Bournemouth beat Manchester United to claim Team of the Weekend spoils
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Our panel of experts carefully selects 11 star performers, along with a manager.
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Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section below the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #TOTW. Plus, tune in to Monday's ESPN FC show (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) for further reaction.
Goalkeeper: "It was an emotional performance between the sticks, punctuated by some key stops," was Gab Marcotti's assessment of Artur Boruc, who has had a fairly up and down campaign for newly promoted Bournemouth. He excelled in the 2-1 win over Manchester United, with not so much as a flap, rick or howler in sight. His double save from Marouane Fellaini and Paddy McNair was top class. The Polish stopper edges out Norwich's Declan Rudd, put forward by Shaka Hislop, and Watford's Heurelho Gomes, given the nod by Steve Nicol.
Full-backs: Our pairing both come from Watford. Allan Nyom has been quietly impressing Marcotti all season long and he makes our team after he teed up Odion Ighalo for the winner against Sunderland. Hislop was also impressed with the 27-year-old's shift. Nathan Ake had a fine game on the opposite flank too and is becoming a "key cog" in Watford's wheel, according to Gab. He edges out two Baggies: Craig Dawson, Nicol's choice, and Chris Brunt, Hislop's selection.
Centre-back: West Brom's Jonas Olsson makes our XI. The man Nicol refers to as a "warrior" showed all those characteristics in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield but also proved a menace at the other end. He scored one, a neat near-post glancing header which looked for a long time like it was going to prove the winner, and also netted with a volley that took an age to be ruled out, albeit correctly. Marcotti sums his afternoon up thusly: "He kept Benteke at bay and scored at the other end. The man-mountain made all the difference."
Centre-back: Olsson's partner is Bournemouth's Simon Francis, another man who could fit snugly into the warrior category. He played a full part in an astonishing week for the Cherries, who followed up their 1-0 win at Chelsea last week with the epic victory over United on Saturday. Both Hislop and Nicol were impressed, the latter remarking upon his "mazy runs" as well as his stout defending in the triumph.
Centre-midfield: We begin with an Eagle in the form of Crystal Palace's Yohan Cabaye. The Frenchman is proving what a fine player he is and made the difference in Palace's 1-0 home win over Southampton. Marcotti explains: "His forward run was perfectly timed and he was rewarded with a goal." Nicol simply says: "What a signing."
Centre-midfield: Next up, the returning Jordan Henderson. The Liverpool captain marked his first start since April with a fine goal against West Brom, finishing off a long and patient passing move. As Nicol says, it was an "impact comeback." Hislop is in agreement, and though Liverpool had to rely on a 96th-minute leveller from Divock Origi to snatch a point, they certainly looked a better unit with their skipper restored to the ranks.
Centre-midfield: Aaron Ramsey has excelled in a more central role since Santi Cazorla's injury, and has two goals in his last two games to show for it. Even Steven Gerrard, who knows a thing or two about operating in a central berth, has called Ramsey "the best attacking midfielder in the Premier League." The Welshman's goal in the 2-0 win at Villa was a simple one, but the burst forward was fluid and decisive. Nicol lauded his contribution while Marcotti added: "He plays the position differently from Cazorla, obviously, but is about as effective."
Centre-forward: Into our three-pronged forward line and we have another Bournemouth hero. It must have been all the sweeter for Josh King to nab the winner having been released by United before he had a chance to establish himself. Apart from his goal, he looked a threat all game. Marcotti said: "It means more when you score against your old club. But he didn't just score, he single-handedly tormented United's young back four." King beats Yaya Toure and Harry Arter to the shirt, both chosen by Hislop.
Centre-forward: Could Jamie Vardy's record of being the first Premier League player to score in 11 consecutive games be under threat already? Romelu Lukaku looks in the mood to break it, scoring for his sixth successive Premier League match in Everton's 1-1 draw with Norwich. And though he deserves his place for that alone, he should really have been celebrating a hat trick, such was Everton's first-half dominance.
Centre-forward: the final place in our side is a fight between Newcastle's super sub Aleksandar Mitrovic and Watford's Odion Ighalo. The former came off the bench to drag Newcastle level against Spurs and convinced Nicol to select him in our TOTW, but I'm going to side with Marcotti and his choice of Watford's main man. The Nigerian grabbed his 10th goal of the campaign in the 1-0 win on Wearside; quite an achievement for a promoted club. "He's on fire," says Gab.
Manager: A late change of heart from Nicol has tipped the balance in Steve McClaren's favour. Marcotti reckons Eddie Howe is "walking on air" right now and should get the accolade for producing some huge results, but Newcastle have also picked up two impressive victories in the last week to ease the pressure on McClaren. Hislop picked him all along but Nicol changed from Howe to the Toon boss.