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TT's Top Men: Puncheon their weight

Southampton's Jason Puncheon and Rickie Lambert join the likes of Frank Lampard and Michu in our latest Premier League Top Men line-up.

Last Updated: 12/02/13 at 15:28 Post Comment

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 26 (February 9-11). 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 (4-4-2): Foster; Rafael, Sagna, Huth, Baker; Puncheon, Lampard, N'Zogbia, Bale; Michu, Lambert.

Ben Foster (West Brom)

Foster was immense between the sticks as West Brom surprised Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield on Monday night, pulling off some spectacular saves throughout to inspire the Baggies' win. His shining moment came when he decisively denied Reds captain Steven Gerrard from the penalty spot on the 77th minute. The former England international had earlier kept out the skipper's long-distance shot with a crucial one-handed save.

Rafael (Manchester United)

United pulled off a clinical 2-0 success over Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday to tighten their stranglehold on the title and Rafael was integral to the win. The Brazilian helped subdue the threat of Toffees duo Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar down the left while also showing his prowess getting forward. Rafael put the gloss on a fine display by teeing up Robin van Persie for United's second goal, which effectively settled the game.

Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)

Playing in an unfamiliar centre-half role, Sagna contributed arguably his performance of the season so far for Arsenal in the 1-0 win at Sunderland. The right-back has struggled to find his best form since his return from injury but he was solid at the Stadium of Light, helping keep things tight at the back after the Gunners were reduced to 10 men with a string of crucial blocks and interceptions.

Robert Huth (Stoke)

Huth starred at the back as Stoke saw off Reading 2-1 to mark their first win since Boxing Day. His main contribution was a 67th-minute opener as the centre-half powered a thundering header into the back of the net from Glenn Whelan's corner. He was also solid in defence as the Royals threatened a comeback.

Nathan Baker (Aston Villa)

Aston Villa saw off West Ham with a much-needed 2-1 win at Villa Park and Baker put in a superb shift at the back, prompting manager Paul Lambert to brand his efforts "exceptional". The 21-year-old toiled tirelessly to keep the Hammers' attack at bay and was even bloodied for his efforts when he clashed heads with Andy Carroll in the first half.

Jason Puncheon (Southampton)

Puncheon set the tone for Saints' shock 3-1 victory at home to reigning champions Manchester City when he broke the deadlock in just the seventh minute at St Mary's. He started the move down the right to set up Jay Rodriguez then made no mistake bundling his rebounded shot home for the opener. Puncheon did not ease up after that early strike, proving a threat the whole time he was on the pitch.

Frank Lampard (Chelsea)

Lampard continues to strengthen his credentials for a new contract at Chelsea and his performance in the 4-1 win over Wigan marked the latest example. The veteran midfielder put in another commanding display at the heart of the Blues side, capped by an 87th-minute strike from the edge of the box - his fourth in as many games for club and country.

Charles N'Zogbia (Aston Villa)

N'Zogbia's wait for his first Premier League goal of the season was ended as Villa saw off West Ham and the French forward ended his drought in style, curling home a stunning free-kick. That goal was the highlight of an impressive showing, during which N'Zogbia continually proved a nuisance to the Hammers' defence.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham)

Another weekend, another sensational display for Tottenham from Bale. The Welsh winger ran riot in the 2-1 win over Newcastle and should probably have had more than his two goals. Bale started in his usual spot out on the left wing and looked dangerous, but also showed he is a threat in a central role after being moved inside late on.

Michu (Swansea)

After proving an instant hit at Swansea, Michu's goalscoring antics had tailed off in recent games but the Spaniard was back to his scoring best in the 4-1 home win over QPR, netting a brace to take his tally for the season to 18. The frontman also provided the assist for Pablo Hernandez's strike to add to a superb display.

Rickie Lambert (Southampton)

The only thing missing from Lambert's hard-working performance for Southampton against Manchester City was a goal. The frontman made the visitors' defence toil throughout and provided the cross into the box that led to Gareth Barry's inexplicable own-goal. Earlier he had also prompted a costly gaffe from Joe Hart when the goalkeeper fumbled his shot to let Steven Davis slip in.

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I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

ted, manchester
The Insecure Gossip

H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

notalentjones
Benteke ignoring speculation

I

n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

FairyNuff
Shaw told to shape up

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