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Top Men: Lukaku and Nolan lead the way

Hat-trick heroes Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Nolan feature among TEAMtalk's Top Men, our select XI from the Premier League's final day.

Last Updated: 20/05/13 at 13:33 Post Comment

Here's TEAMtalk's top XI from the 38th and final 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 (3-5-2): Begovic; Hangeland, Carragher, Koscielny; Coutinho, Howson, Nolan, Mata, Kacaniklic; Bale, Lukaku.

Asmir Begovic (Stoke)

There has been plenty of speculation about a possible summer move for Begovic and on the evidence of Sunday's game against Southampton it is not hard to see why he might be attracting interest. The Stoke goalkeeper pulled off a number of superb saves in a 1-1 draw at St Mary's and was only beaten from close range by Rickie Lambert after he had parried Steven Davis' initial shot. The Bosnian had earlier denied Lambert with a brilliant save with his leg and tipped a low shot by Adam Lallana onto the post.

Brede Hangeland (Fulham)

Fulham finished the season with a surprisingly emphatic 3-0 victory away to Swansea, but the scoreline does not tell the full story. The Cottagers had to work very hard for their three points and withstand long periods of pressure, with Hangeland superbly marshalling the defence. The towering Norwegian made several crucial blocks and interceptions and must have headed the ball away 20 times in the second half as his side clung on for what manager Martin Jol described as an 'ugly win'.

Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)

There were a couple of other candidates from Liverpool for a place in our defence after they kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over QPR, but Carragher's case is impossible to ignore. Playing his final game before retirement, the 35-year-old was typically strong at the back and almost signed off in style when he crashed a fabulous long-range effort off the post, before taking the applause of the Anfield crowd as he was substituted with just a few minutes remaining.

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

Arsenal were not severely tested at the back in their clash with Newcastle but it was still necessary for the defence to remain focused against dangerous attackers. Koscielny was impressive throughout and won everything in the air as the Gunners shut out their opponents, while he also grabbed the most important goal of the weekend to seal a 1-0 victory and UEFA Champions League qualification. It was a well-taken strike too as Newcastle failed to deal with a Theo Walcott free-kick and the Frenchman volleyed home with aplomb from six yards.

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

There was no great excitement when Liverpool snapped up Coutinho in January but with each passing game it is looking more and more as though they have uncovered a real gem. The Brazilian sparkled again in Sunday's season finale as his skill, movement and vision posed problems for QPR. He has also shown that he is capable of providing a cutting edge and his goal was worthy of winning any match as he drilled a shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Jonny Howson (Norwich)

Manchester City may have been without a permanent manager and guaranteed second place but it is still quite a feat to win away at the Etihad Stadium. Norwich managed to do just that, though, and climb up to 11th place in the process, thanks to a dynamic display. Robert Snodgrass deserves a mention for his great set-pieces but Howson gets the nod in our team after netting a great winning goal to make it 3-2. Picking up the ball near the halfway mark, the midfielder burst forward and shrugged off a couple of weak challenges before calmly finishing past Joe Hart.

Kevin Nolan (West Ham)

Nolan hit a wonderful hat-trick in West Ham's 4-2 triumph at home to Reading to become the club's leading scorer this season. He slotted into an empty net to open the scoring and later, after the Hammers had been pegged back to 2-2, scored the best goal of the game when he latched on to Mark Noble's delightful pass and clipped a fine shot beyond Alex McCarthy. The midfielder rounded off a great afternoon when he headed home Modibo Maiga's cross to complete his treble.

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

One of the stars of the season, it was fitting that Mata was again at the heart of Chelsea's best work in their 2-1 victory over Everton on the final day. The Spanish playmaker broke the deadlock after just seven minutes when Tim Howard could only block a Demba Ba shot straight back into his path and he continued to pull the strings as the Blues bounced back from Steven Naismith's equaliser to prevail thanks to Fernando Torres' winner.

Alex Kacaniklic (Fulham)

Swansea struggled to contain Kacaniklic as he caught the eye in Fulham's 3-0 success at the Liberty Stadium. He made the breakthrough for the Cottagers midway through the first half after excellent play by Emmanuel Frimpong and Bryan Ruiz set him up to finish well past Michel Vorm. The Swedish youngster could have added to his own tally but saw a well-taken free-kick kept out by Vorm, while it was his shot that was followed up by Urby Emanuelson for Fulham's third.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham)

The PFA Player of the Year capped his remarkable season with yet another spectacular goal to help Spurs see off Sunderland 1-0 at White Hart Lane. He had been frustrated all game, notably when he was wrongly booked for diving in the first half after he should have been awarded a penalty, but he kept on pushing for a goal and eventually fired a stunning strike past Simon Mignolet in the 90th minute. It was not quite a fairytale ending, however, as Arsenal's victory over Newcastle left Spurs in fifth place and outside the Champions League spots.

Romelu Lukaku (West Brom)

Sir Alex Ferguson looked on course for a win in his final game as Manchester United manager as West Brom trailed 5-2 with just ten minutes remaining at The Hawthorns, but the extraordinary drama was not over as the Baggies came back to claim a share of the points in a ten-goal thriller. On-loan striker Lukaku only came on at half-time but he drove in an 18-yard shot in the 50th minute and then started the dramatic late rally by slotting home in the 81st minute. Youssouf Mulumbu quickly steered in another goal to make it 5-4 and Lukaku bundled in before the final whistle to seal his hat-trick and stun United.

That's our team, now pick yours!

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Y

ou spend £200 million in one year and you say 3 years to win the title, I don't think the Man U board signed you to win the title in 3 years after shelling out that sort of cash. Spending that sort of money you should be challenging for the title in this season, not getting an early excuse in to try appeasing the fans and board.

chelseablue_no1
Van Gaal has lofty ambitions

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verything looks pretty when, for a short while, the sun shines through the dark clouds. For a brief moment you can forget about your last tonking or the many more to come.

godzilla
Van Gaal welcomes 'new start'

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guess Storey was able to cancel his planned trip to the shops this weekend. He won't need to buy any food for a while because he's really dining out on those Angel/angel puns. It's going to be a long season.

ted, manchester
Forget Falcao, United Loving Angel Instead

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