Three teams hit four goals this weekend including Liverpool who strengthened their hold on fourth place. Arsenal and Man City returned to winning ways of European disappointment and Chelsea stuck late to stay top of the table. See who starred and made the PA Team of the Week, this week lining out at 4-3-3.
GK – Adrian (West Ham):
Adrian put in another good performance this week and has been one the goalkeepers of the season so far. His form has been instrumental in West Ham climbing from the relegation zone into tenth. He conceded early on but held firm for the rest of the game. That goal was the first he had conceded since January, over six hours of football passing. Southampton threw the kitchen sink at the Hammers dominating for the majority but Adrian and his defence ensured West Ham woke up on Sunday morning with three more points in the bag.
DF – Patrice Evra (Manchester United):
It has been a below par season for Evra so far but against Crystal Palace he was influential. He won a penalty in the second half which Robin vanPersie converted to ease United fans fears of an upset before floating a perfect ball across to Wayne Rooney, who hit a superb winning volley. Evra was solid at the back too, and it was good to see him back to his marauding best down the left.
DF – John Terry (Chelsea):
The John Terry rejuvenation continues under Jose Mourinho and he continued his excellent form against Everton. He kept them goalless with a few very important tackles and popped up at the death to fire home a 93rd minute (extremely contentious) winner.It may have been an own goal, but there is no doubt that it was a heartbreaker for Everton. Joy for Chelsea as they stay top of the table.
DF – John Heitinga (Fulham):
Fulham may still be at the bottom of the table and were denind three points thanks to late West Brom equaliser. However Heitinga couldn’t be faulted as he battle to ensure Fulham at least got a point. New manager Felix Magath will take heart from the spirited performance and from the display from Heitinga scrapping to get out of the drop zone. It’s still possible as they are only three points away from safety after picking up a point.
DF – Marc Wilson (Stoke):
Playing at centre half against Man City is a tough task but Wilson looked very comfortable in the middle. With help from Ryan Shawcross, he kept the Man City goal machine quite for 70 minutes and even afterward made sure Man City worked hard to hold onto the 1-0 win. We may have him at right back for the PA Team but from an Irish perspective, Martin O’ Neill will be pleased to have Wilson as an option at centre back.
MF – Yaya Toure (Manchester City):
Toure gets the nod in midfield after carrying his side over the line against Stoke. For a team who are usually so fluid and have such little problem scoring they seemed to be suffering from a European hangover this weekend. Toure made sure they would not drop anymore points as with the title race so close and he popped up in the 70th to get on the end of an Aleksandar Kolarov cross and tie up the three points.
MF – Jordan Henderson:
Henderson shone once again in midfield for Liverpool, showing he can fulfil his potential shown over the last few years. He was instrumental against Swansea firing in two goals including a screamer to the top corner and the winner. He never tired from the first minute to last and would be an excellent option for England if he travels to Rio.
MF – Robert Snodgrass (Norwich City):
There are a few players who could have taken the last midfield spot, with Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan both shining for West Ham, but the importance of Snodgrass’s performance against Tottenham gives him the nod. He looked dangerous throughout and he netted the only goal of the game giving Norwich a vital win and giving Chris Houghton some valuable breathing space.
FW – Nikica Jelavic (Hull City):
Hull’s new strike force continues to shine and they showed it against Cardiff. A brace from Jelavic in the 4-0 win, he first set up by strike partner Shane Long. The Croatian hitman seems to have put his long goal drought well behind him to make it three goals for Hull in six games.
FW – Olivier Giroud (Arsenal):
The Frenchman put his personal woes aside as he marked his return to Arsenal’s starting line up with two goals. His first half brace put Arsenal in complete control and he was involved in a wonderful team goal for the Gunners third, supplying a deft flick for Tomas Rosicky to neatly chip over Vito Mannone in the Sunderland goal. A good performance from Giroud.
FW – Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool):
The man simply cannot stop scoring. He added to Henderson’s brace to edge out Swansea in the 4-3 thriller to make it 21 for the season. Sturridge also assisted Henderson’s excellent opener and would have been man of the match had it not been for his countryman’s performance. Expect Sturridge to make waves in Rio if he keeps up his current form.
Pundit Arena, Steve Neville.
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