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Prem Top Men: Red-hot Robin leads line

Hat-trick hero Robin van Persie leads the line in TEAMtalk's latest Top Men XI, with Peter Crouch and Daniel Sturridge also up front.

Last Updated: 23/04/13 at 15:33 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 34 (April 20-22). 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): Jaaskelainen; B Jones, Mertesacker, Bassong, D Rose; Mata, Cabaye, Bale; Crouch, van Persie, Sturridge.

Jussi Jaaskelainen - West Ham

Veteran goalkeeper Jaaskelainen played a crucial role as West Ham kept out Wigan in a 2-0 win to pile more woe on the relegation-threatened Latics. The reliable Finn notched up a total of eight saves to keep the visitors at bay at Upton Park, with his starring moment coming 20 minutes from time when the 38-year-old reacted quickly to deny James McArthur and allow the hosts to retain their lead.

Billy Jones - West Brom

The Baggies salvaged a point at home to Newcastle in a 1-1 draw after going behind early on and it was Jones that was the hero of the afternoon as he became the first Englishman to score for West Brom this season. The full-back's all-round performance was an impressive one and it was crowned in the 64th minute when he pounced on a neat lay-off from Romelu Lukaku and coolly applied the finish.

Per Mertesacker - Arsenal

Mertesacker was another goalscoring defender as he netted the Gunners' winner on the stroke of half-time against 10-man Fulham in a derby game which also saw Olivier Giroud sent off for the visitors late on. His goal - a neat header from close range teed up by Laurent Koscielny - was crucial as Arsenal continue to push for a top-four finish this season, while the towering German also provided a solid defensive presence as Arsene Wenger's men claimed a clean sheet.

Sebastien Bassong - Norwich

The Canaries dealt another blow to doomed Reading as they claimed a 2-1 win at Carrow Road and Bassong was a stand-out performer for the home side. The defender put in a composed display at the back as Norwich managed to withstand the Royals' attack and prevent them from seeing an attempted comeback through, keeping Pavel Pogrebnyak at bay as the hosts secured a much-needed three points.

Danny Rose - Sunderland

The Black Cats claimed another win under new boss Paolo Di Canio as they saw off Everton 1-0 and Rose caught the eye with a fine performance in defence which helped the hosts secure a second successive clean sheet. The youngster, on loan from Tottenham, was consistently solid at the back while also unafraid to venture forward and aid Sunderland's attack, providing energy and pace on the left.

Juan Mata - Chelsea

Once again it was Mata pulling the strings in midfield for Chelsea as they played out a dramatic 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Sunday. The Spaniard was involved in the majority of the Blues' best moments while also providing the well-delivered corner which allowed Oscar to open the scoring in the 26th minute, keeping him top of the Premier League assists chart.

Yohan Cabaye - Newcastle

Cabaye contributed a classy performance as Newcastle drew at West Brom, proving instrumental in the opening half when he demonstrated the best of his passing technique. The Frenchman was the orchestrator of the Magpies' best chances and was involved in the build-up to Yoan Gouffran's early opener, feeding Papiss Cisse for the cross which assisted his strike. He also helped soak up the pressure from the Baggies in the second half.

Gareth Bale - Tottenham

Bale is no stranger to our team of the week and earned a place in our line-up again with another influential performance as Tottenham pulled off a late comeback at White Hart Lane to see off Manchester City 3-1. Spurs scored three second-half goals in seven minutes and Bale was at the heart of that turnaround, providing the cross for Clint Dempsey's important equaliser then adding a goal of his own.

Peter Crouch - Stoke

Stoke have attracted criticism for their recent run of poor form but responded with a 2-0 victory at lowly QPR and Crouch was key to the welcome win. Recalled to Tony Pulis' side after two games on the bench, the striker scored the Potters' opener from Cameron Jerome's low cross just before the break then won a penalty off Clint Hill in the second half which allowed Jonathan Walters to put Stoke's win beyond doubt from the spot.

Robin van Persie - Manchester United

Van Persie put in a stunning display against Aston Villa which was all the more poignant given it handed Manchester United their 20th league title. The Dutchman hit a hat-trick for the Red Devils - his fifth in the Premier League - to seal the gong in emphatic style. His efforts also marked the quickest first-half hat-trick in the Premier League for nine years as goals in the second, 13th and 33rd minute inspired the triumph.

Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool

Luis Suarez may have stolen the headlines after Liverpool's controversial draw with Chelsea when he appeared to bite Branislav Ivanovic but it was half-time substitute Sturridge that made one of the biggest impacts on the game as he helped inspire the Reds' comeback. He temporarily drew Liverpool level with a tidy finish early in the second half then provided the assist for Suarez's equaliser deep into stoppage time after Eden Hazard's penalty had restored Chelsea's lead.

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