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Monday, 05 March 2012

Squarefootball's Team of the Week and Weekend Wonders: Week 27

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Well well well, it's been another interesting weekend in the Barclay's Premier League. There's been excitement and controversy not just on the pitch, but also in the boardrooms and manager offices. And I am sure we will get to the big stories in the game later on.

However, beyond the talking points, we had a full compliment of Premier League teams kicking a ball around a field this weekend, meaning we have 220 players to select a best XI out of. When you say it like that, it sounds harder than it is...

Sqf team of week 27

Goalkeeper: Paul Robinson (Blackburn Rovers)

A decent performance from the former England number one ensured that Blackburn were able to draw at home to Aston Villa. Robinson was kept busy in the first half by low shots from Agbonlahor and Ireland, meaning a late Rovers goal gave them a valuable point.

Centre Back: Robert Huth (Stoke City)

Huth gave an assured performance for Stoke City against Norwich this week, ensuring the Potters got a hard earned 1-0 victory. The German kept the back four strong and organised to make sure the Canaries' threat did not get the better of Stoke.

Centre Back: Gareth McAuley (West Brom)

A very good game on the whole for West Brom, with McAuley being one of three Baggies in our Team of the Week. The Northern Ireland defender scored the only goal against Chelsea this weekend to give his side a famous 1-0 victory over the Blues.

Centre Back: Liam Ridgewell (West Brom)

Here's number two. The former Birmingham defender was also very strong and solid against Chelsea, working hard to stop the threat of Daniel Sturridge and Didier Drogba. Ridgewell is looking a decent signing by Roy Hodgson.

Right Midfield: Clint Dempsey (Fulham)

Dempsey must be an outside contender for player of the season. The American has been in outstanding form for Fulham this season and it wasn't any different in the demolition of Wolves. The highest scoring American in Premier League history bagged himself another two goals in the 5-0 win.

Centre Midfield: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)

Another contender for the best January signing, Sigurdsson scored two magnificant goals against Wigan this past weekend. The former Reading midfielder has been an instant hit with the Swans' fans and played a brilliant game against the latics.

Centre Midfield: Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Perhaps City's most important player, there's no denying that Mancini's side missed Yaya while he was away at the Africa Cup of Nations. Toure dictated the pace of play and pulled the strings for his team as they easily walked to a 2-0 victory over Bolton.

Centre Midfield: Youssouf Mulumbu (West Brom)

And here's the hat-trick of Baggie beasts. Mulumbu was strong in the midfield, stopping the creative play by Chelsea and beginning the offensive moves well. Mulumbu bossed the centre of the park and helped to get his side a deserved victory.

Left Midfield: Ashley Young (Manchester United)

Two amazing goals from Ashley Young saw United win 3-1 at Tottenham this weekend. Such goals define class and in a game which Tottenham bossed the majority of play Young was on hand to ensure the reigning champions left White Hart Lane with all three points.

Centre Forward: Robin Van Perise (Arsenal)

Once again, we cannot have a team of the week without the Flying Dutchman. Robin Van Persie has now scored 31 goals this season, which is simply incredible. His two finishes against Liverpool saw Arsenal leave Anfield with the win. However, Van Persie wasn't the top striker this weekend . . .

Centre Forward: Pavel Pogrebnyak (Fulham)

RVP was overshadowed by wonder signing Pogrebnyak. The striker on loan at Fulham scored a wonderful hat-trick to take his talley up to five goals in three games for the Cottagers. Even more outstanding is that Pogrebnyak has scored with every shot on target he has had. A brilliant signing by Martin Jol.

Weekend Wonders

 Manager of the Weekend: Martin Jol (Fulham)

Jol's Fulham side destroyed Wolves 5-0, highlighting the progress the Cottagers have made under the former Tottenham manager. This is not the first time Fulham have run away with a game this season and the free flowing football Jol has them playing is mesmerising at times. Mention must also go to Roy Hodgson for leading his side to a brilliant victory over Chelsea.

Goal of the weekend: Robin Van Persie (Arsenal v Liverpool)

Another game, another goal, it could only be RVP. I'm getting bored of telling you how good this guy is, and how much he means to Arsenal, but his sensational volley to win the game at Anfield was fantastic. Special mention must also go to Ashley Young for his two goals against Tottenham.

Controversy of the Week: Adebayor's disallowed goal (Tottenham)

The game was all square when Saha's shot struck Adebayor in the chest. The Togo striker then turned the ball into the net. However, the referee ruled the goal out for handball. Replays showed that the ball had come off Adebayor's chest and caught him on the arm. Yet arguements suggest that, if a defender did this in the box, it would not be given as handball. A harsh decision nonetheless.

Mitch's Moment: Andre Villas-Boas axed

I'm struggling to see the long-term benefits of sacking AVB. It was agreed from the start that Villas-Boas was in it for the long run, to rebuild Chelsea and turn them back into a force in the Premier League. One cannot blame just the manager for Chelsea's poor form, especially since it was noticable last season that the Blues were not the same side they once were. Players such as Lampard, Terry, Drogba and Cole are all now the wrong side of 30 and are not performing at the level they once were. Yet they still are considered the power players at Chelsea and have too much influence with the owner. The fact he listens is even more disturbing. Do these professionals think they will still be starting for Chelsea next season, or the season after?

The statistics are simple. Chelsea have had five managers since Mourinho left in 2007 (six if you count the one game Ray Wilkins had in February 2009), yet the players have largely remained the same. It's not the management that needs changing, it's the players. The attitude they have is appalling and I hope that the next manager has the manhood to assert his authority over Chelsea's crybabies.

Do you agree with our team of the week? How about the weekend wonders? What about AVB being shown the door? Whatever your views, feel free to get involved in the debate.

Follow Mitch on Twitter: @MitchWaddon

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