Tim Krul reminded us all why he is touted as one of the finest keepers in the league, as he pulled off two excellent saves to keep Newcastle in the game before Papiss Cissé took all the plaudits with yet another last-gasp winner. Firstly, Krul somehow managed to block Stanislav Manolev’s effort from only 2 yards out after the ball had ricocheted to him from a corner. Krul was on hand again in the second half when he pulled off a spectacular save to deny Dimitar Berbatov a goal in five consecutive games. The Bulgarian’s header from a Riise free-kick seemed destined for the top corner of the goal until a brilliant leap from the Dutchman saved the blushes for Newcastle.
Matthew Lowton’s screamer will be a contender for goal of the season. More importantly for Villa, it was vital in bagging another three points, their third victory in their last 4 games. The young Englishman, who had signed from Sheffield United last summer, has been one of the bright sparks in Villa’s campaign so far, which has seen them field a number of young prospects but not with the greatest of success. Lowton’s screamer totally changed the complexion of the game.
Gael Clichy put in an immense shift yesterday at the left back spot as he smothered out any threat coming from the right wing of the Manchester United attack. The Frenchman put all his experience to work as the front-line of the home team couldn’t conjure up a single clear-cut opportunity.
James Collins made Luis Suarez totally ineffective as the Hammers went home with a precious away point from Anfield. Neither Sturridge nor the Uruguayan was able to get past the Hammers’ defense as Collins lead the line with timely tackles and blocks to keep the Liverpool offence, which has been in free flow in recent times, at bay.
Laurent Koscielny has quietly become Arsenal‘s best option at the centre-back spot. An intelligent reader of the game and a tenacious tackler, he is far less culpable to the mistakes that his partners Per Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen have been prone to, and one such mistake left Arsenal a man short for the last 20 minutes of the game at the Hawthorn. But the Frenchman was on hand to shepherd Arsenal to a precious three points which leaves them two points off fourth spot with a game in hand.
Of all the star names on show at the centre of the park in the Manchester Derby, few expected James Milner to have the most influence on the game. The England international had the biggest say with his all-action play, with help from Barry and the deep-lying Yaya Toure.
Tomas Rosicky gets a mention in this week’s team owing to the brace he scored away at the Hawthorns. The Czech seems to come alive in the latter parts of the season and was crucial to Arsenal’s eventual third-place finish last year, as he seemed to have found a gear which most had thought had ceased to exist. He certainly seems to be ready to give the Gunners another late season the push once again.
While Michu has stolen the limelight as the most prolific signing for the Swans this season, Jonathan de Guzmán hasn’t found quite the same appreciation. The Dutchman has been however, one of the most impressive performers for the Welsh side. His slick passing and manoeuvring in the midfield has been one of the impressive aspects of his game, and it was on show again, as he controlled the tempo in the midfield and set-up a goal to clinch yet another crucial away point for Swansea.
Jay Rodriguez is showing why Nigel Adkins shelled out £6m for his services from Burnley. Rodriguez however has benefited from the departure of the erstwhile manager as he seems to have found his place and niche under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino. The youngster has benefited from playing a regular role alongside the ever-impressive Rickie Lambert, and has vindicated his manager’s faith in him by scoring goals at will and proving to be a quality player on the left-hand side.
Elliott Bennett is not a name that makes it to the conversations when Team of the Week discussions takes place. The Norwich City wideman however gets into this week’s team as he set up both goals for the home side. Two fine crosses, a to-the-point precise delivery for Snodgrass to head in and then a free-kick curled in for Michael Turner to head in.
Papiss Cisse seems to have found his mojo back, as he is making a nuisance of himself in the final third for defenders. Another goal from Newcastle’s hitman in injury time meant that he has scored after ninety minutes in each of Newcastle’s last three home games. The finishes might not be there yet, but the Senegalese striker has been making some real inroads against opposing defences via exquisitely timed runs. If he finds his finishing boots for last few games of the season, Newcastle will be reaping the rewards both in the EPL as well as in Europe.
Here is how this week’s team looks like:Published 09 Apr 2013, 22:47 IST