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TT's Top Men: January signings shine

Premier League new boys Nacho Monreal and Moussa Sissoko take their place in TEAMtalk's Top Men, our latest PL select XI.

Last Updated: 04/02/13 at 12:59 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 25 (February 2-3). 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): Begovic; Walker, Reid, Ferdinand, Monreal; Kebe, Sissoko, Fellaini, Bale; Sturridge, Benteke.

Goalkeeper

Asmir Begovic - Stoke City

The signing of Jack Butland has increased speculation that the current Stoke keeper will be on his way in the summer and performances like the one in the 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday will ensure the Bosnian is in demand. The reported Manchester United target came up with a series of saves to deny the Gunners and it required a deflected effort from a free-kick to finally find a way past the Potters player.

Defenders

Kyle Walker - Tottenham

Not only was the Spurs right-back part of a clean-sheet performance as his team beat West Brom 1-0 at The Hawthorns but he was also a key figure going forward, particularly after the break. Walker's afternoon will probably be remembered for the fact that he was on the receiving end of the Goran Popov spitting incident but there was more to the England international's game than that. In fact, Spurs seemed to lose their way after Walker was withdrawn late on.

Winston Reid - West Ham

Arguably one of the best defenders in the Premier League so far this season, Reid played his part in an improved West Ham performance as they beat Swansea 1-0 at Upton Park. The New Zealand international is the rock of the Hammers defence with his aerial prowess, covering speed on the ground and unerring consistency.

Rio Ferdinand - Manchester United

There haven't been too many clean sheets for Sir Alex Ferguson's side this season but Saturday's 1-0 win at Fulham was a defensive triumph as much as a victory for goalscorer Wayne Rooney. The Red Devils had to cope with some late home pressure and Ferdinand was pivotal in ensuring his team held on for the points as he came up with a series of headed clearances.

Nacho Monreal - Arsenal

A clash with Jonathan Walters gave the Spain international an early taster of what to expect in England on his Arsenal debut following his January arrival from Malaga. But the left-back took that in his stride and produced a solid display under pressure. This was an encouraging start and Gunners fans will no longer be having nightmares about Andre Santos now that the Pamplona-born 26-year-old is in town.

Midfielders

Jimmy Kebe - Reading

He may not be a prolific goalscorer but the Royals winger delivered at the weekend with two priceless goals to help his side see off Sunderland 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium. Kebe is proving a real asset for Brian McDermott's team, providing width, trickery and a steady stream of crosses, but if he can add goals too then Reading can surely expect to continue their climb out of the relegation zone.

Moussa Sissoko - Newcastle

Making the Premier League team of the week for a second successive week, the Magpies new boy has certainly hit the ground running on Tyneside. A dominant presence alongside the more subtle charms of Yohan Cabaye, Sissoko showed his hard-running prowess to embarrass Ashley Cole on the flank and, more importantly, popped up with two vital goals including a late winner to grab all three points for Newcastle in their 3-2 win over Chelsea.

Marouane Fellaini - Everton

Everton looked in big trouble when two goals down to struggling Aston Villa at the weekend but with a player like Fellaini in the ranks they proved once again just how tough they are to beat. Firstly, the Belgium international played a purposeful one-two and fired the ball past Brad Guzan to raise Toffees spirits. And then, the imposing figure of the 25-year-old brushed his markers aside in the final minutes to head in a late equaliser.

Gareth Bale - Tottenham

The Wales international got the crucial breakthrough for Tottenham as they finally found a way past 10-man West Brom. Bale enjoyed a free role and this allowed him to run at the Baggies defence as he saw fit - providing a constant source of threat. Ben Foster was up to the challenge for much of the game but was helpless when the 23-year-old eluded Claudio Yacob and blasted a fierce left-footed shot high into the net past the Albion keeper.

Strikers:

Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool

The former Chelsea man has been a revelation for the Reds and continued his impressive form following his January move with another lively display against another of his old clubs on Sunday. Sturridge was a real menace with his trickery and movement, even managing to cap a fine performance with a well-struck first-half goal. The England international's partnership with Luis Suarez must be a source of real optimism for Liverpool fans.

Christian Benteke - Aston Villa

"How much is he worth now? I don't know about today's prices but this is a league which pays £40m and £50m for strikers. He can be priceless for us." Those are the words of Aston Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi but there won't be too many Villa supporters disagreeing after yet another powerful performance from the 22-year-old Belgian at Goodison Park on Saturday. Despite the team's problems, Benteke's brace against Everton means he now has 14 Villa goals already this season.

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Readers' Comments

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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