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 #TOTW. Plus, tune in to Monday's "ESPN FC" (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) for further reaction.
Goalkeeper: As the season comes to a close, there will be many heroic goalkeeping performances to win the title or keep teams in the division, and that was reflected in the many fine showings by the Premier League's stoppers this weekend. All three of our panel nominate a different No. 1, with Gab Marcotti suggesting David De Gea ("Might be United's best performer this season") and Paul Mariner making the case for Ben Foster ("Commanded his box, supreme conviction"), but the judge's final selection agrees with Steve Nicol, who picked Chelsea's Mark Schwarzer. Playing his first league game of the season, Schwarzer was superb as Liverpool attacked the massed ranks of the Chelsea defence. Perhaps the biggest compliment we can give the Australian, as Mariner notes, is that you couldn't tell he had been absent for so long.
Right-back: One of the most encouraging things for Southampton fans must be that not only do they have young stars at their club, but they also have a depth of talent that will hopefully see them succeed for years to come. Nathaniel Clyne and Callum Chambers have split right-back duties for the Saints this season, and the former put forward his own case superbly in their 2-0 win over Everton. He dealt with the considerable threat of Gerard Deulofeu and Leighton Baines brilliantly and, as Marcotti notes, was involved in the buildup to Seamus Coleman's own goal. Clyne gets a unanimous nod from our panel and takes his place on the right side of our defence.
Centre-back: "Where has this performance been all season?" asks Nicol about Younes Kaboul, who takes the first central defensive spot in our team after his superb display for Spurs against Stoke. Kaboul dealt with everything that the Potters could throw at him on Saturday, leading one to wonder quite why he hasn't looked this good throughout, when for long spells the defender has seemed something of a liability. Fitness has been an issue, but as Marcotti notes, "When he's fit and the going gets tough, he can be counted on."
Centre-back: Jose Mourinho may have made the plan, but he needed his players to put it into action. At the heart of that was Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian defender has spent most of the season playing at right-back, but as Mourinho shuffled his pack with the Champions League semifinal against Atletico Madrid in mind, Ivanovic was shifted into the centre and was quite superb. "Brano is a machine," says Marcotti. "Moves back to centre-back, probably his best position anyway, and takes young Tomas Kalas by the hand."
Left-back: Clyne's teammate is on the other flank. Luke Shaw might miss out on the World Cup thanks to Ashley Cole's return to the Chelsea team (excellent at Anfield and only narrowly missed out on this XI), but his time will come -- and pretty soon if he continues to perform like he did against Everton. "Arguably the best full-back pairing in the Premier League," says Nicol about the two Southampton men, while Mariner praised how coolly Shaw dealt with Everton's threat and managed to help out the attack as well.
Midfield: While Ivanovic and the whole Chelsea back four were indeed excellent, on occasions the ball didn't even reach them, and that was in large part down to the superb work of Nemanja Matic. If Chelsea go on to win the title, which admittedly is something of a long shot, then Matic could be the signing of the season, brilliantly providing a muscular screen to their defence that simply wasn't there before. Nicol praised how he dealt with his huge workload, while Marcotti says: "Part wall, forcing opponents to scamper wide, part black hole, sucking up every loose ball in the vicinity. Ideally suited for Mourinho's game plan, showed it at Anfield."
Midfield: When Yaya Toure is in full flight, it hardly seems fair to the opposition. Manchester City feared they would be without their talisman after he went down against Liverpool, but he returned to the fold on Sunday and was majestic, even if he played only an hour. "The monster is back," says Nicol about the big midfielder, who set up City's first, putting a cross right onto the head of Edin Dzeko, and produced a superb run and finish to double their lead and keep the title race going until the very end.
Midfield: While a potential England call-up for the World Cup might be a step too far, Jonjo Shelvey has been undoubtedly impressive for Swansea as they slowly manage to ease their way out of trouble. Even without his excellent all-round display, noted by all three panelists, Shelvey might well have been worthy of a place in this side simply for his goal. It was a remarkable opportunist strike from 45 yards, which caught Brad Guzan napping, but even if the Aston Villa keeper had been fully aware of what was going on, he would have struggled to save Shelvey's laser-guided effort.
Forward: Finally, a win at home for West Brom, and Pepe Mel has plenty to thank Saido Berahino for. Both Nicol and Mariner recognised his superb work rate as the Baggies beat West Ham, but it was his early goal that gets him into this team -- the crucial strike setting his side up for victory that puts it five points clear of trouble with a game in hand on most of the teams around it. Berahino's contribution could be vital if West Brom are to remain in the Premier League.
Forward: David Moyes probably wasn't watching Manchester United saunter to a 4-0 win over Norwich on Saturday, but if he was, he might wonder why the version of Wayne Rooney that was busily putting the Canaries to the sword wasn't around more when he was in charge. "The smile is back on his face, working very hard for his new gaffer," says Mariner about the England man, who scored twice in the United win, while Marcotti says it wasn't his goals but "that he stood up to be counted for the new boss" that's important. "When he is on, United win," says Nicol, and it's difficult to argue with that.
Forward: Wilfried Bony is said to be a target for Everton in the summer, as they look for a more permanent solution to their centre-forward needs. For now, though, he is a Swansea player, and Garry Monk will be delighted with that. The Ivory Coast striker notched his 23rd and 24th goals of the season on Saturday, and fourth in two games, as Swansea tonked Aston Villa -- goals which according to Mariner are "almost single-handedly carrying the Swans to safety."
Manager: It could only be Jose Mourinho. After a week in which the Chelsea manager claimed the Premier League was very much his second priority, he produced a defensive master class to deny Liverpool what would have been a virtual title-clinching victory. Call it anti-football, call it "parking the bus," call it "easy" (as Brendan Rodgers did), but it undoubtedly works. "Not pretty, but effective," says Nicol, while Marcotti notes that Chelsea are still chasing points "even if it means punishing one of his former proteges [Rodgers] and helping one of his current nemeses [Manuel Pellegrini]."