A weekend of shocks and drops as Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool all dropped points and Man City are left on course for a title. At the other end, Cardiff and Fulham had their faith sealed as they are left facing life in the Championship. See who starred in the PA Team of the Week.
GK – Joe Hart:
Hart kept Man City in the driving seat at numerous times against Everton, including an outstanding finger-tip save from Steven Naismith. Had it not been for Hart’s heroics it may have been a very different score line.
DF – Michael Turner:
Not many people thought Norwich would be able to keep Chelsea at bay for 90 minutes. But that is exactly what they did as they earned an excellent 0-0 draw. Turner was crucial to that as he put in a superb performance at the heart of the Canaries defence. A man of the match performance, could this point be vital come next weekend?
DF – Fabricio Coloccini:
Another centre half putting in a rock solid performance. Newcastle finally returned to winning ways and in turn confirmed Cardiff’s relegation. The 3-0 win will ease some of the pressure on Alan Pardew and he will be grateful for Coloccini’s performance. He ensured Cardiff didn’t have a sniff all afternoon, and laid the foundation for Newcastle to claim three points.
DF – Wes Brown:
Once a starring Man United man, now a starring Sunderland man, helping them beat his former club. Both of Sunderland’s ex United stars, Brown and O’ Shea were excellent but Brown get the nid in this week’s team. Brown was a rock at the heart of the Black Cats defence ensuring United had a rather torrid time up front and Sunderland are now only one point away from safety.
DF – Luke Shaw:
In what was really a nothing game between Southampton and Swansea with teams playing for little more than pride, Luke Shaw put in a man of the match performance. Always assured in defence and he attacked well. The big question is will he, and his captain Adam Lallana, still be playing at St Mary’s next season.
MF – Ross Barkley:
He may not have finished on the winning side, but the youngster put in an excellent performance against Man City. He was up against a star studded opposition in Man City’s midfield but he really looked at home. His opening goal was a superb effort and this performance, along with many others this season show why he simple has to go to the World Cup. An excellent all round performance.
MF – Sebastian Larsson:
Not many people would have said Sunderland would be leaving Old Trafford with three points on Saturday morning. But they did just that with Larsson getting the all-important goal in the 1-0 win. Scoring that goal gives him they nod although Conor Wickham also played an important part. For Man United, it shows the root of their problems went much deeper than David Moyes. However, Gus Poyet’s men have secured another vital three points. Can they pull off a great escape?
MF – Oussama Assaidi:
Stoke ran riot against a woeful Fulham, winning 4-1. The loss condemns Fulham to the Championship, and Assaidi gave them the run around for 90 minutes. He was a constant thorn in Fulham’s side and he scored Stoke’s third goal, which put the game far beyond any doubt.
FW – Edin Dzeko:
His two goals helped sink a defiant Everton in the thrilling 3-2 clash. Neither goal was especially spectacular, but they were clinical, something the Bosnian has been accused of not being in the past. Man City now look set to claim the title after Liverpool let their 3-0 lead slip against Crystal Palace.
FW – Olivier Giroud:
Giroud has rarely gotten the praise he deserves this season. He leads the Arsenal line and works tirelessly in doing so. He scored the only goal of the game against West Brom to give Arsenal three points. His 22 goals this season in all competitions have helped Arsenal ensure Champion League football for another season as they prepare for an FA Cup final.
FW –Dwight Gayle:
In all the weeks of writing this column, Gayle is the first player to only play for 25 minutes and make the PA Team. He is sure to be a hate figure around Anfield, but he has truly won the hearts of Palace fans. With Liverpool coasting three goals clear, Palace pulled one back and in a seven minute double, Gayle’s brace earned Palace an astonishing draw. A superb performance from the bench.
Steven Neville, Pundit Arena.