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TT's Top Men: Fearsome forward line

Tuesday 11th December 2012 12:58

Torres and Rooney: Not a bad forward line

Torres and Rooney: Not a bad forward line

Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres combine for a formidable forward line in this week's Top Men, our team of the week from the Premier League.

After every round of Premier League fixtures, we pick our 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 16 (December 8-10). 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 (4-4-2): De Gea; Shaw, Bassong, Ferdinand, Johnson; Puncheon, Arteta, McCarthy, Duff; Rooney, Torres.

Goalkeeper

David de Gea - Manchester United

De Gea has had his critics throughout his time in England, but he showed during the Manchester derby on Sunday that he has matured into a goalkeeper capable of handling the big occasion. Manchester United were left with little choice but to select the Spaniard, with Anders Lindegaard otherwise engaged, but De Gea let no-one down as he put in a commanding display - with the 22-year-old prepared to step off his line and embrace the physical challenge of contesting high balls.

Defenders

Luke Shaw - Southampton

It is easy to see why Shaw's stock has risen considerably over recent weeks and that his name has started to figure prominently in transfer gossip columns. The Southampton full-back is still only 17, but looks like he has been turning out in the Premier League for years. Another assured display against Reading on Saturday helped the Saints to a welcome three-point haul and added a few more 0's to his potential price tag.

Rio Ferdinand - Manchester United

Ferdinand's derby day may have taken a turn for the worse as he celebrated Robin van Persie's late winner at the Etihad Stadium, but the 90 or so minutes leading up to a well-publicised coin-throwing incident saw the experienced centre-half put in another steady shift for the Red Devils. Big games call for calm heads, and Ferdinand was able to keep his cool and his mind on the job in hand as United collected what could be a crucial victory over their closest title rivals.

Sebastien Bassong - Norwich City

Bassong has doubled his career goals tally in the space of just four games, with the Norwich defender in prolific form right now. He had found the target just three times in over 150 appearances prior to 24th November. Three weeks on and Bassong now has six efforts on his CV. The latest of those arrived at Swansea on Saturday, with the centre-half nodding home Norwich's second on an afternoon which saw them prevail in a seven-goal thriller in South Wales.

Glen Johnson - Liverpool

Former Hammers defender Johnson returned to haunt the Upton Park faithful on Sunday, with Liverpool's 3-2 victory over West Ham owing plenty to two men who learnt their trade in the East End of London. Neither Johnson nor Joe Cole celebrated their goals, but both will be delighted to have helped the Reds to back-to-back wins and a standing in the top-half of the table. Johnson was the man to open the scoring in an entertaining contest, with his sweet strike arching into the top corner.

Midfielders

Jason Puncheon - Southampton

Sweetness and light has returned to St Mary's Stadium, and one man in particular is revelling in the feel-good factor on the South Coast. Puncheon appeared destined to be on his way out of Southampton not all that long ago, following an infamous falling out with the board, but he has been among the club's top performers over recent weeks as the Saints have started edging clear of trouble. Puncheon netted his third goal of the season on Saturday to earn a 1-0 win over Reading.

Mikel Arteta - Arsenal

The awarding of two spot-kicks at Emirates Stadium on Saturday has kept the diving debate open, with Santi Cazorla the latest to see his actions fall under the microscope, but once a decision has been given, the opportunity must then be taken. Arteta, who has already failed from 12 yards this season, kept his cool on both occasions to calmly stoke home and see Arsenal to a much-needed 2-0 victory over West Brom - with victory helping to keep the restless natives happy for another week at least.

James McCarthy - Wigan Athletic

Wigan ensured that Queens Park Rangers' forgettable start to the season continued on Saturday, with the capital outfit still waiting for their first win 16 games into the campaign. Harry Redknapp took his troops to the DW Stadium aware of the importance of taking something from a basement-dwelling rival, but a deadly double from McCarthy meant that he had to settle for just a solitary point from a 2-2 draw.

Damien Duff - Fulham

Facing former employers tends to bring the best out of certain individuals, especially those who relish the opportunity to silence a group of supporters who feel the need to jeer their every touch. Duff looked like a man on a mission during Fulham's date with Newcastle on Monday, and he was instrumental in helping the Cottagers to a 2-1 victory over a side that used to pay his wages. Duff had a hand in both of Fulham's goals, laying on the first for Steve Sidwell and crossing for Hugo Rodallega to nod home the winner.

Strikers

Fernando Torres - Chelsea

A rare smile broke out across Torres' face on Saturday, with the Spanish striker finally looking like he was enjoying himself on the football field. Goals obviously help to lift the mood of a misfiring forward, and Torres helped himself to two during Chelsea's 3-1 victory over out-of-sorts Sunderland - including his first Premier League penalty. Rafa Benitez will be hoping there is plenty more to come from his number nine, starting in the Blues' quest to land the Club World Cup.

Wayne Rooney - Manchester United

Rooney enjoyed quite a day on Sunday, with his efforts pivotal to Manchester United's 3-2 derby success at arch-rivals City. His first-half double, which came against the run of play, saw him move onto 150 Premier League goals. He has also moved into double figures in derby contests, making him United's all-time leading marksman in meetings with their noisy neighbours. At the age of 27, you would imagine that there may be many more to come.

So that's our team of Top Men, now pick your elite XI!

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