Premier League Team of the Week: Willian, Mertesacker and Huddlestone Star
Welcome to the Christmas edition of our Premier League Team of the Week!
This selection, built in a 4-2-3-1 formation, covers the games played over the course of December 28-29 only, with the Boxing Day slate entirely separate and irrelevant.
Disagree with our selections? Post your comments below and craft your own XI!
GK: David De Gea, Manchester United
Top-class goalkeeping performances were hard to come by this weekend, but David de Gea was integral to Manchester United's efforts in eking out a win at Carrow Road.
The victory over Norwich City was hard-fought, perhaps even undeserved, and the Spaniard was put under the spotlight several times—and made several excellent saves.
The Red Devils are now just two points off Liverpool; so much for that shocking season.
RB: Mathieu Debuchy, Newcastle United
What do you mean Seamus Coleman didn't make the cut?
Well, as much as the Irish right-back continues to impress by putting in all-action performances and scoring wonderful goals, Mathieu Debuchy put in a Man of the Match showing vs. Arsenal and played a better 90 minutes.
His improvement since first joining Newcastle is marked, his energy limitless; he was a constant thorn in Kieran Gibbs' side and made frequent intelligent runs.
CB: Per Mertesacker, Arsenal
The pressure steadily built, Newcastle pressed and pressed, the crowd bayed for an equaliser, but Per Mertesacker said no.
The German was exceptional during Arsenal's 1-0 victory at St. James' Park, and with the home side lumping the ball into the box in hope of an equaliser, the German rebuffed all efforts.
In that small space, with his back against the wall, there are very few better.
CB: Gary Cahill, Chelsea
Luis Suarez drew a blank against Chelsea on Sunday, and that's largely down to the excellent nullification job the Blues' defence did.
Gary Cahill was the pick of the bunch, stepping up to put in a commanding performance to cement his standing as Jose Mourinho's first-choice centre-back.
David Luiz was in midfield, simply unable to get a kick at the back.
LB: Ben Davies, Swansea City
Ben Davies had another stellar outing for Swansea City this weekend, and the more he plays, the more it becomes obvious that he's a well-rounded, modern footballer that top clubs should be eyeing.
He was a constant threat pushing forward, mounting long runs and providing an outlet on the touchline to allow the passing game to pick up steam.
He probably should have scored from a corner.
CM: Jordon Mutch, Cardiff City
Jordon Mutch put in a stunning showing on Saturday, grabbing a goal and an assist as Cardiff City fell to a late equaliser against Sunderland.
His drive and power when he puts his foot on the pedal are remarkable, and his goal to open proceedings was a magnificent strike borne of raw momentum.
He set up Fraizer Campbell with a similar run.
CM: Tom Huddlestone, Hull City
The scissors are out.
Tom Huddlestone capped a majestic display at the heart of Hull City's midfield on Saturday with a goal, ensuring he can finally cut his hair after several long years of waiting.
He was a high-percentage passer throughout, dominated the aerial battles in midfield and even hit the woodwork, going oh-so-close to a second.
AMC: Willian, Chelsea
Willian put in another terrific performance for Chelsea against Liverpool, and if you haven't been watching him closely, train your eyes on him as soon as possible.
He doesn't shine in the obvious way others do, but he's become integral to Jose Mourinho's high-pressing methods and his work-rate—for one so technical—is insane.
The Brazilian is really settling down well.
Wing: Aaron Lennon, Tottenham Hotspur
Aaron Lennon made his return to the Tottenham Hotspur first team this weekend in style.
He took to the right side of Tim Sherwood's 4-4-2 formation and absolutely destroyed Erik Pieters, weaving inside and out to create several chances from the flank.
His goal, the third of the afternoon, was a wicked finish, hooked into the top corner. Richly deserved.
Wing: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Eden Hazard put in another unplayable performance against Liverpool on Sunday.
He switched from left to right with ease, linked up with Oscar and Willian superbly and scored one of the two goals that brought Chelsea back into contention.
Had he been a tad more composed he could have had two more, but Jose Mourinho will be very happy with the Belgian's work on the day.
ST: Roberto Soldado, Tottenham Hotspur
We mulled over the possibility of including Danny Welbeck, but the fact that he only played 45 minutes counted against him.
Roberto Soldado played a great 90 minutes against Stoke City, looking comfortable, confident and happy alongside Emmanuel Adebayor.
He worked hard, dropped in, showed a good passing range and put in some excellent crosses. His goal (penalty) was a just reward for his efforts, and his late flicked pass found Aaron Lennon for the game-sealing third.