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We hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas and we’re sure you’you’ve all enjoyed the traditional St Stephen’s Day fixtures. There were goals and more than a few red cards this week as Arsenal reclaimed top spot. This week’s PA Team of the Week line out in a 4-4-2 formation.


GK –Vito Mannone:

The Sunderland keeper kept his third straight clean sheet in the Premier League and by keeping Everton at bay this may be his most important clean sheet yet. The Black Cats picked up a vital three points in the win at Goodison Park and Mannone’s inspired performance means Poyet’s men are only one point off West Ham in 19th.


DF – Kyle Walker:

The young English full back is maturing into a fine player as he was one of the best players on the park. He’s marauding up the line won his team the free kick which Erikson scored from. He is one the best attacking minded full backs in the league and looks a certainty to start for England in Rio.


DF – Jonas Olssen:

Olsson was definition of defiance against Spurs at White Hart Lane. He felt the full force of a Sigurdsson shot as he caught it square on the face and continued to lead the West Brom defence to earn a well-deserved point. Olsson was strong throughout, and bagged himself the equaliser for his efforts.


DF – Per Mertesacker:

Arsenal finally has a strong centre half to keep the Gunners defence in check. After a shaky start to his Arsenal career he is having an excellent season so far. Had another good display against West Ham and in his current form is one of the best centre backs in the league.


DF – Vincent Kompany:

Scored Man City’s first goal against Liverpool and was the heart of his team today, as he so often is. It was clear City and even more so, Joe Hart, missed him while he was injured, the England keeper’s loss of form seemed to coincide with Kompany’s injury. The centre back has returned and City have jumped to second with Kompany was instrumental. Even more impressive, he kept Luis Suarez quiet.


MF – Hatem Ben Arfa:

Stoke were incredible hard done by having Glen Whelan and Marc Wilson sent off and manager Mark Hughes sent to the stands after going one-nil up and looking in control. A second half of 11 against nine left Newcastle to coast to a 5-1 win with Ben Arfa dominating. He did everything but score, creating two goals, winning a penalty, and going on two mazy runs that resulted in shots bouncing off the woodwork. A fine display from the Frenchman.


MF – Scott Parker:

Fulham, much like Parker, have not been enjoying a good season however they picked up a vital three points today. The midfielder showed glimpses of the old Parker and his 20 yard goal three minutes from time ensured victory over Norwich. The win wasn’t enough to bring them out of the relegation zone  but it puts only one point between them and the three teams ahead.


MF – Theo Walcott:

Arsenal put the disappointment of falling off top spot for Christmas behind them, taking all their frustration out on West Ham. After falling behind in the second half, Theo Walcott stepped up to put the Gunners back to winning ways with two goals in three minutes. His first a cool finish under the keeper and for his second he reacted quickest after Podolski’s deflected cross.


MF – Jay Rodriguez:

Southampton ran riot in the first half against Cardiff, with Lambert, Lallana and Rodriguez cutting up the Cardiff defence time and time again. Jay Rodriguez (who we’re sticking on the wing) benefited most tapping in Lallana’s cross before scoring again and rounding off the half by setting up Lambert. Criticised last season for his lack of goals and effort, he is flourishing this year under Pochettino.


FW – Wayne Rooney:

David Moyes seems to have turned a corner from his troubled start at Old Trafford and a lot the team’s current form is down to Wayne Rooney. The forward is having one of his best seasons in years and his performance against Hull was another fine outing. He set up Smalling to pull one back and scored a breath-taking volley to equalise and score his 150th Premier League goal for the club.


FW – Álvaro Negredo

He certainly wasn’t the best striker in the EPL today but his goal put his side second as Man City beat Liverpool and that is enough to get him in the team. He went through one-on-one with Mignolet and his effort was fluffed into the back of the net. The Spaniard’s goal was the vital one to down Liverpool, but the performances from the likes of Fernandinho, Silva and Toure should not be forgotten.

Pundit Arena, Steve Neville.



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