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Prem Top Men: On-song Carroll leads line

Gervinho and Andy Carroll spearhead our latest Premier League Top Men line-up, while two Tottenham stars and a pair of Saints also get the nod.

Last Updated: 02/04/13 at 18:52 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 31 (March 30-April 1). 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): Howard; Clyne, Alcaraz, Vertonghen, Shaw; Mirallas, Nasri, Cazorla, Bale; Carroll, Gervinho.

Tim Howard - Everton

Three straight successes have kept Everton in the hunt for a top-four finish, with a 1-0 victory over Stoke on Saturday leaving them just four points adrift of the UEFA Champions League places. Rather surprisingly, given their lofty standing, a shutout against the Potters saw the Toffees collect just their sixth clean sheet of the season. Howard played a leading role in keeping Stoke at bay, with the American shot-stopper providing a reliable last line of defence.

Nathaniel Clyne - Southampton

Southampton have soared to 12th spot in the Premier League table after taking seven points from their last three fixtures. They added three more to their tally on Saturday as they stunned Chelsea at St Mary's. A 2-1 victory was just reward for a determined team effort, with the Saints having pulled together in a bid to steer clear of trouble. Clyne was among their more impressive performers against the Blues, as he stood firm at the back and provided a threat going forward.

Antolin Alcaraz - Wigan Athletic

We have reached that stage of the season when Wigan come into their own and surge towards the finishing post. Roberto Martinez would rather they did not leave it so late to mount a survival bid, but he has the Latics moving in the right direction once again. A 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Norwich on Saturday lifted Wigan back out of the bottom three, and Alcaraz was the pick of their bunch as they collected a much-needed clean sheet.

Jan Vertonghen - Tottenham Hotspur

Remarkably, Vertonghen has now netted four times in his last five outings for Tottenham - having opened the scoring during a 2-1 win at Swansea on Saturday. He arrived at White Hart Lane with a reputation for being a goal-scoring defender, but he admits to having surprised himself during his debut season in England. His effort against the Swans was arguably the pick of his efforts so far, as he burst into the box to collect a Gareth Bale pass and calmly slot low into the bottom corner.

Luke Shaw - Southampton

As already mentioned, Southampton enjoyed an Easter weekend to remember as they put another sizeable dent in Chelsea's efforts to snatch a Champions League place. Mauricio Pochettino's men were full value for their 2-1 victory, with eye-catching displays put in all over the field. Shaw helped to further his growing reputation with an assured display at full-back. He found himself up against a lively Victor Moses, but was able to keep that particular threat contained.

Kevin Mirallas - Everton

You get the impression that Everton would have managed a lot more than 47 goals in 30 Premier League outings this season had they been able to call upon the services of Mirallas on a more regular basis. The flying Belgian winger has caught the eye this term when fit, and offered another indication as to his undoubted talent on Saturday with a fantastic solo effort against Stoke. His strike, which saw him run from inside his own half, settled a keenly-fought contest at Goodison Park.

Samir Nasri - Manchester City

Roberto Mancini conceded after Manchester City's 4-0 mauling of Newcastle that he sometimes wishes he could punch Nasri, so infuriatingly inconsistent can the Frenchman be at times. He was at his game-altering best against the Magpies on Saturday, as he pulled the playmaking strings which allowed others to flourish. It remains to be seen whether he can maintain those high standards for the remainder of the campaign.

Santi Cazorla - Arsenal

Like City, Arsenal hit four at the weekend - as they swept aside Reading at the Emirates. It was a managerial bow to forget for new Royals boss Nigel Adkins in north London, as his side struggled to cope with a free-flowing Gunners outfit. Cazorla was at the centre of much of Arsenal's best work, with the talented Spaniard laying on the opening goal for Gervinho before grabbing the second himself - as he expertly curled the ball around a helpless Stuart Taylor.

Gareth Bale - Tottenham Hotspur

There is no stopping Bale at present, with the flying Welsh winger putting in a talismanic display for the umpteenth time this season as Tottenham edged past Swansea and into third place in the Premier League standings. Bale, who continues to justify his billing as one of Europe's most devastating attacking talents, provided the ammunition for Vertonghen to break the deadlock in South Wales, before rifling home Spurs' second from the edge of the box.

Andy Carroll - West Ham United

Carroll offered a timely reminder of what he is capable of to his bosses at club and international level on Saturday as he helped to bulldoze West Ham past West Brom. Hammers boss Sam Allardyce was suitably impressed, admitting afterwards that he wants to make Carroll's loan deal permanent, and England coach Roy Hodgson will have made a note of events at Upton Park. Carroll nodded home a trademark header against the Baggies, before stroking in a controlled volley to wrap up a 3-1 win.

Gervinho - Arsenal

Another of those who boasts the ability to frustrate and amaze in equal measure, Gervinho had the Emirates faithful purring on Saturday. The Ivorian has enjoyed a return to form over recent weeks and looked to be full of confidence as he helped to hammer another nail in rock-bottom Reading's coffin. Gervinho needed just 16 minutes to open the scoring against the Royals and would go on to have a hand in another two of Arsenal's four goals.

So that's our team of Top Men, now pick yours!

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W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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