the weekend's top performers

Team of the Week

December 13, 2009
By Chris Murphy

Clean sheets were hard to come by in the Premier League this weekend, but there were two at the KC Stadium as Hull's Boaz Myhill and Blackburn's Paul Robinson both recorded a shutout.

A topless Younes Kaboul gets his marching orders from Steve Bennett
GettyImages / Graham StuartA topless Younes Kaboul gets his marching orders from Steve Bennett

In such a tight game one goal can often settle things, so if Robinson hadn't made a vital save when Craig Fagan went clean through, Sam Allardyce may have suffered defeat at the hands of his apprentice, Phil Brown.

Despite Mick McCarthy's assertion that Wolves hadn't been "mullered" at Spurs they still had to withstand a fair amount of pressure, so Christophe Berra fully merits his place in our back four. The Wanderers centre-back broke up his fair share of Tottenham possession and played a huge part in securing Wolves' second clean sheet of the season.

Debate raged in the ESPN Soccernet office as to whether Younes Kaboul deserved his place in our team of the week, after he scored an injury time equaliser for Portsmouth at Sunderland, took his shirt off to celebrate and was promptly sent off. But given his excellent performance at both ends of the field, his late goalscoring heroics, and the fact that it's a stupid rule, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

One of several heroes to emerge from Aston Villa's first win at Old Trafford since 1983 was Richard Dunne. The former City defender will have taken more pleasure than most from the three points, after receiving his fair share of stick throughout the match. That Wayne Rooney was so poor was in part due to Dunne, who didn't afford the England striker a sniff in the penalty area.

Before his goal-of-the-decade contender, we'd barely registered Maynor Figueroa's contribution at the Britannia Stadium, but there's no doubting his place in the line up after a stunning strike from fully 60 yards. Spotting Thomas Sorensen off his line, the left-back thumped a free-kick over his head and into the top corner. The goal of a lifetime.

Lee Bowyer claims a spot on the right flank after netting his sixth goal of the season to help Birmingham to a 1-0 win over his former club West Ham. The 32-year-old ghosted into the box to stroke the ball past Rob Green and for once, he showed a dose of humility, by barely celebrating the goal that consigned the club he supports to a place in the bottom three.

Another spirited showing from Fulham nearly condemned Burnley to their second home defeat of the season, before Wade Eliott popped up with a sumptuous, back-post volley. Ghosting in at the far post he met Stephen Jordan's cross with a technically superb side-footed volley, that roared past Mark Schwarzer and ensured Owen Coyle's men a share of the spoils.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger celebrate with a beaming Andrei Arshavin
GettyImages / Clive Brunskill Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger celebrates with a beaming Andrei Arshavin at Anfield

Carlos Tevez matched Ivan Klasnic's feat at the Reebok, with a brace of superb goals. His first blockbuster owed a small part to a deflection, but his second was a masterful finish after he worked space on the left side of the area and flashed a powerful shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Didier Drogba also notched a double, in Chelsea's home draw with Everton, but it didn't stop him getting a mouthful of abuse from his own keeper, Petr Cech. Before his contretemps with Chelsea's hapless custodian, Drogba had swept an instinctive shot into the net for his first, then coolly slotted a Branislav Ivanovic cross for number two. Despite his brace, Cech still blamed Drogba for Everton's third goal, as paranoid 'keepers are prone to do.

Gabriel Agbonlahor's goal at Old Trafford means he has now scored against Manchester United for four successive seasons, but this was the first time one of his strikes led to a Villa win. It was he who fed Ashley Young in the build up, and he who nipped in front of Nemanja Vidic to glance the ball past Tomas Kuszczak and seal a famous win for Martin O'Neill's side.

Another game at Anfield, another quiet afternoon for Andrei Arshavin. The Russian grabbed four goals on his first appearance at Liverpool's famous old ground, this time out he managed only one, but what a belter it was. Shifting his feet in an instant, Arshavin took the ball inside Glen Johnson and smashed an unstoppable shot in off the post, to consign the Reds to two home defeats in the space of five days.

Our gaffer is surely the Premier League's most no-nonsense manager, Mick McCarthy, after guiding Wolves to a 1-0 success at White Hart Lane. It is the first time Wanderers' have recorded back-to-back wins in the top flight in 26 years and the first time they've won in London since 1979. Who can deny the man success when he comes out with gems such as this: "I don't care about stats. Somebody told me the other day they had played well on prozone, but do I give a flying about that? No I don't."