Tag Archives: Swansea

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 18

Chelsea-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eighteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Chelsea and Liverpool provide not one, two or three but four players each, while there is one each from Manchester City, Manchester United and Reading.

Adam Federici (Reading)

Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan was one of the top performers of the week as he was virtually playing alone against Chelsea, but on a matter of principle I just couldn’t select a keeper who conceded eight goals in a match and so I went with Federici. The Reading goalie frustrated the Premier League champions Manchester City for 90 minutes and was very unlucky to concede a stoppage time goal in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

Manchester City have yet to hit top gear but they still remain very much in the hunt to retain their Premier League title. It is fair to say that not everyone at City is pulling their weight at the moment but it would be harsh if its said the same about Pablo Zabaleta. The right-back has been in terrific form and if it wasn’t for his persistence – and cross for Gareth Barry’s winning goal – City would not have eked out Saturday’s late win.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

The Serbian was given one of the toughest jobs of the weekend – mark the inform Christian Benteke. He and Gary Cahill combined well to nullify the Belgian’s threat very effectively, recording a clean sheet in the 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday. He even managed to increase his goal tally for the season with a poacher’s goal after Cahill’s shot was palmed his way.

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

To be honest, Saturday’s action Premier League action fell dull until the late kick-off between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield. The goal which brought the weekend to life was just superb from defender Martin Skrtel. A nice touch to control the ball before unleashing an unstoppable volley past Mark Schwarzer to open the floodgates for the Reds on their way to a 4-0 win over the Cottagers.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United)

Its been a funny season for Manchester United at the back. Their defenders are leaking goals but at the same time scoring at the other end of the pitch. Evra is a perfect example of this during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea. The Frenchman did superbly well to score with a header from a Robin van Persie corner but then was caught out of position as Michu equalised for the Swans.

David Luiz (Chelsea)

Chelsea may have scored eight against Aston Villa, but none was better than David Luiz’s freekick. It was very similar to how Didier Drogba used to hit them for the Blues. It was not only the Brazilian’s goal which earns him a place in the Team of the Week. Played just in front of the back-four, Luiz looked right at home in the Obi Mikel role and the African must surely be a worried man now.

Ramires (Chelsea)

The Brazilian did not even start the game but yet he makes our Team of the Week. The midfielder, who is not known for his goal scoring, came on in the second half for Frank Lampard in Chelsea’s thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday, and ended the match as one of the star performers and became the only player to score more than once in that match. He scored the Blues’s fifth and eighth goal of the night.

Stewart Downing (Liverpool)

Downing makes the Premier League Team for the first time ever. Perhaps this is what the Mayans were referring to? Back in his regular role of a winger, the former Aston Villa wide man put in an excellent performance in Liverpool’s easy win on Saturday. He set Steven Gerrard for the hosts’ second goal of the night and scored one himself in the second half. His first assist and goal in the Premier League since joining the Reds last season.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Competition in midfield is tough this week given Chelsea’s hammering of Aston Villa but there was no chance of leaving Steven Gerrard out. The Liverpool skipper has been in patchy form this season as he adjusts to Brendan Rodgers’ style of play. However, we saw the Gerrard of the old as the Liverpool legend provided two assists for his teammates, but also got his own name on the score sheet too.

Eden Hazard (Cheslea)

After a blistering start to life in the Premier League, Eden Hazard has positively cooled off. Any worries should be abated now, though, as the Belgian wizard ran riot on The Blues’ left flank against Aston Villa. His holding midfield duo controlled the game and were able to find him regularly, so he had ample opportunities to shine. He also got himself on score sheet by scoring his side’s seventh goal of the night.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

Suarez was back to his best on Saturday. The Uruguayan bagged the final goal of four against Fulham and it was a perfect reward for his efforts all game long. Even though the goal came very late and technically unimportant at the stage of a comprehensive rout, it was important for Liverpool’s only injury free senior striker to get back among the goals after failing to score for more than a month.

TOTW GW 18

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 17

Benteke-Totw

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting seventeenth gameweek in the Premier League. Aston Villa, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur provide two players each, while there is one each from Arsenal, Manchester City, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City.

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)

The French international is making the most of his chances to show Andre Villas-Boas what he can do after putting in a commanding display in goal in Spurs’ 1-0 win over Swansea on Sunday. Lloris kept a clean and made some brave clearances with the highlight being when he came off the line to punch away a dangerous cross and deny Michu a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa)

Not too many full-backs have made Liverpool’s rising star Raheem Sterling look terrible this season, but Lowton certainly achieved the feat on Saturday. Sterling looked completely out of ideas as the Reds slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Anfield and the former Sheffield United man can take great comfort in knowing it was his positioning and reading of the game which made the pacey winger so ineffective.

Ashley Williams (Swansea City)

The Swans may have been on the end of a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane but Williams gave everything for the Welsh side, proving a rock solid presence at the back. A brave performance from the centre-half saw him make several key clearances and blocks as Spurs were denied a way through up until their late breakthrough from a set-piece.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Though he has played most of this season at left-back, the Belgian international earned a rare start in the centre of defence at the weekend, and his manager was rewarded for this decision, with Tottenham looking solid for the most part at the back. As a bonus, Vertonghen also popped up to score the winner, as he elegantly volleyed home Kyle Walker’s free-kick.

Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Toure was the star when City played at St. James’ Park last season and he was the star again on the weekend as he ran the show in the middle of the park for City as they defeated Newcastle 3-1. The Ivorian’s pinpoint pass set up Sergio Aguero perfectly for the opener, while he added a goal of his own late on to put the seal on both City’s win and an impressive individual display.

Ashley Young (Manchester United)

Following their dramatic derby win, the Red Devils were in the mood against Sunderland on Saturday. Central to Saturday’s 3-1 win was former Aston Villa winger Ashley Young who had a hand in two of the three goals United scored that day. His best was obviously the assist for Robin van Persie’s opener, but he was definitely a handful all afternoon for the Black Cats’ defence.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

The Gunners hit back at their critics after their embarrassing League Cup defeat to Bradford in the midweek, with an assured 5-2 victory over Reading which was inspired by Cazorla’s hat-trick. The little Spaniard has been impressive all season and he did early damage in the first half when he scored two goals in as many minutes then followed up his heroics on the hour mark to seal his first triple in an Arsenal shirt.

Adel Taarabt (Queens Park Rangers)

QPR manager Harry Redknapp handed Taarabt a more advanced role against Fulham at the Loftus Road on Saturday and it worked a treat. Played just in behind the striker, the Moroccan international excelled and hit the Cottagers for two goals as the R’s emerged from the contest as 2-1 winners – their first win of the season after 17 attempts.

Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City)

Pilkington put in another stand-out performance for the Canaries against Wigan as he and fellow forward Wes Hoolahan continue to shine for the in-form club. A brilliantly-taken goal was the crowning moment of the Englishman’s afternoon, while his cross also set up Hoolahan for the second of the 2-1 win at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

12 goals in your first 17 Premier League games for a new club seems like a reasonable return doesn’t it? Even if you do have a £24 million price tag on your head. In United’s victory over Sunderland the Dutchman was instrumental, capitalising on John O’Shea’s mistake to score the opening goal. And in an ominous sign for Premier League defences everywhere, he again linked up with Wayne Rooney to secure a third.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

Benteke has been one of the signings of the season and was influential to Villa’s surprise win at Liverpool, producing a star turn for the Midlanders as he netted a double, dealing a blow to Darren Bent’s hopes of ending his stint on the bench. The Belgian also provided the assist for Andreas Weimann’s strike with an audacious backheel.

TOTW GW 17

Steven Gerrard – The Pied Piper Of Anfield

Pied-Pipper-Of-Anfield

One of the greatest midfielders, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been the lynchpin of the Reds for the past decade or so and has also been the part of the transformation plans of four managers since the triumphant spectacle at Istanbul. However, the critics have doubted the current influence of the 32-year old English captain.

Under the current Chelsea interim boss – Rafael Benitez, Anfield was a place most teams around Europe feared to go. It was a fortress in its true sense. A young Gerrrad was given a more advanced role to play, just behind the target man Fernando Torres, Peter Crouch or Andrei Voronin. With Xabi Alonso at the centre of the park and the smart Javier Mascherano as the holding midfielder – the link between the midfield & the back four – Gerrard was handed the responsibility of handling the attacking side of the game. Liverpool were known for their direct style of play, fluent passing and classic counter attacks. The 2008-09 season was the highlight of this Liverpool side’s strength and ability. Benitez was clearly a manager who understood each player’s psychology, style of play and the suitable position required for his effective influence in the side’s game. Gerrard was at his very best and had expressed his happiness under the Spanish boss.

Benitez-Formation
Liverpool’s formation under Rafa Benitez

Liverpool’s inability of holding on to Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, the stalwarts of the Liverpool midfield was followed by the exit of Benitez. This led to a beginning of a doubtful and disappointing transition in the history of the football club. The entry of Roy Hodgson led to a hope for the Koptites as the former Fulham manager seemed like a hopeful perspective. But his tenure ended after just 31 matches following a run of disappointing results. Meanwhile, the Liverpool skipper suffered a recurring hamstring injury in training.

The sacking of Hodgson meant that Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish would step in his shoes. After a struggling start and a serious injury Lucas Leiva, Gerrard was given a role of playing behind Jordan Henderson and play as a deep-lying playmaker, a position to which the English midfielder was not much acclimated to. The introduction of Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Henderson meant that the injury affected captain had to play behind the attacking midfielders. However, this was the time when the then 31 year-old midfielder suffered his major injury setbacks. He was sidelined for six months with a grueling groin injury and was again sidelined for an infection injury on his right ankle.

Dalglish-Formation
Liverpool’s formation under Kenny Dalglish

These injuries forced the manager to play him in a safe deep position which would keep him away from exertion and hard tackling and thus keep him away from further injuries. However, the fan favourite had mentioned in his interviews that he was more than willing to play the same role that he had played for Liverpool over the years but was happy with any role given by the manager. A 1-0 defeat on the final day of the season at  Swansea City meant the end of a disappointing era for Dalglish. Gerrard was criticized by many as a player too old for the British game but was still able to get 8 goals in the meager amount of games that he played.

Then came Brendan Rodgers. The former Swansea boss provides a whole new type of game of retaining the ball as quickly as possible and playing an aggressive & fast game. Meaning, the type of game Gerrard longs to play, with wholehearted commitment in every tackle.

Rodgers-Liverpool

However, the current role given to Gerrard has frustrated many a Liverpool fan. The influential and committed skipper has been given a tamed role of playing the ball in the final third from a deep position. But with a lack of strike force and a berserk Luis Suarez when it comes to finishing the obvious chances, the only support in the front-line, the midfielder is forced to give away the ball due to lack of options. The main and obvious remedy to this is to bring in a new striker, especially a striker who can make his presence felt in the box. The reason being that Jose Enrique and Raheem Sterling do all the hard work on the wings, taking defenders to the byline and then when they look up there is hardly a shadow in the box to aim at. Due to the inexperienced midfield comprising of Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Allen, Gerrard is given the responsibility of handling the defensive duties as well. For a 32-year-old it is too big a task. Allen after an impressive first three games has exposed his physical weakness and has given the ball away cheaply especially against the likes of Chelsea who have a hefty attacking line-up.

Remedy-Formation
The formation that Brendan Rodgers should play, which will get the best out of Gerrard

A makeshift solution can be of playing Lucas and Allen as the holding midfielders and Gerrard playing in front of them. This will enable him to move to either wing to support Sterling or the newly fullback turned left midfielder Jose Enrique as also of playing the final ball to Suarez or taking the shot on from outside the area, for which he was so feared till a season or two ago. The main problem is that the more deep he falls in the midfield the more the midfield looses its experience and the dynamic presence of an attacking and creative midfielder and thus his influence in the game reduces drastically. For a man who has given everything for his home club and wants to fulfill his only desire of winning the Premier League title, he should be given the role of a trequilesta, even if it drains out all his energy and has to sit out a third of the game.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 16

Rooney-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting sixteen gameweek in the Premier League. Manchester United are the only side to provide three players, while there is one each from Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Liverpool, Norwich City, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic.

David De Gea (Manchester United)

The Spaniard has had his share of critics during his time in England, but on Sunday during the Manchester derby he showed everyone he has matured into a goalkeeper capable of handling the big occasion. With Anders Lindegaard’s wife going into labour, United had no choice but to play the former Atletico Madrid man and he didn’t let anyone down. He put in a commanding display and was prepared to step off his line to embrace the physical challenge of contesting the high balls.

Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

Back at his former club West Ham, the right-back made a blistering start to the game with an outstanding strike into the top corner from 25 yards out. He did not celebrate his goal but was the visitors most threatening player and was a constant problem to the home defence at Upton Park, while keeping Matt Jarvis quiet for much of the game.

Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)

Ferdinand’s derby day may have taken a turn for the worse as he celebrated Robin van Persie’s late winner, but the experienced centre-half put in another steady shift for the Red Devils. During the periods when United’s midfied controlled the game, the veteran could concentrate on seeing off Sergio Aguero and did so effectively. He was established and reliable at the back, and also made an important block in the second half.

Sebastien Bassong (Norwich City)

The Cameroon international has doubled his career goals tally in the space of just four games, with the Norwich defender in the form of his life. He had found the back of the net just three times in over 150 appearances prior to 24th November, and there weeks on and he now has six goals to his name. The latest of those arrived on Saturday when he towered over Ben Davies to head home his side second of the game and held the line well as the Canaries won a seven goal thriller in South Wales.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Belgium international has been very impressive for Spurs this season as a left-back and on Sunday against Everton he was his side’s best player. He may have been without his partner on the left-flank – Gareth Bale but he contributed a lot to the game. He was a key reason for Spurs’ much improve performance in the second half and in one dominating spell he fired three shots at goal in 20 minutes.

Damien Duff (Fulham)

Facing former employers tends to bring the best out of certain individuals and Duff looked like a man on a mission during Fulham’s clash against Newcastle on Monday, and was also instrumental in helping the Cottages to a 2-1 win. The Irishman used his skill and experience to torment Davide Santon & Fabricio Coloccinni and also had a hand in both Fulham’s goal, laying on the first for Steve Sidwell and crossing for Hugo Rodallega to nod home the winner.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Mikel Arteta will go down on the score sheet as the hero in Arsenal’s win over West Brom on Saturday because of his two goals (both from the spot), but the real star of the match for the Gunners was Jack Wilshere. The Englishman’s influence on the match was there for everyone to see with his passing, vision, defending and all-round determination to win the game for the Londoners.

James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic)

Wigan made it sure that Queens Park Rangers’ miserable start to the season continued on Saturday, with the London outfit still waiting for their first win 16 games into the season. Harry Redknapp took his side to the DW Stadium in search of a win, but a deadly double from McCarthy meant that he had to settle for just a point.  McCarthy was a real driving force in midfield and showed his true class with his two goals.

Fernando Torres (Chelsea)

On Saturday, the Spanish striker was finally looking like he was enjoying himself on the football field and goals obviously helped to lift the mood of the misfiring forward as he helped himself to two during Chelsea win at Sunderland. His movement caused the Black Cats defence problems all afternoon and manager Rafael Benitez will be hoping there is plenty more to come from his number nine.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Rooney enjoyed one his best days on Sunday, with his efforts pivotal to Manchester United’s 3-2 derby success at arch-rivals City. His first-half double, which came against the run of play, saw him move into 150 Premier League goals – youngest ever to do so. He found the right positions and also became the highest ever goalscorer in the Manchester derbies as a result.

Michu (Swansea City)

He may well have been on the losing side to an in-form Norwich, but the classy Spaniard was brilliant, again, in getting a second successive brace. He wasn’t at his best in the first half but orchestrated the Swansea comeback in the second period and took both his goals clinically. He double strike on Saturday, took him to the top of the goalscoring charts in the league.

TOTW GW 16

Bradford City Shock Arsenal – Why Defeat Is A Huge Disaster For The Gunners?

Bradford-Arsenal

Bradford City pulled off one of the greatest League Cup shocks with a penalty shoot-out victory over Arsenal in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

The League Two side prevailed 3-2 on spot-kicks, to the delight of a capacity Coral Windows Stadium. Gunners skipper Thomas Vermaelen missed the crucial penalty on a difficult night for the Premier League side. Garry Thompson volleyed the hosts ahead, before Vermaelen headed home a Santi Cazorla cross at the back post with with only two minutes remaining of normal time. Defeat is a huge disaster for manager Arsene Wenger and his club, who last won a major title in 2005.

Why Defeat Is A Huge Disaster For The Gunners?

Arsenal had ridiculous amount of possession (63% to be exact) but the big problem for them is that the lack of ruthlessness. They had so much possession, so many shots, so many entries into the final third to put that final ball and I think that’s the difference between the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea compared to Arsenal. At the same time, the Gunners are going through an interesting phase in the season where they are finding it difficult to score goals. They have scored many in the Capital One Cup games this season but prior to last night’s match they had scored just four in the last five games. They have found it difficult to score goals in the last few weeks and that was once again visible last night.

Talking about the current Arsenal team, there is a lot of individuality, brilliant technicians but when you look for the heart of the team, it comes from the youngsters like Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and doesn’t come from the experience players. The team overall is a bit soft and do they have strength in character? I don’t think so there is enough and that’s why they are just out of the top teams.

Wenger came out and said that the defeat is not an embarrassment, but to be honest its a big disaster. If you see, they have Swansea away in the FA Cup, that’s going to be a very tough game and can go either way. In the Premier League, they are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United and its highly unlikely they will win it. In the Champions League, again there are a number quality teams in it and will be very difficult for them to go all the way to the final. And so, the Capital One Cup was their best chance of getting a silverware and if they go another season without a silverware that’s going to be a big blow for the club. Many players have already left the club and many more will leave at the end of the season.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 15

Rooney-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting fifteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur provide two players each, while there is one each from Aston Villa, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Norwich City, Reading and West Ham United.

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

The American had plenty to do as Villa secured a 1-1 draw against QPR in Harry Redknapp’s first home game as R’s manager. The goalkeeper pulled off a string of fine saves and caught the eye with a stunning block to deny Jame Mackie, while he also made important stops on the lively Shaun Wright-Phillips and managed to tip Clint Hill’s powerful header over the crossbar.

Angel Rangel (Swansea City)

One of the weekend’s big shocks came at Emirates Stadium as Swansea claimed a surprise 2-0 win over the Gunners and the Spaniard was the key to their success. The right-back was constant threat to Arsenal’s back four as he went forward to provide attacking support, while he was also a rock at the back as the Welsh side kept a clean sheet.

Daniel Agger (Liverpool)

The Reds got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win at home over Southampton and Agger played an important role in it. He put in a solid performance at the back as Liverpool kept a clean sheet and also unleashed a wonderful header before the break, which eventually turned out to be the winner.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The Belgian has been Spurs’ star man this season and he was once again impressive in the 3-0 win at Fulham. He put in a solid shift at the back while also showing his ability getting forward, providing a useful link with Tottenham’s attack.

Hal Robson-Kane (Reading)

The Royals produced a battling display but ended on the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller at home to Manchester United, and Robson-Kanu was their star man in the first half as he provided plenty of threat on the right wing. The Welshman troubled Patrice Evra for most of the first half after opening the scoring early on with a great volley.

Mohamed Diame (West Ham United)

With the Hammers trailing by a goal against Chelsea at half-time, Diame came off the bench at start of the second half to inspire a memorable comeback win. The former Wigan man was exactly the sort of player the Blues missed in the second half, as he injected urgency into his side’s play, running riot in midfield and capping his performance with a late goal that put West Ham ahead.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The Belgian may have conceded the penalty that allowed Carlos Tevez to equalise for Manchester City against Everton on Saturday, but other than that the he was at his best all afternoon. The skipper scored the opening goal and was very influential as he ran the show in the midfield.

Anthony Pilkington (Norwich City)

The Canaries produced a dominant first-half display as they defeat Sunderland 2-1 and the Englishman put in an admirable shift as a part of an impressive Norwich midfield. He also scored a 37-minute goal with sublime finish, which turned out to be the winner for the hosts.

Michu (Swansea City)

Another star performer in Swansea’s shocking win against Arsenal on Saturday was the Spaniard forward, who has been a revelation in Wales since his £2 million arrivial in the summer. Michu scored two late goals and left the Emirates faithful stunned.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

United kept three points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table after edging their dramatic clash at Reading, with Rooney standing out as the Red Devils’ top performer. The England striker grabbed two goals – one from the spot – while also setting up Robin van Persie’s winner with a brilliant back heel.

Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

Jermain Defoe has been at his best under Andre Villas-Boas and again on Saturday the former West Ham man scored twice in the 3-0 win at Fulham. The striker was in deadly form as he scored two well-taken goals with just two real chances and the punished the poor Fulham defence.

TOTW GW 15

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 7

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting seventh weekend in the Premier League. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have provided two players each, while there is one each from Manchester City, Reading, Southampton, West Brom and Wigan.

Alex McCarthy (Reading)

The young stopper has made the number one jersey his own in the absence of the injured Adam Federici and he continued to shine during the Royal’s 2-2 draw at Swansea. McCarthy made eight superb saves to deny Swans from taking the lead, but couldn’t prevent the Royals throwing away a two-goal lead.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

The Serbian is having one of his best seasons at Stamford Bridge and again on Saturday he was at his very best. He crossed in for Fernando Torres to score Chelsea’s second of the game and then he himself volleyed in towards the end of the game – Chelsea’s fourth – which wrapped up the game for the leaders. The right-back has now scored the same number of league goals as Fernando Torres.

Jose Fonte (Southampton)

Fonte rescued the Saints from defeat at home against Fulham with a last-minute goal which sealed a 2-2 draw at the St Mary’s. The Portuguese had earlier made his mark on the match by scoring Southampton’s opening goal after just four minutes, when he forced home Adam Lallana’s corner.

Jonny Evans (Manchester United) 

The United defence has been criticized a lot this season, but on Sunday they were at their best and kept a clean sheet against Newcastle at St James’ Park. Evans was particularly the star of back four, as he didnt only keep Papiss Cisse (later Shola Ameobi) and Demba Ba quiet for the whole game but also opened the scoring for the Red Devils early in the game with a powerful header from a Robin van Persie corner.

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) 

The Serbian full-back was City’s main man as they registered a comfortable 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday. Kolarov put his team in the lead after just four minutes with a brilliant free-kick. Later on, in the second half he crossed in for Sergio Aguero to score City’s second and then played a role in James Milner’s goal – City’s third – late in the game.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Arsenal’s summer signing again showed his true class as he pulled the strings in midfield in the Gunners’ 3-1 win over West Ham. The Spaniard troubled the hosts with his passing and capped a commanding display by adding the Gunners’ third goal, curling home a wonderful strike from 25 yards.

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

The Spaniard joins his Chelsea teammate Ivanovic in this team. Mata put in another intelligent display and was undoubtedly the top performer for the Blues in the 4-1 win over Norwich at home. He didn’t get on the score-sheet but he played a role in three out of the four goals they scored and was at the heart of every Chelsea attack.

James Morrison (West Brom)

Morrison is a surprise inclusion in this week’s Team of the Week but the Baggies midfielder played a key role in helping his team win against QPR on Saturday.  He showed some great determination in scoring West Brom’s opener after just five minutes and didn’t fade at all as the game progressed.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

The England and Manchester United striker played at the top of United’s new midfield diamond and was at his best. He didn’t find back of the net but put in a tireless shift and was often the link between the attack and the midfield. He put in one of his best performances of the season and reminded everyone how a good a player he is even if he isn’t scoring goals.

Arouna Kone (Wigan Athletic)

Scoring twice against a disciplined Everton side is not at all an easy thing to do and the Ivorian did that on Saturday. He tormented the Toffees back four for 90 minutes and was denied his first Premier League hat-trick only by some great defending. One of the bargain buys of the season.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

The France international striker makes his debut in our Team of the Week after a fine display at Upton Park, which included a goal – his first in the league – and an assist. He equalised for the Gunners in the first half with an instinctive finish at the near post and then set up Theo Walcott to score Arsenal’s second of the game.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 5

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting fifth weekend in the Premier League. Southampton and Arsenal have provided two players each, while there is one each from Stoke, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham, Everton and Fulham.

Asmir Begovic (Stoke)

The Bosnian keeper was in fine form at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, commanding his area excellently and making a save whenever he was asked to. Chelsea’s poor finishing meant he didn’t had to make many, but could do nothing about Ashley Cole’s late winner.

Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton)

The young right-back has grown with every game he has played in the Premier League so far and against Aston Villa, he was superb. He made some intelligent runs down the flanks, when he switched to left-back in the second half. He created chances for his team-mates and also showed good composure to score his first goal for his new club.

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)

He was only selected in the side because Thomas Vermaelen was out with a virus and the Frenchman performed at his best against the reigning Premier League champions. He was perhaps lucky not to concede a penalty in the second half but his 82nd minute not only earned the Gunners a deserved point but also kept them unbeaten this season.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

This man has become a regular in the Team of the Week now. The Belgium international showed his versatility in the win over QPR on Sunday, starting out in the centre of the defence before switching to left-back after half time. He was spot on with his tackles throughout the match and led the counter-attack for the second goal. He looked solid and also made a goal-saving tackle late in the game to deny Junior Holiett.

Ashley Cole (Chelsea)

Surely the best left-back in England if not the world. Cole was the difference on Saturday as Chelsea scraped past Stoke at home. He hasn’t scored a goal for a while, but displayed coolness as he flicked the ball over the advancing Begovic as a seasoned striker.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

The Spain international has settled to life in the Premier League following his move from Malaga and once again produced a master-class against champions Manchester City. He was at the heart of all of Arsenal’s best play and troubled the City defence with his intelligent movement and passing. His shot on goal led to the corner from which Koscielny equalised.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

The England international skipper was once again brilliant against Manchester United for the 10-man Liverpool with a display which was full of aggression, determination and emotion. He rose to the occasion and gave his team the lead on such an important day for the club was perfect scenario but to see him on the losing end was a bit sad.

Kevin Nolan (West Ham)

He was the man who led West Ham back to the Premier League and it looks like he is man who will keep them up this season. He looked the player most likely to score for the hosts against Sunderland. He came close with two overhead kicks and troubled the opposition’s back four throughout the game. In the dying minutes he scored a sweet volley and completely deserved the goal.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The Belgium international has been very impressive for the Toffees this season and was once again at his best at Swansea. He scored Everton’s third, set up their first and played a role in the second. His presence was always a threat to the Swansea defence as he broke up play and often got involved in his side’s attacks.

Rickie Lambert (Southampton)

At the start of the season, many people doubted his ability to succeed in the top flight and I am sure they must be regretting it now. He took his goal scoring tally to four in five league games after scoring a brace against Aston Villa. He fired home the equaliser from the edge of the box before scoring from the spot in injury time to complete the four goal rout.

Hugo Rodallega (Fulham)

It’s very hard to play against your old team at their home ground and score a goal against them. Rodallega was not only the star performer for Fulham in their first away win of the season at Wigan, but like a true sportsman he didn’t celebrate both the goals (scored one and created one) and showed some respect to his former employees.

Top Five Keepers Who Can Replace Reina At Liverpool

According to the reports, Liverpool have given Pepe Reina until January to prove his ability to fit into Brendan Rodgers’ new system, or face being sold.

Reina’s role as Spain’s second choice keeper has already been given to Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and his club career looks in danger of following the same path, but who could replace him at Anfield? Here, IntoTheTopCorner has a look at the top five candidates..

1. MICHEL VORM (SWANSEA CITY)

The Dutch international has been very impressive since moving to the Premier League from FC Utrecht a year ago. Vorm kept 13 clean sheets in 37 appearances last season and his performances won him the Fans’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and the Away Players’ Player of the Year awards. The 28-year-old worked under the current Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers at the Liberty Stadium last season. Good reflexes, good ball distribution and comfortable with ball at his feet, Vorm fits into Rodgers’s system perfectly.

2. CRAIG GORDON (FREE AGENT)

The Scotish international was once famously hailed as one of the best keepers in the world by Gianluigi Buffon, but with him currently being a free agent, it looks like no one is willing to take a gamble on the injury-prone former Sunderland stopper. Though a move to Liverpool would be a risk for the club, should they keep him injury free and get the best out of him, then it could be the bargain buy of the year.

3. JACK BUTLAND (BIRMINGHAM CITY)

Jack Butland’s performances for Team GB at the London Olympics 2012 has done justice to his hype that had build around him after being selected in the England squad for the Euros. The youngster has only played first-team football in League Two while on loan at Cheltenham Town, but was tipped for a move to one of the top Premier League sides this summer. Signing Butland would be a major gamble due to his age and experience, but he could develop into one of the top keepers in the world and occupy the number one spot for many years to come.

4. MAARTEN STEKELENBURG (AS ROMA)

The Dutch number one inherited the jersey from the former Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar upon his retirement from national football. Since then Stekelenburg has improved steadily and has also made AS Roma’s number one jersey his own ousting current Liverpool back-up Doni at the Stadio Olimpico. With the rise of Tim Krul in the last year or so, the Roma man may need to move elsewhere to fight off the challenge for the Netherlands number one jersey and a move Liverpool could be the best opportunity. He being a product of the Ajax academy, it won’t be difficult for him to adjust to Rodgers’ style of football.

5. MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)

The German has got many scouts from across Europe excited with his performances in the Bundesliga over the past season. Just 20 years old, Ter Stegen has already made his debut for the senior Germany side and also saved a penalty from Lionel Messi in the recent international freindly. The young keeper forced himself into Gladbach’s starting XI while still a teenager and is a very exciting prospect for the future. His style of goalkeeping has been frequently compared to the great German keeper – Oliver Kahn

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 3

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting third weekend in the Premier League. Arsenal and Tottenham have provided atleast two players, while there is one ech from West Brom, Swansea, Norwich, Sunderland, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Brad Friedel (Tottenham Hotspur)
The American again proved to everyone that age is just a number. He made a number of important saves, especially from Johnson late on to stop Norwich from taking all three points, but the highlight was his reflex save from Snodgrass in the first half. However, he couldn’t do much about the close-range strike for the goal. He is surely going give new signing Hugo Lloris a tough competition for the number one spot in the team.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The former Ajax skipper put in another impressive display for his new club. The Belgium international was solid at the back and made the most number of clearances this weekend. He was a constant threat to deal with for the Canaries during set-pieces and also at the same time made his presence felt while defending.

Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal)
The strong Belgium international led his side from the front. He was rock solid at the back and played an important role in starting the attacks from the back line. His smart interception towards the end, from Mannone’s block prevent Liverpool getting back in the game.

Gareth McAuley (West Brom Albion)
Like the other two defenders in this team, McAuley was also rock solid at the back for the Baggies. He did an excellent job in dealing with aerial threat of Fellaini. He scored the second goal of the game from a corner to seal all three points for his side.

Nathan Dyer (Swansea City)
The Englishman has been very impressive this season, and was again the Swans’ most effective man going forward. His pace and drive was very important for the hosts and he troubled Jack Colback throughout the game. He created the first goal for Wayne Routledge with a delightful chip and also had three shots on target during the game.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
The Gunners’ most impressive player so far this season was again at his best at Anfield. His Spanish class was evident almost every time had had the ball. He always found space, especially to recieve Podolski’s pass before setting him up to score and then he repeated the same trick from the other side of the combination, his movement and powerful finish were just superb.

Abou Diaby (Arsenal)
The Frenchman was one of the stars of the weekend. He displayed some fearsome strength in holding the ball, passed it with accuracy and provided his side with the momentum to build attacks. If he can stay fit for the whole season, then he has shown that he is more than perfect replacement for Alex Song.

Robert Snodgrass (Norwich)
The former Leeds United man was the star of the match. Caused the Spurs defence a lot of problems from the right and came very close of scoring in the first half, only see to see Friedel make an amazing reflex save. He capped an impressive display with a much deserved goal which earned his team an important point at White Hart Lane.

Steven Fletcher (Sunderland)
The former Wolves forward made an impressive debut for the Black Cats by scoring twice at the Liberty stadium. He was not much involved in the build-up play but showed his great finishing instincts with two good goals. He finished off the first sweetly after Williams’ mistake and then showed determination to bundle home under pressure from Chico.

Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)
The Argentine was again on top form as he helped his side defeat QPR at the Etihad Stadium during the weekend. His cross from the left provided the assist for Edin Dzeko’s goal and then capped a very impressive display with a goal after he turned in Dzeko’s shot in injury time. He completely deserved the goal and has now scored in all of City three Premier League games this season.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
The Dutch international turned from villain to hero in the space of 20 minutes. He equalised for the Red Devils in the first half but his overly-confident penalty in the second half was saved buy Kelvin Davis and it looked like he had blown the chance away for United to get back in the game. However, he scored twice in the last five minutes and earned himself a match winning hat-trick.