spurs keeper made two further smart stops in the second half. A superb debut for 25-year-old, and straight into our XI. "What a game -- some amazing saves to give Spurs the platform to get the three points," Paul Mariner said. Steve Nicol agrees, edging out Gab Marcotti's selection of Huddersfield keeper Jonas Lossl.
Right-back: Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta must be one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. The Spain international was pivotal in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Manchester United, stern in defence and decisive in attack. His superb cross led to the only goal of the game and earned him a spot in our side. "As per usual, he turned in another great performance in a big game and what a cross for the winner," Mariner said, and just like Gazzaniga, two gang up on one with Nicol making his choice there as well.
Centre-back: Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe claimed his side's 1-0 win at Newcastle could be a turning point in their season, and he has Steve Cook to thank for delivering it. Cook's first goal since December 2016, a 90th-minute header past Rob Elliot, earned a second successive away win. Cook has also become a good luck charm: Bournemouth have won the past six matches he has scored in. And once again, it's a full house from our panel. Nicol was impressed by Cook's prowess in attack, while Mariner added: "A clean sheet and he popped up with a vital goal -- job done." Marcotti makes it another unanimous selection and said: "He was at the heart of everything good Bournemouth did in that second half."
Centre-back: Burnley have conceded a paltry nine goals this season -- a record bettered only by the two Manchester clubs and Tottenham. Among the reasons why they're so resolute is defender James Tarkowski. Earmarked as a potential wildcard in the England squad, he didn't get Gareth Southgate's call but can console himself with a place in our team. Tarkowski was supreme at the back as Burnley eked out a 1-0 win at Southampton, with Nicol and Mariner impressed with the 24-year-old's commanding performance.
Left-back: It's time to give Alberto Moreno some love. So often the target of criticism, often from his own fans, the Liverpool left-back is enjoying a new lease of life. Moreno was stupendous at West Ham as Liverpool cruised to victory, powering down the left to offer an outlet for his teammates. Mariner went for Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen and Nicol wanted Cook, Tarkowski and Azpilicueta in a back three, but we'll side with Marcotti's pick here. "He rarely gets much love, but on the front foot he shows he can be capable," he said.
Midfield: Manchester City's awesome attack has scored 52 goals in all competitions so far this season -- in part thanks to the excellent protection they get further back. Fernandinho has been superb this term and was excellent once again as Pep Guardiola's men ran out 3-1 winners against Arsenal. Nicol hailed the Brazilian's physicality in the middle as City racked up a ninth successive Premier League win and Mariner said: "He displayed brilliant passing and offered great protection in front of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi. Claimed an assist and played a super ball to release Raheem Sterling who drew the foul for the penalty that made it 2-0." Nicol picked him too and so did Marcotti, who said: "He was everywhere at once, disrupting Arsenal and having the keys to the attack. Let's stop calling him underrated."
Midfield: Plenty of options here and not much agreement, with Nicol wanting N'Golo Kante and Marcotti going for Leicester's Vicente Iborra. But we're siding with Mariner, who selected Cesc Fabregas. "Composure, guile and work rate -- he ran the show," Mariner said and that's a pretty fair assessment of the Spaniard's performance. Fabregas was at the heart of everything in the middle as United lost the midfield battle.
Forward: It was like he had never been away. Sadio Mane was at his blistering best in Liverpool's 4-1 demolition job on West Ham, creating two goals as the Reds' attacking machine clicked into gear the the London Stadium. Led by Mane, there were just 13 seconds between West Ham's corner and Liverpool's opener; Mane motoring away before laying the ball off for Mohamed Salah to slip home.
Forward: The mercurial Kevin De Bruyne has a compelling case to be regarded as the best player in the Premier League right now, and the Manchester City slicker showed why on Sunday, slamming in a sumptuous opener as City saw off Arsenal. De Bruyne is the creative hub of Pep Guardiola's team, and when he plays well, City are unstoppable. His nonchalant brilliance fully deserved his 8/10 rating and Mariner said: "He ran the show. Another masterclass."
Forward: The signing of the season so far? Quite possibly. Signed for what seems a bargain £35 million last summer, Mohamed Salah now has 12 goals in all competitions for Liverpool -- just two fewer than last season's top scorer, Philippe Coutinho. Salah is loving life in the Premier League after an abrupt end to his first crack at it during his short spell at Chelsea, and a fine double against hapless West Ham secured his place in our team. "What a signing," purrs Mariner. "His speed with the ball is frightening." Nicol agrees, and Marcotti added: "It's almost too easy for him to punish sides on the break. Now he's got composure in his locker, too -- he's devastating."
Striker: In the battle of the two big summer signings, there was only one winner. Alvaro Morata made the difference, meeting Azpilicueta's cross to power a stunning header past David De Gea. He was the Chelsea match winner while Romelu Lukaku toiled for Jose Mourinho's men. "The difference," says Nicol and Mariner added: "The big game, the big stage and he delivered. A classic header won the match." It ended Morata's six-game goal drought and lifted Chelsea to one point behind Sunday's beaten opponents. Marcotti said: "He battled against United's three centre-backs, often on his own, and was rewarded with the winner, a gorgeous header."
Manager: A nod to Sean Dyche, whose reputation is at its highest after masterminding Burnley's rise to seventh in the table, but our panel have gone for Antonio Conte. Sunday was a massive match for the Italian, who continues to deal with stories and conjecture that suggest he may be on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge. But he coaxed a big performance out of his players and deserves to lead our XI. "It was a big call to leave out David Luiz, but it worked as the Chelsea manager put the horror show against Roma behind him," says Mariner. Nicol is in agreement and just to round things off, so is Marcotti, who said: "Everyone was prescribing gloom and doom, and he made a huge call in dropping Luiz. He was vindicated."
Alex Shaw is General Editor at ESPN FC. He has written for national newspapers across the world for over 12 years. Twitter: @AlexShawESPN.