TT's Top Men: Terrific trio lead the line

Thursday 3rd January 2013 13:02

Luis Suarez: Back to his best for Liverpool

Luis Suarez: Back to his best for Liverpool

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Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie and Edin Dzeko lead the line in TEAMtalk's Top Men, our select XI following the hectic festive progamme.

In a break from the norm, we this week pick a team of the festive period 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 during the three league games over the Christmas and New Year period.

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): Lloris; Jagielka, Dawson, Agger, Baines; Walcott, Lampard, Bale; Suarez, van Persie, Dzeko.

Goalkeeper

Hugo Lloris - Tottenham

For this week's Premier League selection, we have taken into account three rounds of fixtures - from Boxing Day through to the first games of 2013. With that in mind, Lloris gets the nod between the sticks as the Tottenham keeper was beaten just twice in 270 minutes of football. His efforts helped Spurs to collect nine points and position themselves in third place in the Premier League standings.

Defenders

Phil Jagielka - Everton

Everton will consider themselves to have enjoyed a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year after collecting six points from three games. The Toffees remain very much in the hunt for a top-four finish at the turn of the year, and Jagielka has played a leading role in their efforts so far. The England international helped David Moyes' men to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Wigan on Boxing Day as he nodded home what proved to be the match winner.

Michael Dawson - Tottenham

Spurs' defensive efforts over the course of an action-packed week of top-flight football have already been mentioned, with Andre Villas-Boas' side proving to be a tough nut to crack. The return to full fitness, and top form, of club captain Dawson has significantly aided the capital giants in their bid to secure Champions League qualification. The commanding centre-half opened his Premier League goal account for the season in a 3-1 waltz past struggling Reading on New Year's Day.

Daniel Agger - Liverpool

Liverpool may have started the season slowly, and are still searching for consistency, but they are up to eighth in the table after picking up back-to-back wins. Successive clean sheets suggest the Reds are heading in the right direction, with Agger a reassuring presence at the heart of their back four. The Denmark international is also capable of popping up with the odd goal, and he was on target as Liverpool saw off Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road to end 2012 in style.

Leighton Baines - Everton

Most football followers were fully aware of the power Baines possesses in his rocket of a left boot prior to Everton's trip to Newcastle on Wednesday, but for those who were unaware, the Toffees full-back gave a demonstration of pure brute force at St James' Park. His spectacular free-kick helped Everton to open the new year on a high, with a 30-yard thunderbolt almost taking the net off.

Midfielders

Theo Walcott - Arsenal

Yes, we know he wants to play down the middle, but this is our team and we say he has to make do with a place on the right of midfield. Maybe contract talks will break down again, but sometimes you have to make tough calls. Walcott, while not making our frontline, is fully deserving of his place in this side after netting a hat-trick in Arsenal's 7-3 demolition of Newcastle. The fact that the Gunners saw their Boxing Day fixture cancelled means Walcott makes the grade based purely on one performance - as he failed to shine against former employers Southampton on Tuesday.

Frank Lampard - Chelsea

Another man selected with one star showing taken into account. Lampard's match-winning display in Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Everton sees him earn a central midfield berth. His performance at Goodison Park further underlined what he is all about and offered another timely reminder to Chelsea as to what they may be about to let go. There is a chance that a deadly double on Merseyside will represent Lampard's final scoring act in a blue jersey, and a chance that they will be the last goals he plunders in English football - if reports of a January move to pastures new prove to be correct.

Gareth Bale - Tottenham

Every time Bale takes to the field he makes the headlines, for good reasons and bad. The Welshman may still be fending off accusations that he goes to ground too easily, but when in full flow he is virtually unplayable. Aston Villa discovered that to their cost on Boxing Day, with Bale bagging a hat-trick in a 4-0 Spurs success. He will be crucial to Tottenham's cause from here on in, providing he can steer clear of injury and suspension.

Strikers

Luis Suarez - Liverpool

Liverpool secured 3-0 victories either side of the turn of the year, and Suarez was the undoubted star of the show as the Reds ended 2012 on a high and opened 2013 in similar style. The Uruguayan frontman has looked back to his devastating best in recent weeks and has taken his goal tally for the season to 15. He bagged a brace as Liverpool cruised past Queens Park Rangers, before repeating the trick on Wednesday as the Reds swept aside Sunderland at Anfield.

Edin Dzeko - Manchester City

Not always among the first names on the team sheet at Manchester City, but a regular source of goals whenever he gets the opportunity to show what he is capable of. Dzeko was drafted into Roberto Mancini's starting XI for a trip to Norwich, and responded with two goals and an assist. Having made it impossible for his manager to drop him, Dzeko was then on target again as City overcame Stoke on New Year's Day.

Robin van Persie - Manchester United

The top marksman in the Premier League right now and a man who has provided an immediate return on Manchester United's considerable summer investment. There was never any doubt that van Persie would get goals for the Red Devils, and he now has 16 for the campaign. He added four to that return over the festive period, starting with an important effort in a 4-3 victory over Newcastle. He followed that up with another goal in a 2-0 victory over West Brom, before getting in on the act again with a deadly double as United eased to a 4-0 win at Wigan on New Year's Day.

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