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Prem Top Men: Christian leads the way

TEAMtalk picks out the best performers from the Premier League after the latest round of fixtures.

Last Updated: 30/04/13 at 15:54 Post Comment

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After every round of Premier League fixtures, we pick our team of the weekend, explain our selections and then invite you - our loyal army of readers - to pick your team of Top Men.

We're looking for the players who caught your eye with dazzling displays or powerful performances on Matchday 35 (April 27-29). You can choose any formation and there's no limit on how many players you can pick from each team - so have a think, then get involved.

TEAMtalk's Top Men (4-3-3): De Gea, Lowton, Koscielny, Kompany, Baines, Coutinho, Lampard, Pienaar, Sturridge, Benteke, Lukaku.

David de Gea - Manchester United

It speaks volumes for De Gea's self-belief that he has shrugged off the criticism aimed in his direction on a regular basis to figure in 27 of Manchester United's 35 Premier League games this season. He has nailed down the number one spot and put in another assured performance during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Arsenal. There may not have been another clean sheet for the newly-crowned champions at the Emirates, but they ensured that they avoided any post-title celebration slip-ups in north London.

Matthew Lowton - Aston Villa

One of the most consistent performers in a side which has underachieved for much of the campaign, Lowton has offered a rare chink of light in the dark at Villa Park. He has made the step up from League One to the Premier League with consummate ease and there must be a number of top-flight bosses wondering how he slipped through their net. Lowton starred again for Villa on Monday as they offered their survival bid another welcome shot in the arm with a crushing 6-1 victory over fellow strugglers Sunderland.

Laurent Koscielny - Arsenal

Robin van Persie, rather inevitably, made his mark on proceedings during a first visit to Arsenal since leaving for Manchester United, but his leveller at the Emirates came from the penalty spot. Koscielny and his defensive colleagues were able to keep the Dutchman, and his strike partner in crime Wayne Rooney, relatively quiet, which is no mean feat. The Frenchman has become a reliable option for Arsene Wenger at centre-half and his efforts over recent weeks have ensured that club captain Thomas Vermaelen has been left kicking his heels on the bench.

Vincent Kompany - Manchester City

Another defensive lynchpin who remains an integral part of his side's plans, Kompany led by example once more on Saturday as Manchester City edged out West Ham. He was charged with the task of containing the physical threat of Andy Carroll, and fared admirably in that challenge. Carroll evaded his clutches to grab a late consolation for the Hammers at the Etihad Stadium, but City had already done enough by that stage to ensure that another three points had been safely wrapped up.

Leighton Baines - Everton

Everton continue to rely heavily on the efforts of those working down their left flank, with Baines and Pienaar having struck up a devastating partnership. They were at their match-winning best again on Saturday as the Toffees kept themselves in the hunt for a top-four finish. A 1-0 victory over Fulham ensured David Moyes' men remain on the fringes of that particular pack, and Baines' marauding bursts forward and dogged defending played a big part in getting Everton over the line.

Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool

Few players arrive in English football from foreign climes and make an immediate impact, especially those who make a move mid-season during the winter transfer window. Coutinho has, however, bucked the trend after slipping seamlessly into Brendan Rodgers' plans at Liverpool. The Brazilian winger is just what the Reds needed - a man capable of turning a game on its head with one moment of brilliance. He was puppet master in chief against hapless Newcastle on Saturday, pulling the strings as Liverpool hammered the Magpies 6-0 in their own back yard.

Frank Lampard - Chelsea

Another week, another goal for Lampard. The Chelsea midfielder is now just one short of equalling the club's all-time scoring record. The England man has now netted on 201 occasions for the Blues and has four games left this season in which to try and match, and then better Bobby Tambling's current high score. Lampard closed to within touching distance of that target on Saturday as he converted from the penalty spot during a 2-0 victory over Swansea - with Chelsea able to clamber back into third place on the back of that result.

Steven Pienaar - Everton

The exploits of Baines and Pienaar have already been discussed, with the Everton pair causing Fulham all kinds of problems at Goodison Park. The Cottagers' inability to keep a lid on Pienaar ended up costing them the game, with the South African grabbing the only goal of the afternoon. That effort was only his sixth of the season, but he offers much more to the Toffees than merely a goal threat and has contributed massively to a campaign which could end with Everton back at European football's top table.

Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool

In the wake of Luis Suarez's 10-match ban, pressure to deliver in front of goal has been piled on the shoulders of Liverpool forward Sturridge. He has spent much of his Premier League career operating in a wide role, but moved to Anfield in the hope of moving back down the middle. An opportunity has been presented to him and it is up to him to grab it with both hands. He did just that against Newcastle on Saturday, with two second-half goals at St James' Park taking him on to seven for the season.

Christian Benteke - Aston Villa

Paul Lambert described Benteke as 'world-class' after watching him destroy Sunderland on Monday night, and it is difficult to argue against him. The burly Belgian forward has almost single-handedly hauled Villa clear of the drop zone. He has netted 18 times in the league this season - meaning he has provided almost half of Villa's goals. Benteke bagged a spectacular hat-trick against Sunderland at Villa Park, with a 6-1 victory guiding Lambert's men five points clear of the relegation zone.

Romelu Lukaku - West Bromwich Albion

West Brom have regularly expressed a desire to see Lukaku back at The Hawthorns next season, but it is difficult to see Chelsea agreeing to send the talented striker out on loan again in 2013/14. They bought into Lukaku's potential when bringing him to England, but quickly realised that he needed regular games in order to unlock that ability. West Brom have provided the stage for Lukaku to shine on, and he should return to Stamford Bridge pushing hard for a starting role. He was among the goals again on Saturday as West Brom swept aside Southampton 3-0 at St Mary's.

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Readers' Comments

I

sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

HarryBoulton
Rodgers: The pressure's on

B

eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

sinbadsdad
Neville: Reds need a rest

G

ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

uncle-muller
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