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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Team of the Week and Weekend Wonders: Week eight

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Welcome back, Premier League! After a thoroughly entertaining international break we were treated to even more spectacular football this past weekend, with a total of 32 goals being scored across the 10 fixtures. And once again I am on hand to discuss the controversies, the madness, and the sheer brilliance that we base our lives around on Saturdays and Sundays.

With all 20 teams in action, we have a full house to select our Team of the Week and the Weekend Wonders from, so let’s get on with the show!

Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)

De Gea seems to get better each week for United. His fine display against Liverpool ensured the Red Devils left Anfield with a point, with crucial saves against Dirk Kuyt and Jordan Henderson keeping United in the game.

Right Back: Micah Richards (Manchester City)

Richards has forced his way back into Mancini’s plans this season and has nailed down the right back position. His consistent performance keeps him in the squad and his strong defensive and offensive outing against Aston Villa looks certain to keep him there.

Centre Back: Chris Samba (Blackburn Rovers)

Through all of Blackburn’s troubles this season, Chris Samba has been strong and determined throughout. His goal against QPR this weekend ensured that Rovers picked up a point, but his leadership and strength could be the key factor in keeping Blackburn in the Premier League.

Centre Back: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

Another assured outing from the City captain. His powerful header put the game out of Villa’s reach this past weekend and his control across the backline meant that City’s defence had minimal to do. The Belgium international has come very far in the space of two years.

Left Back: Ashley Cole (Chelsea)

I never fail to be amazed by Ashley Cole. His much publicised issues off the pitch have not stopped the England international from constantly being fantastic on it. His surging runs forward had Everton on the back foot for the entire game and will have furthered the already accepted theory that Cole is the best left back in the world.

Right Midfield: Adam Johnson (Manchester City)

When Johnson plays, Johnson delivers. He had a hand to play in all good City moves this past weekend, including all four goals the home team put past Villa. He has taken each chance Mancini has given him and must be on the fringe of an England place.

Centre Midfield: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Welcome back Steven Gerrard. The Premier League has missed you these past seven months! The Liverpool captain marked his return to the big stage with a maestro performance against Manchester United, scoring a brilliant free-kick to give his side the lead.

Centre Midfield: James Milner (Manchester City)

Another City player in our team of the week. Milner had a fantastic game for City against his former employers Villa, capping it by starting and finishing a wonderful move to ensure City left the Eithad stadium with all three points.

Left Midfield: Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City)

Pilkington definitely showed he’s shaken off those Old Trafford blues with two goals for Norwich this week. His contribution allowed City to beat Swansea 3-1 and the performance highlighted just how far Pilkington has come in the last 18 months.

Centre Forward: Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion)

A classy performance from Long. Every ball over the top, Long chased it down. Every slight chance, or mislaid pass, Long was there to cause problems for Wolves. His effort and determination has been nothing short of outstanding this season as he showed the passion and fight that Roy Hodgson will have installed in the entire team. It’s a shame the striker couldn’t cap a fine outing with a goal.

Centre Forward: Robin Van Persie (Arsenal FC)

What a brilliant game from Arsenal’s captain. RVP scored within 27 seconds to give his side the lead and the striker certainly led from the front as he scored a wonderful curling free-kick to give the Gunners the win. Games like this show why Van Persie might drag Arsenal over the finishing line.0

The Weekend Wonders

Manager of the Weekend: Owen Coyle (Bolton Wanderers)

Plaudits are given to Owen Coyle this week. His side have been on a bad run, having lost every game since the opening day of the season. While it’s fair to say that these fixtures have been against tough opponents, that takes nothing away from the effort and grit Coyle reinstalled into Wanderers for the game against Wigan. It was a deserved win for the boys from the Reebok and could be the one to get their season back on track. A special mention must also go to Roberto Mancini for masterminding the 4-1 demolition of Aston Villa and to Alan Pardew of Newcastle for their fantastic starts to the season.

Goal of the Weekend: The free-kicks at the Emirates

I simply cannot separate these two wonderful goals. I felt honoured to witness Sebastian Larsson’s simply stunning free-kick from 25 yards. The way the ball curled into the top corner was simply mesmerising, only for Robin Van Persie to step up with 10 minutes left and do exactly the same. Once again, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do as the ball moved into the top corner. Both were just amazing, although I must also mention Mario Balotelli’s overhead kick against Villa, James Milner’s powerful finish against . . . Villa, and Shola Ameobi’s strong strike from a tight angle against Tottenham.

Howler of the Weekend: Lee Cattermole’s miss against Arsenal

Okay, I’m willing to admit that Wojciech Szczęsny made a brilliant save from the header, but that is simply no excuse for Cattermole to miss from two yards out with a header. I would’ve scored it! Many will oppose me on this but Premier League players should be able to put the ball in the back of the net from that distance.

Controversy of the Weekend: Rio Ferdinand’s challenge on Charlie Adam

A lot of dispute around this one and whether Adam was morally right to hit the floor after the tackle by Ferdinand. There was definitely contact between the United defender and the Liverpool midfielder and I’m in no doubt that there wouldn’t be this much discussion about it if the resulting free-kick hadn’t have been scored, but was there enough of a challenge to warrant the foul?

We all know Rio Ferdinand’s opinions on this and his very public Twitter campaign, stay on your feet, has gained much publicity. But the discussion regarding the amount of contact necessary to send a player to the ground is one that will, in no doubt, continue for the remainder of the season.

Mitch’s moment: The return of Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard’s comeback for Liverpool has been greeted with cheers from both Liverpool and England fans up and down the country. Indeed, I think we all felt good when we saw the Liverpool captain’s name on the team sheet for the game against United. He is one of those players that everyone seems to like. His goal will have inspired confidence in his ability from everyone and it seems inevitable that he will be a part of the Euro 2012 team next summer. Welcome back, Mr Gerrard.

Do you agree with what Mitch has decided this week? No? Then why not submit your views and alternatives. We'd love to hear from you and know your opinions!

Remember Mitch will be back next Monday with his Team of the Week and Weekend Wonders, only at

Related Articles:

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Republic of Ireland: 10 handy facts on Euro 2012 play-off rivals Estonia

The View From Outside the Premier League: Leicester City suffer TV blues again. Hugh Larkin looks at the major events in the Football League


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Mitch Waddon



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