the weekend's top performers

Team of the Week

April 18, 2010
By Chris Murphy
(Archive)

No surprise that this week's edition comprises three Tottenham players after their stellar four days, and leading the pack is their Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes. After three memorable saves in the midweek north London derby, Gomes carried his form into Saturday's defeat of Chelsea. Concentration has been a problem for him in the past, but as he displayed when repelling fierce drives from Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard, as well as a late Didier Drogba effort, he was a fully fledged member of what Ron Atkinson likes to call the 'Wide Awake Club'.

Michael Dawson: Did his England chances no harm this week
GettyImagesMichael Dawson: Did his England chances no harm this week

• Premier League gallery

In the face of Manchester United's fired up, noisy neighbours, Nemanja Vidic stood tall as he has done so often in a red shirt. In a scrappy game of few chances, Vidic and his centre-half partner, Jonny Evans, dealt comfortably with the three-pronged threat of Craig Bellamy, Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor. The Serb typified a tireless display by those in United's rearguard.

The visit of Burnley was never going to mean Alan Hutton would be pinned down in his own half, unable to break out downfield, and so it proved. The right-back, on loan from Spurs, charged down the flank time and time again providing a host of quality balls, one of which led to the opening goal for Fraizer Campbell.

What a good time for Michael Dawson to turn in a stupendous display, with England boss Fabio Capello watching on from the stands. Imperious against Arsenal in midweek, Dawson was even better when faced with the league leaders. Seldom out of position, and throwing head, neck, boot and bum in the way of anything that came his way, Dawson's performance was so good he may as well have had "Thou shalt not pass" tattooed on his forehead.

If Dawson was imperious at the back, Gareth Bale was sensational going forward over the 180 minutes. Bale chalked up a superb goal against Chelsea; turning Paulo Ferreira inside out before firing past Petr Cech with his weaker, right foot, and if Pavlyuchenko and co. had had their shooting boots on, he'd have a clutch of assists to boot. A young man bang in form.

Charles N'Zogbia claimed nearly a third of Wigan's 19 shots on goal against Arsenal, but there's no doubt he saved the best for last. With the game edging into stoppage time, N'Zogbia danced round a gaggle of Gunners defenders before slamming a shot past the hapless Lukasz Fabianski, and in off the post. It was his corner that caused the calamitous 'keeper to drop the ball onto Titus Bramble's head for the leveller, too.

When a manager describes his chief playmaker as being "on a different planet", we can hardly leave him out of team of the week, can we? Actually, we could, if we had taken particular offence at his childish poke of Morten Gamst Pedersen's eye but, outside of that, Mikel Arteta was truly majestic. He conned Ryan Nelsen into bringing him down for Everton's early penalty, which he converted, then set about running the show for Moyes' men.

Wigan may have pipped Bolton for comeback of the weekend, but Owen Coyle won't care one bit. His side were stumbling to defeat at Stoke before Matthew Taylor's purple three-minute patch hauled them to Premier League safety. First he blasted a free kick under the wall and into the net and then he got on the end of Vladimir Weiss' cross to seal a breathless turnaround.

Matt Taylor seals the second best comeback of the weekend
GettyImagesMatt Taylor seals the second best comeback of the weekend

Paul Scholes' reward for signing a year's contract extension at Manchester United was a full 93 minutes against their city rivals. The 35-year-old doesn't complete as many games as he used to but, as City pushed forward in search of a winner of their own, Sir Alex Ferguson told the 'ginger ninja' to push on himself. He got the goal his cultured performance deserved with 17 seconds of the match left, as his superb header beat Shay Given and settled the derby.

Talk about an instant impact. Yakubu laboured onto the field with 11 minutes left of Everton's game with Blackburn, scored with his first touch ten seconds later, before an exquisite piece of skill in stoppage time set him free inside the area to provide a simple cross for Tim Cahill to seal an impressive win for the Toffees that kept their European dream alive.

Darren Bent may have notched his 23rd goal of the Premier League season during Sunderland's 2-1 win over Burnley but it was laid on a plate for him by Fraizer Campbell. The former Manchester United front man nodded David Meyler's cross into Bent's path for the second, after he had tucked the first home from a cute Alan Hutton cross.

What a week for Harry Redknapp. The Tottenham boss had a job on his hands to lift spirits after his side were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup by Portsmouth last Sunday, but six points in four days from the visits of Arsenal and Chelsea are confirmation of a task well managed. He set Spurs up to shackle Arsenal and play on the break with huge success on Wednesday before he abandoned caution for outright attacking verve against the Blues. On both occasions, he got it spot on.