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Barclay's Premier League Team of the Week : Match day 17
Hi guys, Mr Awbery here and i have decided to make the jump from the world of Virtual Football to Real life football, and give you my insight into the Team of the week for the weekend of the 15th December... but that's for later, here is a quick reminder of this weeks results just in case you forgot!
Now for the fun part - My team of the week...
I will go through position by position, starting from upfront - and explain why i believe this player should have been chosen, some will be controversial, and if you disagree with any of what i posted, please comment and voice your opinion... You must remember that this is just my opinion, and i will more than likely be wrong on a few choices
I decided that there should only be one striker - he deserves to be up there on his own...
In midfield, i have put 5 men there, due to the impressive nature of the midfield this weekend - Those men are - Santi Cazorla, Adel Taraabt, Wes Hoolahan, Yaya Toure and Tom Cleverley
Defense - Four man defense consisting of Ashley Williams, Jan Vertonghen, Leighton Baines and Ciaran Clark
Analysis coming up!
There is no doubt in my mind who should be upfront... This man had an absolute stormer against Liverpool, away from home, and pretty much performed a solo destruction on them. Not only did he grab himself two tasty goals, but also set up a goal for A. Weimann, and the set up itself was worthy of a goal.
It is obviously, Christian Benteke...
His first goal showed that he meant business against Liverpool, receiving a non threatening pass from Holman, he turned inside, and hit a curled 22 yard strike, which (albeit with the assist of the woodwork and a particularly poorly positioned Pepe Reina) found the net . Liverpool had applied all the pressure and got nowhere ... 1-0
For the second goal, he did not score it himself, but the grace and footwork shown to provide A. Weimann with the space to finish, well, was sublime.
Benteke had played a pass and received it back in space, in which he drove solidly. The man mountain showed pace as well as strength, but looked to be going nowhere, Weimann was supporting behind, and Benteke placed a backheel through the gap of two defenders, into the path of the advancing striker, who swept the shot clean of Reina... 2-0
The third summed Aston Villa, and indeed Benteke's game up. The ball was given away by Joe Cole, and Benteke marched through the gap left in the midfield. Weimann took the defender's attention away, and Benteke cut inside on the edge of the 18 yard box. Joe Allen attempted a tackle, but got nowhere the 6ft3 Belgium International, who held of the tackle and finished coolly with a right foot finesse shot... Did i mention he was just 22 years old??
and that is why Benteke is the striker in my team of the week, an amazing performance full of power, grace and speed, definately deserves a place in my team.
Taarabt it again!
This man deserves to be congratulated on his performance versus Fulham, with one lucky deflection, but one mesmerising goal to ensure that QPR received their first win of the premier league season, and to take them off the foot of the table. This alone warrants credit, but the second goal the Moroccan scored was insanely good, and his talent is unquestionable...
He constantly found space within the middle of the park, playing as an attacking midfielder, with Cisse keeping the CB's entertained. He had time to take his touch, and run at defenders, something which Adel is almost Adept in. His first goal came from luck, with a heavy deflection taking the ball away from Schwarzer, but it signalled the problems to come for Fulham. Taraabt had simply too much time to turn and run
His second goal was sublime... he received the ball into feet, and forced the ball through Hangelaand's legs, who really should have done better. Running into space, the defenders backed off and backed off, and with a ball roll and an outside of the foot shot, which dribbled in , QPR were 2-0 up. This goal was fantastic... Pure skill exhibited by a footballer who seems to leak flair, but has never seemed to tickle the fancy of bigger clubs, he could be a top, top player.
He's a battler... All 5'6 of him
The next attacking midfielder i have chosen is Wes Hoolahan...
In the game against Wigan, Hoolahan showed time and time again why he is an experienced midfielder. He constantly dropped deep to receive the ball, and was as always industrious and continued to work for the ball. Receiving a goal and an assist for his work
The first moment of real performance came from Wes Hoolahan, who, originally losing the ball to Boyce, did not give up , and persued him, winning the sliding tackle and playing a pinpoint pass to Pilkington, who fired powerfully home...
The second came when Pilkington found himself up against Boyce, and twisted and turned several times to find a space to cross... When he eventually put the ball into the box, only two Norwich men were available to meet it, but Pilkington picked Hoolahan out, and the 5'6 irishman climbed brilliantly to head to the top left corner of the net. This was the reward he so truly deserved, and the win that Norwich wanted, to continue an unbeaten run which began at the start of october
Santi Claus is coming to town!
The final attacking midfielder i choose is Santi Cazorla, who was part of a 5-2 hammering at Reading, in the Monday match between them.
Nothing screams team of the week like a hattrick, and an assist. This guy ripped a truly soft Reading defense to shreds, and this is just what Arsenal needed. The typical Arsenal would have tip-toed around goals, but they put Reading to the sword today, and Santi was the instigator of that...
His first goal came from a cross from Podolski (I know the wrong way round, Podolski should be scoring headers) in which Cazorla brilliantly controlled a diving header, to beat a poorly positioned keeper.
The second, came once again from a cross... This time it was headed back into the box, in which Cazorla controlled the ball, and on the 180 half volley, scuffed the shot through the legs of the Reading defender, more luck than judgement, but still, a goal nonetheless.
His third goal came much like the first, with a ball outwide to Podolski, who then played a cross in to Cazorla, this time on the floor, who had a tap in from around 10 yards. He couldnt have scored an easier hattrick.
The assist given to Santi came from a through ball to the Striker Walcott (Yes you heard correct) who cut inside to finish neatly in the bottom corner. 5-2 Job done
Toure Tore Newcastle apart
City have been all but convincing this year, and are now trailing their rivals United by 6 points, but the victory, and more importantly performance against Newcastle this weekend proved why City are champions.
One man whose performance which cannot be ignored is Yaya Toure. Known mostly for his defensive midfielder duties, and his bustling runs forward, Toure also showed the finesse side of his game, playing perfectly weighted through balls time and time again. With a goal to his name, and the playmaking he showed, he deserves to be in my team of the week.
Throughout the game, he bossed the midfield, using his strength and ability to keep the Newcastle midfield stressed. The first goal came as a result of a perfect through ball, which split the Newcastle defense, and allowed Nasri to play a simple ball across for Sergio Aguero to finish. This was just one of many passes which Toure made, that deserved goals
His reward finally came when Zabaleta cut the ball back from the left wing, to find Yaya, who had to slide to connect with the ball, which went through Krul's legs. A just goal for the powerful midfielder, who played a great game.
Another stand out performance for me was Tom Cleverley, often berated for his lack of finishing product, he showed his critics why Alex Ferguson remains faithful to the young midfielder.
Industrious as always, Tom Cleverley constantly worked in the midfield, providing a strong partnership with Carrick, and showing United as the passing team they want to be known as. He constantly provided an attacking threat, linking up with Rooney and Van Persie, and also distrubuting wide to both Valencia and Young.
However, his performance was marked due to the fantastic finish that Cleverley provided United fans with. After moving down the left wing, Cleverley made a darting run inside the far left of the 18 yard box, Carrick received the ball, and played a cushioned pass into Cleverley, who finished with the conviction of a striker, with a beautiful curled right foot shot. The keeper did not stand a chance.
The finish alone puts Cleverley in my team of the week. I know when i have watched Cleverley in the England games, i have attacked the young Manchester man's ability to finish, but he proved all the critics and myself wrong in this game. 3-1 United
So there we have it, a midfield consisting of two 5ft6 men scoring headers, a City player more known for his strength than his finess, a Moroccan who single handedly gave QPR their first win, and a United Centre Mid who slotted away like a striker should, not bad eh?
Onto the defense.
Jan the Man
The first defender i would like to name in my Team of the Week is Jan Vertonghen. Not only a strong and commanding centre back, this guy can also finish like a beast, showing against Swansea that he has the ability to change a game. He has scored 26 goals in his career, including 2 in 17 for Tottenham. He can take free-kicks and has the vision to take the centre back role as almost a deep lying playmaker, all this is wrapped up in a neat 6'2 Belgian. Tottenham fans should be ecstatic with this signing.
Not only did Tottenham keep a clean sheet against a Swansea side that have scored against the best, with praise being afforded Vertonghen and Walker for their parts to play, they also went on to beat Swansea, and this was also given to Vertonghen, who scored a sweet volley when Swansea failed to clear a cross. This man is a centre back, but has proved time and time again his versatility by playing sweeping cross field balls, striking long range belters, all the while remaining ever consistent as a centre back.
Theres not much more to say on that.
Ciaran Clark - Defensive Spark?
Ciaran Clark put in a sensational game against Liverpool, maintaining his composure throughout the game and denying the Reds a goal until the point which Villa were 3-0 up. Given the horrendous task of preventing Louis Suarez from scoring, all the while being part of only 3 defenders, with Aston Villa lining up 3-5-2. He has had to stand tall in the absence of the enforcer Vlaar, but he has coped with this exceptionally, and I believe has a really bright future.
Liverpool started strong with all the possession and intent to put Villa to bed early, but Ciaran Clark started stronger, hit harder and prevented what could have been a heavy loss for The Villans. His other centre backs began shakily, with Baker giving away the ball to Suarez early, but Clark inspired his partners, and in the end, were blocking and tackling with the ferocity that they needed. He acted as a veteran centre-back, but at just 23, has a long time to grow before he can be classed as a veteran. He constantly prevented the three pronged attack from making any chances, and liverpool were lucky to even grab a goal, with the deflected shot of Glen Johnson bouncing off of Steven Gerrard's head. 3-1
Although one of his team mates is in the papers for all the wrong reasons, this man should be in it for all the right reasons. Leighton Baines has been the epitome of consistency, constantly toiling down the left wing to provide attacking opportunities, whilst also playing a vital role in the defense. He has scored two goals already, and can always be relied on to put in a performance that you would be proud of.
Stoke was no exception
Against Stoke, you are always going to have a hard time defensively, they have quick wingers and tall strikers, and use this to their advantage. Despite only gaining a point from the game, the defense of the Toffees remained strong, and ignoring a long ball into the box by Shawcross, and a Kenwyne Jones header, the defense looked solid. Baines contained the marauding winger style which Stoke possess, and kept the aerial threat at bay by scuffing it out before it had chance to cause problems.
He even managed to go forward himself, attacking down the right wing and playing a beautiful cutback which Osman should have scored from 12 yards. In a relatively boring game (apart from Fellaini's antics) Baines performed again, and without shining, i believe deserves a place in the team for sheer consistency. 1-1
Defeat, but defiant defensively!
It may seem strange to include a centre back from the losing side, but Ashley Williams deserves credit for his contributions to the game at White Hart Lane. Swansea have been high flying and the signing of Michu has given them the goal scoring outlet they have needed. However, lets not forget the defensive duties which Ashley Williams carries out, and the solid games he has produced for Swansea this season.
Tottenham attacked valiantly, with all the ability of a team within the top four. However, ignoring the goal that Vertonghen scored, the Swansea defense were exceptional, and Ashley Williams in particular deserves to be recognised. As the captain, he organised his backline wonderfully, as they constantly frustrated Adebayor and Defoe with goal line clearances and last ditch tackles, and this is the reason for Williams' inclusion in my team. He hardly put a foot wrong, and may feel slightly hard done by , as replays of Vertonghens goal could suggest offside. If his team would have created more chances, it could have been a win for the Swans, however, top performance from the Welshman
Heart from Hart
Manchester City have looked all too nervy in defense, but against Newcastle, this man literally led from the back, showing the defense just how to keep their goal safe. He did concede, but that is due to a slack moment from his defense in front of him, a top performance from a man who is growing all the time.
Although Manchester City controlled much of the game against Newcastle, this man still had to pull out a number of top saves against a powerful Newcastle squad, composed of last years goal scoring machines Ba and Cissé. When Ba scored a header from the concentration lapse of the City defense, the 50,000 fans inside St Jame's park roared for a come-back, but Jo Hart was on hand to prevent that. Confident performance from the English Number 1, and deservedly in my Team of the week.
I believe this man should be in the Team of the week, however the own goal he conceded meant that i couldnt include him. However, i decided to write a section on him anyway as he deserves credit under the circumstances.
The man deserves a medal, not a place in my team of the week. Time and time again Shawcross prevented the Belgian from having space to manoevure, he provided a strong presence at centre back, and ultimately his only reward was an own goal.
Shawcross had jumped to block a cross from Steven Pienaar, and the ball deflected off him, and beat the dive of Asmir Begovic.
However, the antics of Fellaini are what caused controversy, not the single goal Everton managed to muster. On three seperate occasions Fellaini (I can't even figure the word out to describe it) attacked Shawcross, once with a headbutt, the second time attempting to elbow the young Englishman, and finally punching him in the face. All of this was not seen by the referee, however, and Fellaini has received a retrospective ban of three matches, which I personally do not consider enough with the outrageous behaviour he displayed. Kudos Shawcross, for keeping you temper
Thankyou very much for reading my analysis - please if you liked it, like it, comment and follow me on here, tell me it was good and i will write more. If you didn't, please tell me why? And if you disagree, let me know...