Squarefootball's Team of the Week - Week 31
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger marked his 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners with a 6-0 drubbing by title rivals Chelsea. The lunchtime kick-off was the springboard for the second biggest goalfest in Premier League history.
The past weekend provided us with goals, goals, goals. But they weren't just your average run of the mill efforts, there were some goal of the season contenders in there. The top three - Chelsea, Liverpool and City - went crazy in front of goal, while we also had great games, controversy and red cards up and down the country.
There were a number of memorable performances on the pitch too, but who has managed to squeeze their way into Mitch Waddon's Team of the Week this time?
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (Everton)
It was a tight encounter at Goodison Park on Saturday, and had Howard not been in fine form Swansea may have come away with a point or more. Howard made a series of saves to keep Everton in front, including a strong stop from a Wilfried Bony header that seemed destined for the goal.
Centre Back: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
One criticism of Liverpool this season has been their sometimes suspect defending. Yet when you have a player like Skrtel, who is just as dominant in the opposition’s penalty box, defensive errors can be forgiven. The Slovakian gave an assured performance and grabbed himself another brace of goals in the 6-3 victory over Cardiff.
Centre Back: Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
Many questioned Carrick’s inclusion in United’s back four in their game at West Ham, but the England midfielder proved critics wrong with an impressive outing at the heart of the defence. Carrick also added a swift passing to the United back-line that has been missed in recent months, and was the catalyst for swift counter-attacking by the victors to Upton Park.
Centre Back: Liam Rosenior (Hull City)
Rosenior was the first off the mark when Nikica Jelavic missed his penalty against West Brom. Thanks to the defender the spot kick wasn’t wasted and Hull took a lead that they successfully added to. Rosenior’s importance to Hull has been evident, with the Tigers failing to win any of the nine games that the defender has missed this season.
Right Midfield: Ryan Snodgrass (Norwich City)
Norwich were the outside pick of many a football fan across the country for relegation from the Premier League, but if Snodgrass plays like this every week he will keep them up single-handedly. The winger was in inspired form against Sunderland, practically waltzed around Marcos Alonso and gave the Black-Cats defence a difficult afternoon throughout. Snodgrass opened the scoring for the Canaries and showed the magic required to ensure Norwich earned all three points.
Centre Midfield: Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
Two calmly dispatched penalties by Toure had given City a comfortable hold over Fulham, but the Ivory Coast saved his best for last when he curled a wonderful 25 yard shot into the top corner. It was a simply astounding goal from the midfielder, who controlled the entire game for City. Everything good that City threw at Fulham went through Toure, and the Blues left the Etihad with a 5-0 win.
Centre Midfield: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Eriksen netted a brace for Spurs in their come-back victory over Southampton, the first time the Dane has ever netted more than one goal in a league game. Spurs looked set for another disappointing afternoon after defensive errors left them 2-0 down, but Eriksen dragged Tottenham back into the game with his goals before providing the assist for Gylfi Sigurdsson’s injury time winner.
Left Midfield: Andre Schurrle (Chelsea)
It was a torrid game for Arsenal in their 6-0 mauling at Chelsea, and they can thank Schurrle for their abysmal opening 10 minutes. The German set Samuel Eto’o on his way for the first goal before curling home Chelsea’s second moments later. The determination and drive of Schurrle meant Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal will be one he will want to forget.
Centre Forward: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
How can you describe Wayne Rooney’s first goal? Mesmerising? Out of this world? It will go down as one of those moments which fans of both Manchester United and West Ham will tell friends “I was there”. Many will only remember the 57-yard half volley, but Rooney’s whole performance and second goal drove United to a deserved victory at the Hammers.
Striker: Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
While Suarez wasn’t in the blistering form we have become accustomed to, the Uruguayan was still capable of scoring three goals for his third hat-trick of the season. Suarez has now equalled Robbie Fowler’s record of 28 goals in a Premier League season and looks sure to smash it! Of course, Suarez can thank….
Striker: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
…strike partner Sturridge for a cool back-heeled pass to set up his second of the game. Sturridge himself has been a revelation at Liverpool and once again found himself on the score-sheet in the 6-3 win over Cardiff City. If Liverpool are destined to win the league, it will be down to the sensational partnership that Sturridge and Suarez have developed.
Game of the Week: Cardiff 3 – 6 Liverpool
Fans up and down the country were treated to goals galore in the Premier League this weekend, with 42 efforts finding the net. While one could look to entertaining 3-2 wins for Tottenham and Everton in their respective games against Southampton and Swansea, one contest stole the headlines. Liverpool have become renowned for their goal scoring this season, and once again dismantled the opposition defence with a high number of quality goals. Yet Cardiff took the lead twice against the Reds and proved to be stiff competition throughout the game, notching three to Liverpool’s six. Top draw excitement from the Welsh capital.
Goal of the Week: Wayne Rooney (West Ham v Manchester United)
As above, fans were spoiled with a fine selection of quality finishes this weekend. Alex Tettey’s wonder-volley for Norwich in their victory over Sunderland was sure to claim the headlines, while Yaya Toure of Manchester City and Gylfi Sigurdsson of Tottenham both netted superb strikes from distance. But only one man could steal the show: England’s own Wayne Rooney found the back of the net from an astonishing 57 yards after turning West Ham’s James Tomkins and hitting the bouncing ball on the half-volley. The shot left Adrian stranded and struggling while the ball bounced on the line and up into the goal. Better than Beckham? Maybe or maybe not, it is the still goal of the season so far.
Manager of the Week: Tim Sherwood (Tottenham Hotspur)
A few managers can be highly regarded after some impressive performances this weekend (sit down, Arsene, it’s not you). Mark Hughes saw his Stoke side overthrow Aston Villa in a 4-1 victory at Villa Park after going a goal behind, while Jose Mourinho must be commended for his side’s ruthless destruction of Arsenal and achieving a 6-0 win, Chelsea’s highest ever over the Gunners. But Sherwood earns the prize after inspiring his Tottenham team to recover their two goal deficit and earn a hard-fought 3-2 win over Southampton at White Hart Lane. The success shows the hunger that Sherwood demanded of his players following their 4-0 loss at Chelsea a couple of weeks back, and the former Blackburn Rovers captain can be proud of the role he played in this eventual victory.
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