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Prem Top Men: Two-goal Gabby takes his place

TEAMtalk picks out the best performers from the Premier League with 11 different clubs having representatives in this week's Top Men.

Last Updated: 13/05/13 at 12:48 Post Comment

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Here's TEAMtalk's top XI from the latest round of Premier League fixtures. We explain our selections and then invite you to pick your team of top men. We're looking for the players who caught your eye with dazzling displays or powerful performances in the top flight.

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): Szczesny; Jagielka, Williams, Reid, O'Shea; Townsend, Maloney, Mata; Bale, Robson-Kanu, Agbonlahor.

Wojciech Szczesny - Arsenal

It has been a difficult season for Szczesny at Arsenal that hit a new low when he lost his place in goal to Lukasz Fabianski. But the 23-year-old Poland international has taken his opportunity following an injury to his compatriot and produced an assured display in Saturday's 1-0 win at Queens Park Rangers. Szczesny saved well from Andros Townsend before coming up with a full-length stop from Loic Remy as QPR pushed hard for an equaliser. But the Gunners goalkeeper earned his clean sheet and it represents a welcome return to form for the man who is once again the Arsenal No.1.

Phil Jagielka - Everton

Everton's skipper in the absence of Phil Neville couldn't quite help the Toffees to their first Anfield win under David Moyes but the visitors had the England defender to thank for their point as the game finished goalless. Jagielka was a towering presence at the back for Everton and came up with a couple of crucial blocks to ensure his team kept a clean sheet. Firstly, he blocked a Steven Gerrard shot when the Three Lions skipper was well placed and then he threw himself into an even more impressive tackle to deny Philippe Coutinho a derby-day goal.

Ashley Williams - Swansea

The accepted wisdom is that Swansea are already on the beach after winning the club's first major trophy in February. It seems that nobody told Williams. The Swans skipper was tasked with stopping Sergio Aguero and Manchester City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday and proved up to the job with a series of characteristic blocks to deny Roberto Mancini's men in a goalless draw. Edin Dzeko did waste a good chance late on but the clean sheet was a deserved one for the 28-year-old centre-back.

Winston Reid - West Ham

The New Zealand international has just agreed a new contract at Upton Park and marked the occasion with yet another fine display in what has been a superb season for the defender. Reid produced a commanding performance to ensure a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle. Most memorably, the 24-year-old signing from Danish club Midtjylland cleared off the line to deny Papiss Cisse the breakthrough.

John O'Shea - Sunderland

Things looked bleak for Sunderland when they were a goal and a man down at home to Stoke on Monday Night Football. But Paolo Di Canio's relegation-threatened side showed great character to haul themselves back into the contest and pick up what could prove to be a vital point in their battle against the drop. Nobody played a greater part in that comeback than O'Shea. The Republic of Ireland defender scored the equaliser and dealt well with the robust challenge posed by the Potters to secure a 1-1 draw.

Andros Townsend - QPR

Another day, another defeat for QPR but if there is one player who can hold his head up high at Loftus Road this season it is surely Townsend. The January arrival on loan from Tottenham has provided real purpose to the Hoops with his driving attacking runs and devastating dribbling. The 21-year-old also boasts a ferocious shot and Szczesny had to be at his best to deny him in the late kick-off on Saturday.

Shaun Maloney - Wigan

Getting the very best out of Maloney is a task that has perplexed many a manager but the supremely gifted Scot has blossomed under Roberto Martinez at Wigan. The 30-year-old attacking midfielder provided the impetus for last season's great escape and has come into his own again of late. Maloney was certainly the catalyst at West Brom on Saturday, with two vital assists helping turn the game around for the Latics as they grabbed a crucial 3-2 win.

Juan Mata - Chelsea

He has been overlooked for the major individual honours this season but Mata has enjoyed a fine season amid the disruption at Chelsea. The diminutive Spaniard is the team's playmaker and chief creative force but he has also added a greater goal threat in the current campaign and is having the best goalscoring season of his career. The only goal of the game in the 1-0 win at Manchester United on Sunday may have gone down as a Phil Jones own goal after a slight deflection but there can be no denying that Mata is the main man at Stamford Bridge these days.

Gareth Bale - Tottenham

It's becoming repetitive but Tottenham were once again reliant on the brilliance of Bale as they edged past Southampton at White Hart Lane on Saturday. The game looked to be heading for a tame draw that would have been a huge blow for Spurs in their battle for Champions League qualification, until the Welsh wizard intervened. His late strike took his Premier League tally for the season to 20 and added another sequence to what will be a remarkable highlights package for the Spurs star.

Hal Robson-Kanu - Reading

Survival hopes died long ago for Reading but winger Robson-Kanu is determined to finish the season with a bang. The 23-year-old former Arsenal trainee has shown he belongs at the highest level and was the star man on Saturday as his side shocked Fulham to win 4-2 at Craven Cottage. Robson-Kanu bagged a brace with the first coming from the spot before he came up with a fine curling shot to beat Mark Schwarzer on a day when he caused plenty of problems for the Fulham defence.

Gabriel Agbonlahor - Aston Villa

Agbonlahor hasn't always been a prolific goalscorer in his time at Villa Park but he's finding form at just the right time. Paul Lambert's men have won five of their last eight games to pull clear of the relegation zone with Agbonlahor taking the goalscoring burden off Christian Benteke in that period. The three-times capped England forward has netted eight Premier League goals in his last 12 games, including a brace in a dramatic 2-1 win against Norwich at Carrow Road as Villa leapfrogged the Canaries in the table.

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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