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Midfield void haunts Everton

Everton
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 By Tom Sweetman

Man City and Tottenham trios lead team of the weekend

Janusz Michallik and Mark Donaldson delve into the finer points of Man City's derby win and its impact on the title race.

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.

Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section at the foot of the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #ESPNFCTOTW.

TOTW graphic 20171210
ESPN FC's Premier League Team of the Weekend.

Goalkeeper: Manchester City won a 14th consecutive Premier League game to go 11 points clear at the top but, without Ederson, Pep Guardiola's side would have had to settle for a draw against Manchester United. A wonderful double stop five minutes from the end, which denied Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata, "made sure of the three points," says Steve Nicol, while Gab Marcotti believes it was "as good as scoring a winning goal."

Right-back: He might not have had too much to do defensively in Tottenham's much-needed thrashing of Stoke, but Kieran Trippier was efficient at the back and, going forward, he whipped a few of his usual dangerous deliveries. Marcotti says: "Admittedly games like these are pretty straightforward, but he gets forward with ease and helps out at the back where Mauricio Pochettino reverts to a back four."

Centre-back: For all the attacking talent that Man City have at their disposal, it was Nicolas Otamendi who proved decisive in the final third in the Manchester derby. And if getting the winner wasn't quite enough to satisfy the defender, it was his strength at a corner that led to David Silva's opener as well. Plus, he was pretty decent in his day job to boot. Nicol states: "He gets my pick for sure, just for scoring the winning goal in a Manchester derby. Huge."

Centre-back: It was a backs-to-the-wall job for West Ham in their impressive win vs. Chelsea; from the sixth minute when they took the lead, the Hammers had to soak up pressure from the champions. But, led by Angelo Ogbonna at the back, they pulled through with flying colours. "Ogbonna is thriving under David Moyes, helping to shackle Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard for most of the game," says Marcotti, while Nicol adds: "If he can defend like that, West Ham will be fine."

Left-back: Completing our back four is another West Ham defender, who shackled Chelsea. While Arthur Masuaku has not always thrived in a Hammers shirt, it looks like Moyes may have found a way to get the best out of the attacking full-back. Marcotti says: "He's no long the butt of jokes, once you understand that he can run with the ball and offer width better than he can defend."

Son Heung-Min has scored seven goals in all competitions this season.

Midfield: Plenty of players stood out as Tottenham tore apart Stoke, but none so much as Son Heung-Min. The South Korea international was pivotal, helping to create the opener and netting the second, before eventually teeing up Spurs' fifth and final goal, having done plenty of good in between. Nicol was certainly impressed, saying: "Son is underrated. Big time. Vital to the Tottenham cause with performances like that."

Midfield: Another Man City goal scorer makes his way into our XI this week but David Silva is included for more than just his opener at Old Trafford, having turned in a display that saw him help dictate his side's attacks, while also doing his bit defensively. "He scores a goal, weaves some magic, crunches some tackles and spends some time at centre-forward," says Marcotti. "An all-around performance."

Midfield: On his day, Marko Arnautovic can be a threat to anyone but as Stoke -- and now West Ham -- have found out, that day doesn't come around as often as it should. The stars aligned on Saturday, though, with the Austria international opening his account for the Hammers in style with an excellently-taken goal that gave Moyes his first win. "For once, [Arnautovic] was fully focused," says Nicol. "If he could play like this every week."

Forward: A big part of Spurs' first win five league games was Harry Kane. The England man bagged himself two goals at Wembley and it could have been a hat trick if not for some good work from Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland. "Just the two goals from the four-season wonder," Marcotti jokes about a striker who's already up to 18 goals for the campaign and, in 2017 overall, has reached 50 for club and country.

Forward: Age seems just a number for Jermain Defoe who, at 35, still knows exactly where the goal is. The veteran striker found the back of the net twice at Crystal Palace as Bournemouth secured a point, with his stunning second a contender for goal of the season. "Many were sceptical when he signed, including me," says Marcotti. "But on his day he goes and bags two goals and one of them is absolutely gorgeous."

Forward: Since Steve Mounie's brace on the opening day of the season, when Huddersfield swept aside Crystal Palace, he's not had too much joy in the Premier League. He was back smiling on Saturday, however, with another double to inspire victory over Brighton. "He has had his ups and down," says Marcotti. "But this was definitely an up; two goals to send Huddersfield on their way."

Manager: And to manage this motley crew? It can only be one man. David Moyes has not enjoyed the best of times in recent years, but he can take satisfaction from struggling West Ham's victory over Chelsea -- his first at his new club -- which came six days after they pushed Manchester City close. Marcotti says: "He takes City to the limit and then beats Chelsea. Not bad for a team that supposedly doesn't listen to him and isn't fit." Nicol adds: "Moyes is finally getting some fight out of West Ham."

Tom is a freelance sports journalist. Follow him @Tom_Sweetman

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