TT's Top Men: New faces really impress

Mladen Petric and Michu are among the Premier League debutants named in TEAMtalk's Top Men, while Marouane Fellaini also makes our elite XI.

Last Updated: 21/08/12 at 10:01 Post Comment

Petric: Two goals for Fulham

Petric: Two goals for Fulham

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Every Tuesday morning, we pick our Premier League 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 One (18-20 August). 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 (4-5-1): De Gea; Ivanovic, Huth, Jagielka, Ridgewell; Cazorla, Michu, Fellaini, Hazard, Nasri; Petric.

Selected by Jon Holmes and Tom Davis


David De Gea (Manchester United): Despite United's defeat at Goodison, De Gea can be pleased with his performance. The Spaniard made a series of fine saves to deny Everton, most notably from Leighton Baines' late first-half free-kick and then to deny Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman in the second period. A shaky start to last season resulted in plenty of criticism and the chopping and changing of keepers with Anders Lindegaard that appeared to cause a great deal of uncertainty in the United defence. With Nemanja Vidic back and De Gea assured of the gloves, United will fancy their chances of conceding less than 30 Premier League goals all season - and that usually secures a top-two finish. JH


Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea): Ivanovic turned on the pace to meet Eden Hazard's excellent pass down the right wing, before finishing coolly past Ali Al-Habsi to give Chelsea an early lead at Wigan on Sunday. Benefitting from the rule change six years ago that changed Community Shield red cards to reserve-team bans, the Serbian hardly put a foot wrong at the DW Stadium. Late on, he presented Fernando Torres with an opportunity which the Spaniard should have done better with. We're used to the Serbian contributing to attack as well as defence, but in Roberto Di Matteo's fluid new side, he should have even greater license to contribute. JH

Robert Huth (Stoke): There were some strong Potters performances at Reading - Michael Kightly only misses out due to a glut of star turns from attacking midfielders, while Ryan Shawcross was Mr Dependable yet again - but we've picked out 'Lazarus' Huth for Top Men after his remarkable recovery from meningitis. Huth has explained how he ended up in hospital for four days last week, only to then take to the field at the Madejski and turn in a typically effective centre-back display. The Opta stats noted that, of his 13 clearances, 12 were effective, and his German grit almost proved enough to earn Stoke all three points. JH

Phil Jagielka (Everton): Together with Sylvain Distin, the Toffees centre-back pairing were rock solid all night against Manchester United but for showing the presence of mind to get back and block Tom Cleverley's goalbound shot, and for several other interceptions, we're giving Jags the nod in Top Men this week. Following on from his fine goalscoring display for England against Italy in Berne last Wednesday, and his 30th birthday on Friday, it's been a happy last few days for the defender. JH

Liam Ridgewell (West Brom): The Hawthorns witnessed an outstanding display at left-back from Ridgewell, who claimed an assist for Romelu Lukaku's goal with a lovely floated dink to the far post while also helping the Baggies keep a clean sheet against Liverpool. In addition, the 28-year-old almost netted early on with a 20-yard drive that flew just over the Reds bar. Albion fans will have looked on in admiration and if Ridgewell can maintain a consistent performance level, he could become a key player under Steve Clarke. JH


Santi Cazorla (Arsenal): Cesc Fabregas' presence was missed last season, but in Cazorla, Arsene Wenger may just have found the perfect remedy. Another import from Spain, Santi looked a constant threat to the Sunderland defence, and in similar fashion to Nasri with Man City, was involved in most of Arsenal's bright moves. The midfielder looked confident on the ball, and fits the mould of an Arsenal player perfectly. He threatened Simon Mignolet's goal on no less than four occasions too, which, on any other given day, may just have been enough for him to get on the scoresheet. Arsenal have a history of goalscoring midfielders, and Cazorla looks set to be another of those. He may have failed to find the net on his debut, but it certainly wasn't for the want of trying, and that can only be positive. TD

Michu (Swansea): Gylfi who? Miguel Perez Cuesta arrived on the Swansea stage with a bang at Loftus Road on Saturday. The 26-year-old, who joined for just £2million on a three-year deal from Rayo Vallecano in the summer, turned in a debut display to remember, having come off a superb pre-season. Michu claimed two goals and an assist for Scott Sinclair's strike, while also seeing a shot come back off the QPR crossbar. Wearing the number 9 shirt in an advanced midfield position, he was clearly the main man. Angel Rangel's interpreter skills are likely to be increasingly in demand post-match this season.JH

Marouane Fellaini (Everton): "First championship game, we were on the stage..." tweeted Fellaini soon after Everton's 1-0 win over Manchester United on Monday night. Well, if the Toffees' ensemble cast put on an outstanding performance, there can be little doubt that the big-haired Belgian was the leading man. There was so much energy, enthusiasm and physicality in his game. Bouncing around like Tigger, it's no wonder that Michael Carrick couldn't contain him in the penalty area for the only goal and come the final whistle, grumpy Fergie ended up looking like Eeyore. JH

Eden Hazard (Chelsea): After landing on his arse in the Community Shield defeat the previous weekend, the confident young Belgian found his feet at Wigan on Sunday, producing a sexy turn and release for Ivanovic's opening goal and then winning a penalty courtesy of a clumsy challenge from Ivan Ramis. Having cost around £32million and with a weekly wage said to be close to £170,000, there are high expectations on the former Lille man's shoulders but this was indeed a promising Premier League start. JH

Samir Nasri (Manchester City): Nasri was the creative force in City's home win against Southampton, as he was for much of last season too. The midfielder created more goalscoring opportunities for his team-mates than any other player (five in total), assisting for Tevez's opening goal with an deft through-ball before notching the winning goal himself with an attempt that fizzed into the roof of the net. It was his back-flick to Tevez that helped win the early penalty too, while a right-swinging cross into the box a minute after City levelled was also presented by the Frenchman - Balotelli guilty of putting the ball wide. It was a display we have come to expect from a player as gifted as Nasri, but even more impressive is the fact he was involved in almost every City move. He was needed too, given his partner in crime Silva was a little off-colour. TD


Mladen Petric (Fulham): There were many promising debuts on the opening round of fixtures this season, and Petric was certainly at the top end of that list. He has been a proven goalscorer at every club he has played for, and judging by his debut, Fulham should be no exception to the rule. The Croatian scored Fulham's second with a towering header from a corner, and doubled his tally with Fulham's third in the second half after his long-range shot deflected off Michael Turner into the net. He then completed his debut to remember by providing an assist for Fulham's next goal with a cute flick which rolled through the legs of Ryan Bennett and into the path of Alex Kacaniklic. As early in the transfer window as it is, Petric is likely to go down as one of the signings of the season, whose arrival on a free transfer is an astute piece of business by Martin Jol. TD

Post a Comment below to let us know your thoughts on our selection, and your own Top Men team!

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Readers' Comments


ou can't blame De Gea for wanting to leave, he has enough to do in front of goal as it is as well as taking on the role of Man Utd's version of Derek Acorah in trying to contact and organise a defence that isn't there.

rodger's gusset
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea


f you want to take six points off Arsenal, then that's a great strike force. Can't imagine either of them showing much for the rest of the season though...

foot in mouth
Adebayor & Berbatov: You Have To Admire The Balls


ooks like Real get their man, most likely at their own valuation, yet again. Resistance is futile.

Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

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