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Premier League team of the week - Match day 21
Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham dominate the top three positions in the Premier League and rattled in a total of 10 goals past their opponents in their first round of fixtures in 2013.
Here's our picks for 2013's first team of the week.
Goalkeeper – Julio Cesar
What a performance by QPR. According to Harry Redknapp the dressing room is buzzing and I'm not surprised. The save by Cesar from Fernando Torres in the second half was immense but it was his overall command of his penalty area that was most impressive. Who would have thought it, three points and a clean sheet for QPR at Stamford Bridge. That result will send shock waves through the bottom six clubs. If QPR can put a run together now, game on!
Right-back – Pablo Zabaleta
The Argentine is having a great season. The first goal against Stoke was always going to be the most difficult and it needed someone with guile and coolness under pressure to provide the breakthrough. The full-back started and finished the move that opened the floodgates for City. It will be very interesting who gets the most goals this season - Zabaleta or Patrice Evra. The chances are, the player that does will win the title.
Centre-back – Clint Hill
There was so much about QPR's performance against Chelsea that was so positive - Adel Taarabt up front and Esteban Grenero in midfield, just to mention two. However, Clint Hill's desire and leadership at the heart of their defence was exemplary. This is a player who is keeping Anton Ferdinand out of the team, and on this showing justifiably so.
Centre-back – Jonny Evans
His performances this season have at times been outstanding. This was no better demonstrated than in the second half against Wigan when he caught Arouna Kone, having given him a five-yard start, and saw off the Ivorian.
Left-back – Leighton Baines
When Leighton Baines plays well, so do Everton. This was no better illustrated than against Newcastle United, who could be the surprise team that ends up in a relegation dogfight. Something is not right at Newcastle and Alan Pardew better fix it quickly.
Midfield – Aaron Lennon
Against Sunderland, he and Gareth Bale ran the show. In the absence of Bale and against a stubborn Reading side the Yorkshireman grabbed the mantle and performed brilliantly, providing the assist for Emmanuel Adebayor to put the game beyond the Royals. Two superb performances from the England international. If he keeps this form up, he's a must for Roy Hodgson.
Midfield – Steven Gerrard
The Liverpool man hasn't enjoyed the best of season's so far and has come in for a bit of criticism but in recent games he looks to be back to his best and was sublime against Sunderland. He ran the midfield and played a key role in both of Luis Suarez' goals.
Midfield – Wayne Routledge
Here is another winger who seems to be playing some of the best football of his career. The much-travelled wide man has promised much at his various clubs but I can't remember when I've seen him look so dangerous, particularly in front of goal. He absolutely terrorised Aston Villa in the first half.
Forward – Luis Suarez
Suarez has been in fine form for Liverpool this season and he's showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to scoring goals. Suarez now has 15 Premier League goals, a higher total than any Liverpool plater managed in either the 2010-11 or 2011-12 seasons.
Forward – Javier Hernandez
A player who can score a brace one week and is happy to be left out the next, without a murmur. Not only does the Mexican look like an integral part of the team, he never lets the fact that he is not an automatic choice cloud his performances.
Forward – Robin van Persie
Another game, another goal, or two in this case for Robin van Persie. The Dutchmen has seamlessly slotted into Ferguson's side and has been in fine form since the start of the season. The way the striker took his first goal against Wigan was pure and utter class and as Mancini and Sir Alex has pointed out, this man will be the difference in the title race this season.
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