This week’s Team of the Week includes Petr Cech who kept the ever improving Stoke at bay, while Sergio Aguero showed why he is a world class striker as he put Crystal Palace to the sword.
Goalkeeper: Petr Cech (Arsenal)
John Terry’s “Petr Cech will win Arsenal 10-12 points” quote may well have come true already. Cech certainly saved the Gunners two points away to Stoke.
Cech made five saves in total in the 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium as Arsenal moved back to the top of the table on goal difference ahead of surprise contenders Leicester City.
Arsene Wenger described his goalkeeper as “outstanding” at full-time, and you can see why as he could be the catalyst to Arsenal winning their first title in 12 years.
Right-back: Glen Johnson (Stoke City)
Stoke too were impossible to break down, and Glen Johnson was one reason for that, as the full-back rediscovers his form in Staffordshire.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott were both subdued on Arsenal’s wings as Johnson dominated the right flank.
If Johnson keeps on in this vein, a place on the flight to France in the summer might not be out of the question.
Centre back: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
As Manchester United finally start to learn how to find the back of the net, Louis van Gaal’s star pupil Chris Smalling is still top of the class.
Smalling put in another accomplished performance at the heart of United’s defence as they claimed a priceless derby win at Anfield against Liverpool to give the Mancunians the derby bragging rights.
Liverpool peppered the opposition goal, but Smalling was equal to any threat the Reds posed, and, when he was unable to keep out the effort, David de Gea was there to make amends.
Centre back: Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)
Arsene Wenger said this week he was worried about how some Arsenal fans use Twitter. Well, those who claim that Laurent Koscielny is the best defender in the Premier League have a little more justification for their tweets now.
Koscielny was astute at the back for the now league leaders as his stellar season continued. It also helped that Stoke’s forwards were off target with a number of their shots; only six of the 14 in total were on target.
Left-back: Charlie Daniels (AFC Bournemouth)
Left midfielder turned left-back Charlie Daniels is still showing his capabilities in the final third despite his role further back in Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth team.
Daniels, who was plying his trade in League One with Leyton Orient back in 2012 after joining on a free transfer from Tottenham, has gone from strength to strength in the Premier League.
On Saturday, he tucked away a penalty, kept a clean sheet, and picked out debutant Benik Afobe with a pinpoint cross for his first Bournemouth goal.
Centre midfielder: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United)
When you shelve out £12 million on a player, you expect an immediate return on your investment, and that is exactly what Newcastle have got with Jonjo Shelvey.
The ex-Charlton and Liverpool midfielder arrived on Tyneside from Swansea City during the week, and was instrumental for the Magpies on his St. James’ Park bow.
Both goals for the home side came through moves that were started by intelligent Shelvey passes, and the 23-year-old was the heartbeat for his new team all afternoon.
Centre midfielder: James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Before Southampton’s meeting with West Bromwich Albion, James Ward-Prowse had two career goals. By full-time, he had doubled that tally.
Ward-Prowse’s first of the afternoon – and third of his short career – came from the penalty spot, as he tucked a spot-kick past Boaz Myhill with minimum fuss, and he soon had two goals to his name.
The England Under-21 captain would grab his second through a set piece – a curling free-kick that was whipped in with some vigour and left Myhill hopeless in the Albion goal.
Centre midfielder: Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s ding-dong battle with Everton was one of the most memorable matches of the weekend, and Cesc Fabregas was the one who made the home side tick.
A world-class through ball from his own half set up Diego Costa to get the Blues back in the game at 2-1 with 64 minutes on the clock, and he scored himself two minutes later via a deflection.
Fabregas’ celebration was a key indicator of how frustrated he has been at his own poor form and the jibes from some of his supporters this season.
Centre attacking midfielder: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)
If Tottenham’s top four hopes and, dare I say it, title ambitions are genuine, they are going to need a somewhat inconsistent Christian Eriksen to keep on producing displays such as the one against Sunderland.
Eriksen equalised for Tottenham around 30 seconds after Patrick van Aanholt had given Sunderland the lead, and he was on target again 22 minutes into the second half.
Jordan Pickford, making his Premier League debut for Sunderland after a loan spell at Preston, was left clasping at thin air for Eriksen’s second – a long range effort that flew into the top corner for Tottenham’s third.
Striker: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Without doubt, Manchester City are a better side when Sergio Aguero, arguably the best striker in the league, is fit and firing. The Argentine assassin netted two against Crystal Palace in City’s 4-0 win.
Fortune favoured him with the first goal – an effort that was aided by the head of Scott Dann into the net – but his second was killer instinct to be in the right place at the right time to tap home Kevin de Bruyne’s cutback across goal.
Aguero could have had a hat-trick too but instead opted to square it to David Silva, who had the simple task of making it four for the title challengers.
Striker: Diego Costa (Chelsea)
Much like his teammate Fabregas, Costa was a star under Jose Mourinho last season but lost his way this campaign, and has been reinvigorated under interim manager Guus Hiddink.
Costa has five goals in his last five games; the latest came in the 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge as the dogged striker appears to have his hunger for football back.
He looked sluggish before Hiddink’s return to Chelsea, but on Saturday, he made constant runs into the box and was a thorn to the Everton defence for large periods. Fabregas’ goal was teed up by a Costa back heel too.
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