Wednesday, 24 December 2014

De Gea leads London stars

David De Gea: On top form once again for United
David De Gea headlines our Premier League Team of the Week, in which eight stars from London clubs - including three from Arsenal - feature.
Check out our latest Team of the Week and then let us know your top XI using the story comment facility at the bottom of the article.
TEAMtalk's Top Men (4-1-3-2): De Gea; Bellerin, Keane, Mangala, Luis; McArthur; Eriksen, Cazorla, Hazard; Kane, Giroud.
David De Gea (Manchester United): Perhaps the easiest choice to make in any Premier League Team of the Week so far this season, De Gea proved to be a brick wall as United avenged their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool last season in style. The Anfield side had at least four gilt-edged chances in their nine shots on target, with De Gea denying Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli on multiple occasions. That the keeper was the man-of-the-match in a 3-0 victory for his side speaks volumes.
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal): With just six recognised defenders in the Arsenal squad, Spaniard Hector Bellerin showed glimpses of just why Arsene Wenger did not dip into the transfer market for reinforcements in the summer. Bellerin, who broke Theo Walcott's 40m sprint record at Arsenal in his youth, was substituted after a horror show at Stoke last week, but started against Galatasaray midweek and continued to bounce back on Saturday as Newcastle were brushed aside. The right-back was solid in defence, and even provided the cross for Olivier Giroud's second goal.
Michael Keane (Burnley): Fans and pundits alike tipped Burnley for near-certain relegation misery this season, but Sean Dyche's men have proved tough to handle so far. After a slow start, the Clarets are making their mark on the Premier League. They recorded their fifth, and possible most impressive, clean sheet of the season against Southampton on Saturday, thanks in no small part to Michael Keane. The former Manchester United youth star kept the Saints at bay, ranking second in both interceptions (six) and clearances (eight).
Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City): Signed for £32million by Manuel Pellegrini in the summer, Mangala has endured a pretty difficult first few months in Manchester. He starred on his debut against Chelsea, but scored an own goal and conceded a penalty in his next match against Hull as he settled into the City first-team. Against Leicester he was colossal however, and the Blues will hope that is a sign of things to come with this upcoming burgeoning fixture list.
Filipe Luis (Chelsea): A less obvious inclusion than some other players this week, but no less deserving. The Brazilian has found time in the first-team at a premium after joniing from Atletico Madrid this season, with Cesar Azpilicueta making the left-back role his own. 'Dave' was rested against Hull however, with Luis given a second consecutive start for only the second time this season. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, fulfilling an assured role in defence but providing another reliable option in attack for Jose Mourinho's men.
James McArthur (Crystal Palace): Released from his defensive shackles into a slightly more attacking position on Saturday, McArthur more than proved his worth in the draw to Stoke. His first goal for Palace capped a promising performance for the Scot, where he ranked among the leaders in shots, tackles and interceptions. Neil Warnock will be hoping that the midfielder can fill the void left by Mile Jedinak when he leaves for the Asian Cup in the new year.
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham): To say Spurs have supposedly been in the midst of a crisis, they're in the knockout stages of the Europa League, the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup, and now just four points off the top four. The resurgence of Eriksen has plenty to do with that. Under Mauricio Pochettino, the Dane has brought a consistency to his game, and was one of the key men against Swansea. Eriksen provided a sumptuous corner for Harry Kane's opener, before some more last-minute away heroics for Spurs secured a huge three points, his close control and clever finish handing Swansea a rare home defeat.
Santi Cazorla (Arsenal): Alexis Sanchez has stolen the headlines for the Gunners so far this season with some incredible performances. Although he was on top form again on Saturday, his team-mate Cazorla was among the players who took the weight off his shoulders. He made the second most passes (63) at the Emirates, made the joint-third most tackles (3) and, of course added a well-taken brace in a man-of-the-match performances.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea): The Belgian has struggled somewhat to live up to his own lofty standards of late, but returned to form with a bang against Hull. Having opened the scoring, Hazard continued to act as the crux of the Blues' attack. He laid on three key passes throughout the course of the afternoon - the most of any player - including the assist for Diego Costa's goal.
Harry Kane (Tottenham): Sooner or later, calls for Harry Kane to win a call-up for England are going to become less of a murmur and more of a shout. With Roberto Soldado misfiring and Emmanuel Adebayor missing in action, Mauricio Pochettino has placed more of a burden on Kane's shoulders, and it's certainly paid off. He scored his 12th goal in 20 appearances so far this season with a powerful header against Swansea, and he put in his typical shift too. Kane ran further at the Liberty Stadium (13.1km) than any other forward has managed in a Premier League game this season.
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal): The Frenchman scored a wondrous goal on his long-awaited return last month against Manchester United, but hadn't netted in his next five games after his comeback from a broken leg. Some limited game time in this period allowed him to slowly build up his match fitness, and it showed to great effect against Newcastle. From just three shots the clinical Giroud took his season tally to five goals in nine games, and Arsene Wenger will hope that his compatriot can continue in a similar vein.
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