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Forget Messi and Ronaldo: Piatek leads top leagues in goals

FC United

Transfer Rater: Demirbay to Liverpool

Football Whispers
 By Michael Wade

Mesut Ozil joined by Man City stars in Premier League 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.

ESPN FC's experts picked their Team of the Weekend. Agree? Disagree?
ESPN FC's Premier League Team of the Weekend.

Goalkeeper: We kick off with a familiar face. Manchester City No. 1 Ederson was selected last week, and following another impressive showing in the 4-1 victory against Tottenham, Steve Nicol sees no reason to drop him. "I don't think I've ever seen a goalkeeper play three better passes," he exclaimed while praising the 24-year-old's all-round game.

Right-back: It's between Joe Gomez and Kyle Walker for the next spot in our XI, but the Liverpool man edges out his City and England rival thanks to the kind of assured display that has become his trademark this season. Gab Marcotti points out that the benefits Gomez provides are two-fold, saying: "He supplies the cover needed for Mohamed Salah and others to do their thing up front and protects Ragnar Klavan, as well."

Centre-back: There was a time when selecting a Crystal Palace defender in this side might have seen you laughed out of the office. Not anymore. Scott Dann was a rock at the back as Palace kept their third clean sheet in five games. But what's the secret to their new-found form? "It's just good old-fashioned defending," according to Nicol.

Centre-back: Lining up alongside Dann at the back is another familiar face. Angelo Ogbonna got the nod last week after helping West Ham to keep their first clean sheet of the season. Since then, they have kept two more and look a side transformed. The Italy international is a major factor in that, according to Marcotti, who says: "Ogbonna sparkled as he mixed it with both the tall Peter Crouch and the muscular Mame Biram Diouf."

Marcos Alonso scores for Chelsea during their Premier League game against Southampton.
Marcos Alonso was central to Chelsea's win against Southampton.

Left-back: The first unanimous pick of the week is Marcos Alonso, and it's easy to see why. Marcotti notes that Alonso's "free kick was the difference between Chelsea and Southampton, and he's always a threat in the air, too." Besides the winning goal, Alonso was in position for three other chances on goal, as well as contributing toward an important clean sheet.

Midfield: At some point our panel will run out of superlatives for Kevin De Bruyne. Not just yet, though. "The best midfielder in the world at the moment," is Nicol's assessment after watching another brilliant display. Marcotti adds: "He has got silky skills and this time, some crunching tackles as well. What more do you want?"

Midfield: Nicol and Marcotti are in agreement that Aaron Mooy is our midfield leader this week. He was outstanding as Huddersfield won away from home for the first time since August, scoring twice to help defeat Watford 4-1.

Mesut Ozil celebrates after scoring for Arsenal against Newcastle.
Mesut Ozil scored Arsenal's winning goal in their Premier League game against Newcastle.

Midfield: Completing the midfield is a player Nicol describes as "pure quality." Mesut Ozil put in the kind of performance Arsenal fans know he is capable of but that is not seen nearly often enough. "A tremendous goal," Marcotti adds, "but a tremendously improved performance, as well, relative to the start of the season."

Forward: Manuel Lanzini is described by Marcotti as "the poor man's Philippe Coutinho," and it is Liverpool's brilliant Brazilian whom he beats to a place in our XI this week. West Ham have tightened up at the back, but Lanzini flourished against Stoke, setting up two goals in a 3-0 win and proving that flair players can flourish under David Moyes.

Centre forward: Christian Benteke was held responsible for the penalty miss that cost Palace three points against Bournemouth last week, but he shrugged off the pressure, scoring one and set up another to make amends against Leicester. "He was under huge pressure," Nicol said, "but he came up with the goods when it mattered."

Christian Benteke scores for Crystal Palace against Leicester.
Christian Benteke played a huge role as Crystal Palace moved out of the relegation zone.

Forward: It's almost a job in itself deciding which City players should make the cut from one week to the next. This week, Leroy Sane edges out two-goal teammate Raheem Sterling after impressing the panel with a performance of all-round quality. "Just frightening" is Nicol's honest assessment, while Marcotti weighs in with: "When he's like this, he's nearly unplayable. Direct, hard-working and unselfish."

Manager: The panel are also in full agreement on the man in the dugout. Roy Hodgson extended Crystal Palace's unbeaten run to seven games while ending Leicester's four-game winning streak. Palace are now out of the bottom three and look a safe bet to avoid relegation, and it's down to the former England manager's steady hand at the wheel.


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