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Tuesday, 07 February 2012

Squarefootball's Team of the Week and Weekend Wonders - Week 24

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Manchester City kept their title hopes on track with a cool win over Fulham, while Arsenal cruised to three points against a battered and bruised Blackburn, but it was Manchester United’s heroic comeback at Chelsea which was the stand out game of the weekend.

Yes it was another action-packed weekend in the Barclays Premier League with QPR’s Bobby Zamora and Newcastle’s Papiss Demba Cisse scoring on their debuts, West Brom losing at home again and Wolves bouncing back against the Hoops. But who has made it into our Team of the Week?

Goalkeeper – Newcastle’s Tim Krul

The Dutchman has been pivotal to Newcastle’s success this season. His saves are as crucial as Demba Ba’s goals and the former Den Haag shotstopper needed to be on form as Aston Villa pressed for an equaliser on Sunday. Krul made three excellent stops to deny Villa a share of the spoils.

Defender – Neil Taylor (Swansea City)

The 22-year-old defender didn’t let his head drop when West Brom went 1-0 up. He held his head up high, bombed down the wing and supplied Glyfi Sigurdsson with the ball to slot home. Full of energy, the young Welshman was a rock at the back and a threat going forward.

Defender – Roger Johnson (Wolves)

The former Birmingham defender has not had an easy ride at Molineux but he played a huge part in Wolves’ win over QPR this weekend. His reckless tackle of Djbril Cisse saw the Hoops new signing lose his head and get sent off. Johnson was always in position to clear the danger and keep the Hoops at bay.

Defender – Michael Turner (Sunderland)

The former Hull ace was on top form at the Britannia and he had to be as Stoke bombarded the penalty box with high balls. Turner, making only his second start under O’Neill, recorded his second clean sheet. If Sunderland continue their fine form under O’Neill then who knows what they may achieve this season.

Left wing – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

The young Arsenal starlet scored twice against Blackburn but his all-round game was excellent. The former Southampton star is not afraid to commit defenders and has bags of skill and pace. He is one of the most exciting youngsters in the game and he could well be heading to the Euros with England at this rate. Arshavin could learn a thing or two from this boy.

Central midfield – Scott Parker (Spurs)

The campaign to make Parker England captain at Euro 2012 is gathering momentum and the former Hammer put in another top display at Anfield. He broke up play, distributed simple balls and always knew what was going on around him. Parker is the heartbeat of this Spurs side.

Central midfield –Glyfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)

The Icelandic ace enjoyed an eventful game at The Hawthorns, clearing Mulumbu’s first-half header off the line, scoring the Swans’ equaliser and setting up Danny Graham to score the winner. The former Reading star certainly earned his wages this week.

Right midfield – Juan Mata (Chelsea)

The Spaniard put in a great shift against the champions, scoring a sublime volley straight after the restart and creating the third with his pin-point free-kick to Luiz. Mata almost won it right at the end but his goalbound free-kick was clawed away by the sprawling David De Gea.

Striker – Sergio Aguero (Man City)

The little Argentine opened the scoring from the spot and set up Edin Dzeko for City’s third, but Aguero was a threat all game. His low centre of gravity and quick feet make him a handful for any defence. Unfortunately for Fulham, he was too tricky for them to cope with.

Striker –Robin Van Persie (Arsenal)

Another Dutchman makes our Team of the Week and it’s hard to keep him out of it to be honest. Arsenal’s main man hit another hat-trick to take his tally of goals this season to 28 and knock fellow countryman Dennis Bergkamp out of the Gunners’ top 10 striking legends. If he decides to pledge his loyalty to the Gunners, what are the chances he’ll surpass Thierry Henry’s record?

Striker –Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

The England international scored two high pressure penalties from the spot against Chelsea to spearhead a remarkable comeback. You can argue about the warrants of the penalty awards, but you can’t argue with the way he dispatched them – sending Petr Cech the wrong way both times. His all-round work rate, effort and commitment were a joy to watch.


Weekend Wonders

Manager of the week: Sir Alex Ferguson

Three-nil down at Chelsea, Manchester United’s title hopes were fading fast, but we should all know by now never to write off one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides. The introduction of Scholes alongside Giggs in midfield gave United the edge in terms of experience in the heart of the pitch. Chelsea should have parked the bus at 3-0, but AVB just couldn’t do it as United pushed forward for a share of the spoils. Fergie’s spirit, drive and determination ensured his side sealed a point, and that could be crucial come the end of the season.

Goal of the week: Cisse (Newcastle)

Newcastle have a new number nine to worship and what a start for the Senegalese striker. The ball came to him and it looked as though he was a bit off balance but his strike rocketed into the top corner, beating Shay Given all ends up. Juan Mata’s volley for Chelsea was a close second.

Howler of the week: Tim Howard (Everton)

A few weeks ago Howard scored from his own area, this week he was beaten by the pitch at the DW Stadium. The cross from Beausejour looked innocuous but it took a cruel deflection from Phil Neville but Howard looked to be in control and came out to collect the ball. However it hit an almighty divot, causing it to backspin, taking it out of Howard’s way and into the back of the net. The American looked pretty silly. Fortunately for him, Victor Anichebe rescued a point for the blues.  

Controversy of the week: Robert Huth and Djbril Cisse’s red cards

Refereeing decisions took the headlines again this weekend with Stoke City boss Tony Pulis fuming with the dismissal of Robert Huth and Djbril Cisse’s red card against Wolves looking soft. At Britannia the snow was falling heavily and there were fears over the game being finished. Pulis was probably praying for the game to be axed after Huth’s red card. The big German slid in, but with no studs showing, on Sunderland’s David Meyler, but the Black Cat rolled around far too much for Pulis’s liking. The referee, Martin Atkinson, brandished the red card and changed the game.

Given today’s climate you can see why Atkinson sent him off but Huth clearly pulled out of the tackle and I’m sure Stoke will win their appeal. It doesn’t alter their points tally though.

Meanwhile at Loftus Road, QPR were reduced to 10 men after Cisse took a hold of Roger Johnson’s throat following a late challenge by the Wolves man. Again in today’s climate you can understand the referee’s decision – you can’t raise your hands nowadays – but Cisse has suffered some horrific injuries in his career. He was furious with Johnson’s challenge, quite rightly too. However, the referee, Mark Clattenburg, instantly went to his pocket when a yellow and a stern talking too would have sufficed.

Moment of the week: United’s comeback at Stamford Bridge

You just knew as soon as Rooney dispatched his first penalty that the comeback was on against Chelsea. The Red Devils didn’t disappoint either as Javier Hernandez popped up with the equaliser with five minutes to go. The sheer joy on the Mexican’s face was a sight to behold. But to top it all off, this game sealed me a victory at the bookies thanks to their Goals, Goals, Goals bet. Newcastle and Villa, Hearts and St Johnstone and Chelsea v Manchester United netted me £50 from a £10 bet. Not bad for a Sunday!

Do you agree with our Team of the Week? We'd love to hear from you. - Football News & Transfers

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Colin Illingworth



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