Premier League Team of the Weekend
There were some big and well documented performances this weekend but a few others who snuck out of the spotlight. This is my Premier League team of the weekend.
Team of the Weekend: Tottenham Hotspur
The Spurs win Team of the Week, and thus this side is rendered in their colours. They weren’t great for a large chunk of the game against Manchester City, but after an inspired tactical change from Andre Villas-Boas they turned a loss which would have cost them any chance at Champions League football in to a 3-1 win over the defending champions.
Asmir Begovic – Stoke City
Stoke got a key win at QPR, but it doesn’t mean they played well. In fact, they could easily have lost if it hadn’t been for a dramatic return to form for Begovic. Early in the season he was in such good form that talk of a move to Manchester United made sense. His form has slumped along with Stoke’s but he corrected that. He made 5 crucial saves to keep out a spirited QPR attack and without him Stoke would still be in the mire.
Jack Colback – Sunderland
Where did this come from? Colback, a left-footed central midfielder, deputised at right back and was by a long chalk the best player on the pitch for Sunderland against Everton. Up against one of the best, if not the best left-side combination in Baines and Pienaar, he absolutely thrived, shutting them down completely. He was solid in defence and took to his new position as if he had been there all his life.
Gareth McAuley – West Bromwich Albion
McAuley was an immense presence for West Brom as he got himself in the way of countless Newcastle attacks in the first half during a period in which West Brom were getting run all over. He played a key role in keeping them in with a chance at just one down, and without him they would have lost the game in that first half. In the second half, he was unlucky not to score a couple of times as the momentum switched completely.
Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspur
Vertonghen is the Player of the Weekend after a majestic performance against Manchester City. The Spurs were getting run ragged in the first half, led by Carlos Tevez, but it was due to Vertonghen that they didn’t find themselves further than 1-0 down at half time. He was at his very best, positionally superb and showing his impeccable tackling. An excellent showing.
Danny Rose – Sunderland
Rose put in his best showing of the season against Everton, and like his teammate Colback, shut down an in-form opponent. Kevin Mirallas on the Everton right has been in the last three of these selections, but Rose handled him comfortably. He is a left winger by training but is starting to learn more and more about the left-back position. He also offered pace and threat in attack.
Jonathan De Guzman – Swansea City
De Guzman was the beating heart in the middle of the Swansea midfield which put on a showing of up-tempo, accurate passing against an equally willing Southampton. De Guzman was at his gliding, influential best, particularly in the first half an hour or so which Swansea dominated.
Jack Cork – Southampton
Cork has been in excellent form since returning to the team under Pochettino, and was once again outstanding against Swansea. He always looked a Premier League player when operating in the Championship and has taken to the step up in class with ease. A gliding, elegant player, he makes Southampton tick when he gets on the ball.
Juan Mata – Chelsea
Mata makes the game look incredibly easy sometimes and he was back to his impish best at Anfield. Somehow he isn’t in the conversation for the PFA Player of the Year despite his relentlessly consistent excellence and he really ought to be. He set up both Chelsea goals but it was his ease on the ball and his ability to pick the best pass which stood out against Liverpool.
Luis Suarez – Liverpool
I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. Yes, he gave away a penalty for handball and then there was that bite, but his actual football was mesmerising. His pass for the Sturridge goal was unreal, perfectly chipped in to his path, and then he came up with a clever header to get the draw at the end of the game. His dribbling was direct and menacing, and if it was just for the football he would be a worth candidate for Player of the Year. But…
Gareth Bale – Spurs
Bale was pretty anonymous for 70 minutes, but his final 20 minutes were as good as any player has had all season. It was almost as if he needed to just get the confidence back in his feet after his injury. His cross for Dempsey with the outside of his left foot was simply incredible, guided perfectly and along the ground so that he only had to nudge it in. City then over-committed to his right hand side which gave Defoe room for number two, and he scored the third himself with a gorgeous chip.
Romelu Lukaku – West Brom
Lukaku came back into the West Brom team, and surprise surprise, immediately caused havoc. He just exudes power and strength and at just 19 is an other worldly prospect. All the talk is about Chelsea signing a striker, but they’ve got as a big a talent as there is in the world right now under their noses. He created the West Brom goal, nearly made another and almost scored with a scorching header. Quite a statement compared to the disinterested Torres.