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.
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Goalkeeper: Last summer, Arsene Wenger was confident enough in his squad to only sign one player, to solve a position that has been a problem for Arsenal throughout the 12 years since they last won the Premier League. That man was Petr Cech, and with performances like his one against Leicester, you can see why Wenger put so much faith in his purchase from Chelsea. "Crucial saves in the first half from Jamie Vardy and N'Golo Kante, to give the Arsenal the platform to win," is how Paul Mariner explains picking Cech for the No.1 shirt, and Steve Nicol agrees.
Right-back: Admittedly, Liverpool did not exactly come up against the sternest opposition when they faced Aston Villa on Sunday, and remarkably the 6-0 scoreline could have been even worse for the doomed hosts, so spineless was their defending. One Liverpool player did stand out against the mediocrity though, with Nathaniel Clyne impressing our panel and winning the right-back slot in our team. "Aston Villa's defending is atrocious; he's up against Aly Cissokho, Liverpool score early: A combination that makes it almost too easy for him," says Gab Marcotti, with Clyne also winning praise from Nicol and Mariner, the latter giving the nod to him "running up and down all day."
Centre-back: Sunderland's pursuit of Lamine Kone was one of the January transfer window's most protracted transfers, but on the early evidence it's clear why Sam Allardyce was so keen to bring the centre-back in to bolster his defence. The Ivory Coast defender was terrific as Sunderland shocked Manchester United on Saturday and played a big part in the goal that eventually won the game. "Forget the fact that it was credited as a David De Gea own goal. It was his header that made it happen," says Marcotti. "And that capped a top-notch performance."
Centre-back: Few would have fancied West Brom against Everton, with Roberto Martinez's team finally looking like they might be entering some good form. As it turned out, the Baggies came away with a valuable 1-0 victory and a large part of that was down to Jonas Olsson in defence. Nicol praises the big Swede's "old-school defending" -- you'd imagine there's little higher praise Nicol could give! -- while Mariner remarks that Olsson "defended with every sinew of his body."
Left-back: Not a huge amount has gone right for Norwich this season, with many of their new recruits not contributing a great deal to their bid for Premier League survival. However, one undoubted success has been Robbie Brady and he put in another outstanding showing as Alex Neil's men drew 2-2 against West Ham. Brady opened the scoring in what Mariner called a "brilliant display, bombing on down the wing," while Nicol also has plenty of praise for a "great goal and great performance."
Midfield: It wasn't as good a weekend for Norwich as it could've been though, as West Ham came from 2-0 down to snatch a point at Carrow Road. And a big part of that was down to Mark Noble in the Hammers midfield, who not only scored a belting goal but also was at the centre of a fine comeback from Slaven Bilic's side. "He seems to be the heart and soul of the West Ham team," says Mariner, while Nicol admired Noble's doggedness in defensive midfield.
Midfield: In all the understandable excitement about Leicester's remarkable title bid, it's almost easy to miss something absolutely extraordinary happening at White Hart Lane, where Tottenham are in contention for their own tilt at the top prize. Their latest impressive result was sealed by Christian Eriksen, who coolly finished from Erik Lamela's through ball to secure a 2-1 win at Manchester City, and our panel were impressed, to say the least. "Right place, right time to collect Lamela's exquisite assist and give Tottenham one of their biggest victories of the past half-century," says Marcotti. "Plus, it's his birthday." Happy 24th, Christian.
Midfield: "Another stellar performance. Nobody has told him, evidently, that Sunderland are meant to be bad," says Marcotti of Wahbi Khazri, another Wearside recruit who looks like he could make a big difference to their season. Khazri made his full debut in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool last week, but made his biggest impact to date came after three minutes against Manchester United when he scored the goal that put Louis van Gaal's men on the back foot. It could turn out that Sunderland had the most impressive winter transfer window of all.
Forward: Chelsea's player of the season by some distance, Willian was at it again this weekend, as Guus Hiddink's team blew away a demoralised Newcastle in the early stages at Stamford Bridge. "Another super display, his weight of pass for the opener was special," says Mariner of the Brazilian, who not only scored one but set up another as Chelsea ran through their opponents with ease on their way to a 5-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Forward: While the Chelsea fans have been used to watching Willian excel this season, they haven't been quite so familiar with Pedro's best form and it seems like a long time ago that he was the subject of a tussle with Manchester United for his services. However, better late than never, his form appeared for Chelsea on Saturday, bagging a couple in the convincing win over Steve McClaren's men. "About time," says Nicol, while Mariner called it Pedro's "best performance in a Chelsea shirt."
Forward: For much of the first half of this season, Troy Deeney has ceded the spotlight to his Watford strike partner Odion Ighalo, but while the Hornets skipper's nine strikes have all been extremely important. All but two have made a tangible difference to the result of the game, which was the case again this weekend, as he notched both for Watford in their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace. Nicol called him an "unsung hero", Marcotti praised his "tireless running" as well as his goals, while Mariner gave a nod to him as the man to "keep Watford's season rolling."
Manager: Not usually a man prone to moments of excessive public emotion, Mauricio Pochettino couldn't help himself after Tottenham achieved that massive win at Manchester City on Sunday, congratulating each player individually and celebrating with the travelling support. "Playing lovely stuff with steel, we have a race for the title," says Mariner of the Argentinean coach, which is a good enough reason to put Pochettino in charge of our Team of the Weekend.