Team of the Week – Stoke shine whilst Arsenal, Liverpool & Chelsea men impress
Benjamin Wills names his team of the week as Harry Kane strengthens his cause to be included in the next England squad. Mesut Ozil puts in a man of the match display in Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Aston Villa and Jonathan Walters scores a perfect hat-trick to stake a place upfront in the team of the week.
GK: Tim Krul (Newcastle United)
A 3-0 Newcastle win in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off suggests a comfortable victory, but that flatters to deceive, with the Holland goalkeeper putting in one hell of a shift.
Krul had eight Hull shots on target to deal with – all of which he did so excellently – to earn John Carver victory in his first game as permanent boss of the Magpies.
RB: Seamus Coleman (Everton)
Everton’s eight-match winless run in all competitions finally came to an end as they also earned their first league clean sheet since the beginning of November against Crystal Palace.
Coleman’s contribution to that was a substantial one: he was brilliant at the back despite a nasty clash of heads with Marouane Chamakh, who was forced off injured. Everton, however, might be heading into a better run of form.
CB: Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Eyebrows were raised when Zouma was selected ahead of Gary Cahill for this fixture, despite the Frenchman’s impressive display against Liverpool in midweek. However, the former Saint-Etienne defender showed maturity well beyond his years in this ‘title clash’.
He closed down crosses confidently, timed a crucial challenge on Sergio Aguero to perfection, and was a general nuisance to the Manchester City frontline as he continued to impress.
CB: Phil Jagielka (Everton)
While Coleman kept the Palace wingers quiet, Jagielka did the job excellently in the centre of defence by limiting Yaya Sanogo, Chamakh and Dwight Gayle to only a few chances.
The biggest scare that the Toffees faced at Selhurst Park was an effort from Gayle – headed off the line by Jagielka just minutes after Everton’s opener. It was an important intervention to ensure Everton weren’t pegged back moments after they had taken the lead.
LB: Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur)
For a defender who has been subject to all sorts of stick from Spurs’ supporters, it must have felt like redemption in proving a point to many.
He was solid throughout and made a key challenge late on to deny a certain West Brom goal, keeping a clean sheet and securing back-to-back league wins ahead of Saturday’s North London derby.
CDM: Daley Blind (Manchester United)
Pundits have waxed lyrical over Michael Carrick in recent weeks, but Dutch dynamo Daley Blind has made a decent start in showing what he brings to the modern Manchester United after his return from injury.
His assist for Robin van Persie’s opener against Leicester and role in United’s second goal topped off a composed all-round display. Impressive to anyone who watched him.
CM: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Daniel Sturridge’s return from injury dominates all the sports pages connected to Liverpool this weekend, but Coutinho pulled all the strings on Saturday.
Two goals were scored at Anfield against West Ham and the nifty Brazilian set them both up. A neat dink for Raheem Sterling’s opener was followed up by an equally precise through ball, which Sturridge buried to nab the headlines.
CM: Stephen Ireland (Stoke City)
Jonathan Walters may have taken the match ball home after Stoke’s 3-1 win at the Britannia, but Ireland did more than his fair share of the work after setting up two of Walters’ three goals.
A skilful back-heel sent Walters on his way for the first after 21 minutes and an intelligent through ball teed up his partner in crime for goal No2 13 minutes later.
CAM: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Arsenal’s £42million record signing has struggled to live up to the billing since his arrival in North London, but his performance in their rout of Aston Villa on Sunday was arguably his finest in a Gunners shirt.
He contributed one assist, with a dainty little flick to Olivier Giroud for the opener, then netted to make it 2-0. Ozil took one touch to get away from the Villa backline before hitting a shot that squirmed past keeper Brad Guzan.
ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Yet another impressive display from the young striker who is giving England manager Roy Hodgson more reasons to select him in his next squad each week.
Two of the three goals at the Hawthorns came from him. The first was a powerful strike past Ben Foster after showing Andre Wisdom a clean pair of heels, then a penalty that sent the goalie the wrong way for his 20th goal in all competitions this season.
ST: Jonathan Walters (Stoke City)
Stoke’s despair at Bojan Krkic missing the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury will have been softened by Walters’ hat-trick against QPR on ‘Sir Stanley Matthews Day’ this weekend.
It was a perfect trio from the Republic of Ireland striker. His first was a curled effort with his right foot past a despairing Rob Green to give Stoke the lead. Walters followed it up with a left-foot shot and he completed his hat-trick with a header after some shambolic QPR defending. Sir Stan would have been impressed.
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