Brian Darcy discusses the top five players that stood out during Gameweek 23 in the Premier League.
5. Manchester City V Tottenham Hotspur
Starman – Vincent Kompany Manchester City.
The Manchester City machine continued their remarkable goal scoring record last night against a reinvigorated Tottenham side under Tim Sherwood. Based on reason, it would not be criminal to mistake White Hart Lane for Blue last night. City’s latest instalment of their own soap opera of goal scoring starred their most influential leader, Vincent Kompany. Despite Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo giving defenders an outlandish bout of terror, Kompany is the real fulcrum of City’s hopes of silverware this season. The Belgian was superb all night, and got himself on the score sheet also. His performances for City this season have been exceptional. The threat posed by the in form Emmanuel Adeybyor for Spurs failed to materialise. Kompany was at the heart of City’s tackling, a trait that allowed City to build their attack, largely from Kompany’s interceptions. Strong, powerful and with the ability to sense danger, Kompany, in a team of superstars is one of the best.
4. Aston Villa V West Bromwich Albion
Starman – Fabien Delph Aston Villa
Aston Villa recovered form a disastrous start last nght against a West Brom side with new manager Pepe Mel’s first away game in the league. After ten minutes Villa were two goals down after Chris Brunt’s fantastic strike and a Fabien Delph own goal. Slated last year for the tender age of Paul Lambert’s side, it appears one of the young cubs, Fabien Delph is maturing adequately well to life in Villa’s midfield. Despite his own goal on nine minuets, Delph’s thunderbolt on thirty seven minuets put Villa into the lead in a seven goal thriller. Delph’s gangly runs with the ball from midfield have given Lambert’s side a different attacking dimension along with Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor. Delph’s willingness to tackle aided Villa’s 86% success in tackles won against West Brom. An important player for the midlands side for the rest of the season.
3. Liverpool V Everton
Starman – Daniel Sturridge Liverpool
Anfield hosted its very own version of demolition derby last night. Liverpool remain fourth place in the league table, largely due to Daniel Sturridge’s two goals in three minuets in Liverpool’s 4-0 win at home to Everton. This season Sturridge has played eighteen games scoring fourteen times. The SAS alarm bells have been ringing for some time now with Luis Suarez, but it was Sturridge’s second goal, a intuitive lob over Tim Howard that had Kop tongue’s wagging. The awareness for his second goal was sublime, though more impressive was the weight of the flick to take the ball over Howard’s head, a deft touch that required maximum care. It appears as though the former Chelsea man is finally taking the step to fulfil his potential at Anfield after a stagnant time in London. Roy Hodgson will be keeping his fingers crossed his form only gets better ahead of the World Cup.
2. Manchester United V Cardiff City
Starman- Juan Mata Manchester United
Over the past number of months David Moyes’s must have felt like the wall of Old Trafford were crumbling around him. Walking from the tunnel under the hallowed Stretford End, Moyes looked an uncomfortable figure as the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson glared from the padded seating of the director’s box. The signing of Juan Mata has injected new life into United, and optimism. On Tuesday, Mata made his debut against Cardiff after a £37m move from Chelsea. The Spaniard was at the heart of United’s attacking play, 62 touches, more than any player on the pitch, Mata sprayed passes right and left to Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, and was instrumental in the opening goal for the returning Robin Van Persie. A massive coup for United, his creativity and ability to bring others into play will give the Reds a much needed dynamic midfielder, something they have been lacking so dearly.
1. Sunderland V Stoke City
Starman – Vito Mannone Sunderland
After over eight years in the wilderness at Arsenal, Vito Mannone is rapidly becoming one of the best young keeper’s around. His excellent save from Ryan Shawcross in last night’s 1-0 win over Stoke at home capped off a fantastic period for the Italian. His penalty shootout saves at Old Trafford in the Capitol One Cup has many people, rightly so, voicing their praise for the young man. Mannone’s performances have been crucial to Sunderland’s hopes of avoiding relegation. His shot stopping ability is excellent, the leadership and direction he gives to his back four shows maturity beyond his years. A mainstay for Sunderland if they are to stay up.
Pundit Arena, Brian Darcy.
Featured Image By By Jon Candy from Cardiff, Wales (DSC06340) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.