Newcastle's Dubravka, Lascelles earn Team of the Weekend honours
Every Sunday during the Premier League season, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend, featuring 11 star performers -- plus a manager -- as chosen by our panel of experts.
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Goalkeeper: As debuts go, this was quite something. Playing for an out-of-form team at home to Manchester United proved no problem for Newcastle's Martin Dubravka, who made himself an instant hero in a 1-0 win. He tipped away a deflected Alexis Sanchez shot, made a great stop to thwart Anthony Martial and blocked a Michael Carrick flick in the closing seconds. Gab Marcotti says he "stood tall," Steve Nicol praises "a brilliant display" and Paul Mariner purrs: "What a great signing." A unanimous choice by our panellists.
Defence: Tottenham produced a fine performance to see off North London rivals Arsenal at Wembley, dominating the second half as they kept the Gunners quiet and created a bundle of chances. Nobody embodied their solidity better than Jan Vertonghen, who nullified Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his attacking colleagues, winning a succession of headers and challenges and bringing the ball stylishly out of defence at every opportunity. Nicol hails his "immaculate performance" and Mariner adds: "He looks classier with every game."
Defence: The outstanding Newcastle were outstandingly marshalled by captain Jamaal Lascelles, who was in the right place whenever Man United turned up the heat and constantly directed and encouraged his colleagues. Lascelles put his body on the line time and again, blocking shots and making a collection of crucial clearances as the crosses came flying in. "Led by example and saw off everything that United threw at him," says Mariner, while Marcotti is impressed by Lascelles' "yeoman effort under tremendous pressure."
Defence: Earlier in the season, you wouldn't have found many people offering much praise for the West Ham defence. But since the arrival of David Moyes they have looked like a pretty good unit, and Angelo Ogbonna excelled at the heart of it with a dominant display in the win over Watford. He had the upper hand against no-nonsense Troy Deeney and read the game superbly, always alive to the danger posed by the visitors on the counter. "Perfectly at home in Moyes' back three, he led the way to shutting out Watford," says Marcotti.
Midfield: Brighton have found goals and results hard to come by away, striking only seven times on their travels, but all that could change if Jose Izquierdo keeps playing as he did in the draw at Stoke. Skilful, direct and always looking to put his team on the front foot, he fired Brighton ahead -- his second goal in as many games -- had a couple of other good efforts and kept Stoke thinking with his trickery. Nicol describes his goal, which rounded off some superbly fluent team play, as "the move of the weekend" and that's a verdict Mariner echoes.
Midfield: There has been so much to enjoy about Manchester City this season, but arguably nothing quite so much as the brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne. He surpassed even his own standards vs. Leicester with a dazzling array of assists, starting with a cross that laid on the opener for Raheem Sterling and then helping Sergio Aguero go to town. This is what people mean when they say someone is unplayable. Nicol says: "The guy is frightening," Mariner opts for "a masterclass" and Marcotti shrugs: "Just the three assists today."
Midfield: Back in the season's early days, Huddersfield were busy getting off to a dream start and Aaron Mooy was making them tick. Then came a slump but, against Bournemouth, it was as though the clock had gone back. Bright and purposeful, the Terriers were driven on by Mooy, whose all-action approach, defensive nous, range of passing and ability to get into dangerous positions were far too much for Bournemouth to handle. "The straw that stirs David Wagner's drink," says Marcotti. "Always ready defensively, always intelligent on the ball."
Midfield: Things are looking up at West Ham, with manager Moyes feeling confident enough to target a top-10 finish and the revitalised Marko Arnautovic leading the way. Sharp runs, neat passes and clever touches were abundant vs. Watford and he scored his seventh goal in 10 games to wrap up the result. "Where have these performances come from?" wonders Nicol, Mariner praises him as "powerful, tricky, a constant threat" and Marcotti says: "When he turns it on, he's close to unplayable. The trick is getting him switched on regularly."
Forward: "He deserves all the credit," says Pep Guardiola of Sergio Aguero, but even that doesn't seem enough after the four-goal striker destroyed Leicester to take his league tally for the season to 21 in 22 games. One minute Leicester were still in the match, the next Aguero had ripped it away from them. "Crazy thing is, it's not the first time he has bagged four in a single Premier League game," Marcotti points out, while Nicol asks: "What can you say?" and Mariner adds: "Scoring all types of goals, he is a true predator."
Forward: As we have been saying, Huddersfield have had a tough time of it but you wouldn't have known that on Sunday as Steve Mounie showed confidence and quality with the double strike that put them back on the winning road. He slotted home to boost morale and restore the lead after Bournemouth had grabbed an equaliser, then headed another and never stopped chasing and harrying, leaving an admiring Nicol to describe his contribution as "vital" and Marcotti noting: "This was massive for Huddersfield. If they stay up, they owe him a lot."
Forward: Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Roberto Firmino after his side's stroll at Southampton, and who can blame him? Firmino set the tone after only six minutes when he swept home the opener from Mohamed Salah's cross and returned the compliment with a beautiful backheeled assist for Salah to get the second. For the rest of the time, the Brazilian forward led Southampton's creaky defence a merry dance and he now has 20 goals in all competitions. As Nicol says: "He always looks dangerous."
Manager: Rafa Benitez has been unhappy about Newcastle's transfer market activity since masterminding their return to the Premier League last season, but he could hardly have got more from his players than vs. Man United. Brilliantly organised, the Toon lifted themselves out of the bottom three with a victory that will do wonders and their manager is another unanimous choice. Marcotti hails him for "engineering a big, big win -- like the good old days," Nicol says "he got everything spot on" and Mariner admires "a true team performance."