Monday, February 22, 2010

EPL Team of the Week: Everton Stuffs United and Roman Conquers the Latics

Week 27 of the English Premier League season was proof that the title race, or any other race for that matter, are anything but foregone conclusions. A Landon Donovan-inspired Everton took Manchester United apart, while Manchester City and Liverpool played out one of the worst games this season, and Chelsea won their first away match for what seemed like an age.
Another week over as we move closer to the zenith of this season, and there were more twists and turns than a Curly Wurly, which is a very nice choclate bar I might add...

Goalkeeper: There were not too many standout performances this week, but the manner in which Petr Cech managed to keep his concentration and pull off a couple of vital saves with the score at 1-0 after totally dominating the Wolves was highly impressive. The giant Czech will need to keep that kind of form up if the Pensioners are to maintain their challenge.
Defence: John Terry made his return to the Chelsea lineup after missing last weekend's FA Cup win due to "compassionate leave." His return, as well as his return to form was one of the reasons for the Blues extending their lead at the top to four points. The captain led by example and made two vital clearances of the line and put in another excellent performance.
One of the big surprises of the weekend was Spurs actually winning and keeping a clean sheet. It was only the second time in 2010 that the Lilywhites managed to take all three points, which is really saying something about the standard of the league when you consider they are currently fourth.
For them, Gareth Bale put in another solid performance. His infamous record of Spurs having never won a match in which he played ended last month, and a couple of impressive FA Cup appearances later and the Welsh youngster is starting to look something like the player that Tottenham thought they had signed in the first place.
Gael Givet had one of those games for Blackburn on Sunday. Everything went as well as it could for the Frenchman. A goal, an assist, and more importantly, a clean sheet. The ex-Monaco and Marseille man has been one of Rovers best players since joining last January.
Midfield: There were so many good midfield performances this week that it is hard to know exactly who to pick, hence the decision to go with five men.
Aston Villa were superb going forward against Burnley but left a lot to be desired at the back with a somewhat sloppy performance. For their part, Stewart Downing and James Milnerdid their World Cup hopes no harm at all.
Milner is guaranteed a seat on the plane. His improvement since he was moved into the centre has been considerable, and now Martin O'Neill is threatening to do the same with Downing. Between the duo, they contributed two goals and three assists.
One of the biggest shocks of the week was an in-form Everton beating Manchester United comprehensively. You could get the Toffees at 4/1 in some bookmakers prior to the match; however, come the end of the 90 minutes, only one team deserved the points.
Everton's dominance began in midfield and spread throughout all other areas of the pitch, andLandon Donovan personified all that was good about his team.
Sunderland travelled to the Emirates in the feint hope of doing the double over the North London side.
It wasn't the greatest of performances by the Gunners, but again, Cesc Fabregas was the difference between a draw and full points. The little Catalan genius has been phenomenal this year and put in yet another captains performance, securing the points with a 90th minute penalty.
While West Ham may have struggled this season, they have had a number of players who have been impressive individually. One of those has been Julian Faubert , and he produced his best game of the season in the 3-0 destruction of Hull City. A goal, an assist, an all-round performance, and an easy win; Faubert had a great day.
Forwards: Didier Drogba was the star of the show as Chelsea beat Wolves 2-0. A two goal haul from the Ivorian was just reward for yet another match-winning performance.
His strike partner for this team of the week is none other than Roman Pavlyuchenko . Although the Russian was only on the pitch for 18 minutes against Wigan, he was simply brilliant during that short time.
The week had started horribly for him after Harry Redknapp vetoed an £11 million bid from Spartak Moscow for the striker. It was the strangest of decisions from a manager who seems to have done everything possible to force Pavlyuchenko into leaving.
His two goals may have given his team all three points, but it most definitely left egg on the face of his manager.
Manager of the Week: There can be only one: David Moyes . The Scot put one over the most famous of Scots, and maybe there could be a sense of master and apprentice about the duo.