Premier League Team of the Week

October 19, 2008
By Joe Duggan
(Archive)

The Premier League was treated to three goalless draws yesterday. Not the best value for money if you're a fan but Craig Gordon will be pleased with his role in that statistic. The Scotsman was in fine form in the Sunderland goal, denying Jimmy Bullard and Brede Hangeland at Craven Cottage. If only the visitors had had more luck at the other end. More of which later...

Sol Campbell played his part in another 0-0 draw and the big Pompey man was involved in a tussle with the giant Aston villa striker John Carew. He proved himself more than a match for what Villa threw at the Portsmouth backline and protected David James stoutly.

Then there's Michael Turner, who wrote his own chapter in the astonishing Hull success story when he rose highest to head home Andy Dawson's corner against West Ham on Sunday. Hull are happiest when playing teams from the capital and Londoner Turner was part of the defence that kept the Hammers Carlton Cole and Craig Bellamy at bay.

Gael Clichy was man of the match in Arsenal's win over the visiting Everton. Whilst those around him were exhibiting some worrying defensive fragility, Clichy was composure itself as he cleared a goalward bound Joleon Lescott header on the goal-line to stop David Moyes men taking a possibly decisive two goal lead.

Sunderland's Kieran Richardson wins a place in Team of the Week and the sympathy of right-minded fans everywhere for two terrible slices of bad luck. First he saw a free-kick strike both posts (one twice) before Mark Schwarzer put down the crossword to collect the ball. Then he had another free-kick harshly denied due to some shenanigans in the wall from Pascal Chimbonda. You'll get one next week Kieran old son.

Juliano Belletti has a nice little line in long range belters and he pulled one out of the top draw against Middlesbrough on Saturday. From 35 yards, he left Ross Turnbull with absolutely no chance as he whacked home Chelsea's second to blow open the floodgates as Chelsea poured forward and crushed Boro.

Team-mate Frank Lampard bagged another goal for Chelsea in the same game. Although not quite as spectacular as Belleti's screamer, Lampard's diving header was the deserved reward for another driving performance at the heart of an injury-ravaged Chelsea side. Next up - Liverpool.

Spurs fans will be glad to see the back of Tom Soares. The Stoke man, making his full debut, won his side two penalties in their action-packed game at the Britannia Stadium with Danny Higginbotham successfully converting the first. Soares seized on a mistake by Gareth Bale to drive through on goal and the Welshman was sent off as he brought Soares to the ground. He earned a second, which Ricardo Fuller missed, when Jonathan Woodgate felled him late on in the match.

Wayne Rooney is in the form of his life and the unique skills he possesses are being unleashed with a flourish on helpless opponents as confidence courses through him. A wonderful midweek brace for England was followed by another in United's emphatic win against West Brom at Old Trafford. He had another controversially chalked off but nothing could stop the United juggernaut as it gathered pace. Celtic visit on Tuesday. Gordon Strachan has plenty to occupy his mind.

Dirk Kuyt will never win the breathless admiration of the Kop in the way the swashbuckling Fernando Torres does but the Dutchman's honest toil has much to commend it. He earned Liverpool another late victory with a brace of goals, the second of which in the 85th minute was enough to finally break the resolve of 10-man Wigan.

The Latics' Amr Zaki scored one of the goals of the season and will feel mightily aggrieved that he was to end the game at Anfield on the losing side. His first goal was the result of some poor defending from Liverpool's Daniel Agger but the second was 100% made in Egypt. Zaki's genius volley flew past Jose Reina and the on-loan striker's prowess in front of goal will be alerting clubs across the land. Get him signed up quick Steve Bruce.

Luis Felipe Scolari is proving a resounding success in his first year as a Premier League manager. Chelsea are an awesome prospect and they are going to take some stopping if they are not to regain the title from Manchester United. With a clutch of first team regulars missing through injury, Chelsea stormed the Riverside and wrenched a resounding victory from their tricky opponents. Liverpool are sure to provide a sterner test next week.

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