Top Men: Cech, Can and Ozil make grade

Date published: Friday 13th February 2015 4:31

Steve Bruce: Team selection not to blame for loss

Check out our latest Team of the Week and then let us know your top XI using the story comment facility at the bottom of the article.

TEAMtalk’s Top Men (3-5-2): Cech; Janmaat, Can, Kouyate; Fer, Milner, Bolasie, Ozil, Phillips; Aguero, Ideye.

Petr Cech (Chelsea): With Thibaut Courtois stumbling slightly from his exalted platform, ‘understudy’ Cech strutted on stage to give a firm reminder of his endearing brilliance with a virtuoso display against Everton. Superbly thwarting Romelu Lukaku with a sensational reaction stop, his unshakable character and supreme composure provided the basis for a potentially title-deciding three points.

Darryl Janmaat (Newcastle): The Magpies snatched an unpolished diamond when the Dutch dynamo traded Groningen away for the glitz and glamour of the Premier League last summer. Game by game, the prowling full-back is repaying their hefty investment with interest. Delivering a delicious cross that rendered Papiss Cisse’s strike more an obligation, Janmaat’s excellent display against Crystal Palace again highlighted his refined credentials.

Emre Can (Liverpool): A key component in Brendan Rodgers’ free-flowing formation, the versatile German completed another assured display against a swashbuckling Tottenham. Equally adapt in and out of possession, Can’s composed positioning reduced Christian Eriksen to spectator status – quite the feat. It’s no coincidence his introduction has coincided with Liverpool’s mid-season renaissance.

Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham): After showcasing his extensive skill-set last weekend, Kouyate again impressed in an unfamiliar centre-half position as West Ham left another European-chasing opponent frustrated. The Senegalese starred as Southampton’s frontmen were denied by Sam Allardyce’s well-drilled hosts. With Winston Reid and James Collins struggling with niggles and knocks aplenty, Kouyate’s impressive form could not have been more perfectly timed.

Leroy Fer (QPR): Holland’s World Cup hero has seamlessly swapped continental caviar for the bread and butter of the Premier League, providing crucial attacking verve in a cautious Rangers midfield. Fer’s textbook header opened the scoring in Tuesday’s relegation six pointer at Sunderland, his fourth of the season. However, having been ruled out with ligament damage, his forward thrust will be sorely missed as QPR aim to avoid an instant return to the second-tier.

James Milner (Man City): Far removed from City’s all-star cast of limelight-loving trequartistas, unfashionable utility-man Milner has excelled in 2015, usurping Yaya Toure’s goalscoring midfielder crown. The energetic England international maintained his purple patch, clinically finishing a flowing move as the champions comfortably dispatched Stoke. City’s first league win at the Britannia owed much to Milner’s emblematic determination and tireless work-rate.

Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace): Despite recently returning from an energy-sapping AFCON campaign, Eagles flier Bolasie showed no signs of fatigue as his second-half introduction inspired a vibrant comeback against Newcastle. The Congolese winger’s inch-perfect delivery rendered Frazier Campbell’s overdue goal drought a thing of the past. An old-school, chalk-booted winger, Bolasie’s improvement is immeasurable.

Mesut Ozil (Arsenal): In-form schemer Ozil delivered the ammunition as the Gunners shot down Leicester on Tuesday. Flourishing in a free role, he mercilessly destroyed the Foxes’ beleaguered backline, assisting both Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott. Despite Alexis Sanchez’s tireless tenacity and Santi Cazorla’s fearsome thrust, Ozil’s dexterity gives Arsenal the craft and class to carve apart deep-lying defences.

Matt Phillips (QPR): After struggling for game time under Harry Redknapp, the former Blackpool wideman emphatically showcased his oft overlooked abilities against Sunderland. His unswerving confidence and pinpoint deliveries ran Rangers ragged, with Fer and Bobby Zamora grateful beneficiaries of his inspired attacking display. A new start, both for club and player.

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City): After a barren post-Christmas run characterised by a fitness concerns, Aguero exploded into life in midweek, rattling home his first strikes since mid-December as Man City atoned for their early season shock against Stoke. Ending his month long goalless streak with a trademark Aguero finish and a clinical penalty, the Argentine talisman’s return to greatness breathes fresh life into a spluttering title race.

City will hope Aguero has a strong end to the season and the striker remains well-backed in the top goalscorer market.

Brown Ideye (West Brom): In a rather curious domino effect, Daniel Levy (via Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlton Cole) reportedly denied record-signing Brown Ideye an early escape route from his Premier League nightmare. Football is rarely straightforward of course, as the Nigerian’s imperious performance against Swansea showed. A clinically-dispatched strike and dead-eyed assist going someway to repaying that £10m fee.

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