Hat trick hero Sergio Aguero, brilliant Eden Hazard headline 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: Chelsea might have cruised to a 4-0 win over Brighton, but Willy Caballero was vital in preserving the Blues' clean sheet. The former Man City keeper deputised for the injured Thibaut Courtois and delivered an impressive performance to make it into everyone's Team of the Weekend -- although he was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty for a trip on Ezequiel Schelotto. "You look at the score in this game and you'd think it was easy, but he made some important saves," says Steve Nicol.
Right-back: Victor Moses also enjoyed a fine afternoon for Chelsea, capping off an energetic display with a smart finish to seal the 4-0 victory. As Gabriele Marcotti says, the wing-back "pounds the flank" to play a key role in defence and attack for Antonio Conte's side. The Nigerian international's late strike was only his second of the season after scoring in the Community Shield against Arsenal back in August.
Centre-back: Manchester United had to dig deep to leave Burnley with all three points, with Phil Jones standing out for his defensive resolve. Still only 25, the centre-back has seemingly put his injury problems behind him to cement his place under Jose Mourinho. "It was no frills defending, but United needed him," says Paul Mariner, with Steve Nicol adding that Jones was "phenomenal".
Centre-back: Laurent Koscielny shone against Palace, tapping in the Gunners' fourth from fellow defender Nacho Monreal's cutback. It was a "flawless" performance, says Marcotti, adding "when he's not there, he's sorely missed." Nicol was also a keen admirer of Koscielny's contribution, with the Frenchman a unanimous pick from the weekend's games. He'll be needed when Arsenal face Chelsea's suddenly in-form attack in Wednesday's EFL Cup semifinal second leg.
Left-back: Arsenal will surely miss Alexis Sanchez, but Nacho Monreal did his best to fill in for the Chilean from left-back against Crystal Palace. The Spaniard opened the scoring with a powerful header and then provided assists for Alex Iwobi and Koscielny on the way to a thumping 4-1 victory. Monreal was forced off through injury in the first half, but as Mariner says, his time on the pitch was "very effective," while Marcotti notes it was a "busy afternoon in the opposition half" for the full-back.
Right midfield: Alongside Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne demonstrated his class once again to help maintain City's 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League. The Belgian tested Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow with a low drive in the first half and provided the assist for Sergio Aguero's opener. He "ran the show," as Mariner points out, with Marcotti adding that Newcastle made a game of it, but eventually De Bruyne turned it City's way.
Central midfield: Fernandinho was instrumental again as Manchester City marched to a convincing win at home to Newcastle. The Brazilian was tireless in his team's victory, providing the foundation for City's attack to run riot. Mariner notes the Brazilian's "incredible consistency and quality," while Nicol says "he's the rudder that steers the City ship".
Left midfield: Stoke were desperate for a win against Huddersfield on Saturday, and they got one largely thanks to Joe Allen's performance in midfield. The former Liverpool man led by example under new boss Paul Lambert, opening the scoring with a smart side-footed finish just after half-time. As Huddersfield pushed to find a way back into the game, Allen helped Stoke hold on to possession, with Mariner and Nicol both applauding his efforts.
Forward: After one goal in their previous four matches, Chelsea plundered four in 90 minutes at Brighton thanks largely to Eden Hazard. The Belgian beautifully shifted the ball on to his right foot to fire in the first after just three minutes and was involved in Willian's emphatic strike three minutes later. He capped off a fine display with a fantastic third for Chelsea in the second half, silencing those who have doubted his recent form. "Back to his best" was the verdict across the board.
Forward: Hazard stole the show with his brace at Brighton, but Willian claimed the goal of the afternoon with a thumping finish to round off a brilliant passing move. The Brazilian profited from a pair of clever back-heels by Hazard and Michy Batshuayi, crashing the ball past a helpless Maty Ryan. "It's hard to see why he's not a week in, week out player," says Marcotti, with Mariner adding that "on this performance he must start more games".
Forward: Who else to complete a frightening attacking lineup but Sergio Aguero? The Argentine's devastating hat trick put Newcastle to the sword and took his Premier League tally to 16 for the season. With Gabriel Jesus still working on his return from injury, Aguero continues to prove his quality to Pep Guardiola as City march towards the title. "A hat trick to celebrate the fact that Alexis Sanchez isn't coming," Marcotti amusingly notes.
Manager: Congratulations to Paul Lambert for kicking off his Stoke career with a victory. The Potters had lost their past four matches before Saturday but deserved to beat a Huddersfield side that have now been dragged into the relegation battle. "To get a win with your first game -- it's huge," says Nicol, with Mariner adding that Stoke looked solid after shipping three goals to Manchester United in their previous outing.
Matthew Stanger covers European football for ESPN and is the editor of The Set Pieces. Twitter: @MatthewStanger