Wayne and Rob’s EPL Team of the WeekBy: Wayne Farry | January 12th, 2009
First of all, I’d like to say I’m delighted to be back blogging after a fairly shitty start to the Christmas period. Although I’m pretty sure no-one noticed my absence it’s still good to be back.
And I mark my return with the resumption of the feature that Rob and I kicked off about a month ago; our EPL Team of the Week. So, enough of the pleasantries, let’s get to business with our team.
This was one of the more difficult decisions out of the team. Not because there were any standout performances, quite the opposite in fact. There appeared to be little action for most of the keepers to be honest. In the end, we decided to choose Arsenal’s Manuel Almunia. He got a good clean sheet against Bolton, making some nice saves and looking steady throughout. So although it wasn’t a sterling performance, it was the best we could find.
First off here, we’ve chosen Michael Dawson of Spurs. Although Spurs lost to a late Figueroa goal against Wigan, Dawson had a very solid display. Like his great display against Burnley in midweek he commanded the area and showed the confidence needed. For me at least, he’s really starting to fulfill his genuine potential. For our second and third choices, quite unsurprisingly we’ve chosen two Man United players in Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic. The two centre-backs were so composed throughout United’s drubbing of Chelsea. Vidic got most of the plaudits for his goal and general excellent play but Evans too was immense during this match. For a 20 year old, he showed incredible maturity and composure and it shows how highly Sir Alex rates purely by the fact that he played him instead of the more experienced John O’Shea or Wes Brown. Finally in defence we’ve chosen Everton’s Phil Jagielka. Ever since he entered the EPL with the Blades the Jag has looked ever more comfortable at this level, and this season especially he has taken to his defensive role like a duck to water. Everton are in great form and have had a lot of clean sheets lately. They were never really threatened by Hull and this was down to the Everton midfielders and defenders cutting out chances before they’d even occurred. Another sturdy performance from Jagielka who deserves praise, not only for this weekend’s performance, but for his performance this season in general.
Our first choice for midfield is Ryan Giggs. Giggsy’s performance against Chelsea on Sunday showed that wingers don’t have to retire earlier than other players, if a player has the awareness and adaptability to adopt a new position it can extend his career for quite a long time. That’s what Giggs appears to be doing. He looked a bit shaky at the start of the match, misplacing passes and such but after a while he began to pull the strings. He wove some intricate moves with beautiful passes and showed perhaps his most underrated skill in abundance, his tackling. A very good performance from a true pro. Secondly, we’ve chosen the imperious Mikel Arteta of Everton. His displays lately have been nothing short of majestic. His two goals against Sunderland were both really well-taken and his free kick against Hull was simply superb. It’s no coincidence that his return to form has coincided with Everton’s and he is now beginning to own the matches that he plays in. Our penultimate midfield choice is another Toffee, Marouane Fellaini. I was very sceptical about the afro-headed Belgian when he first came, if only because of the fee. But to his credit, he’s settled well in the EPL, netting some vital goals and getting about the pitch with the sort of gusto that Moyes would have hoped for when he signed him. One downside is his tendency to get booked, alot! His 10th yellow of the season against Hull will see him miss the two upcoming Merseyside derbies which is a huge blow to Moyes’ thread-bare squad. Finally we’ve chosen Middlesbrough’s Stewart Downing in midfield. In my opinion this guy is overrated but he put on a very good display against the Black Cats on Saturday. His distribution was good and he had some lovely shots that were well stopped by Fulop in the Sunderland goal.
Up front we have two of the EPL’s most explosive strikers. First off we have Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie. RVP has been in great form lately, scoring some cracking and important goals for Wenger’s boys. He played a huge part in the Gunner’s win over Bolton and his cross to Bendtner for the winner was sublime. He appears to be in the form of his life. Secondly, we have Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney. Rooney was probably the most committed player on the OT pitch on Sunday. From start to finish he was all running and all action. His quick-thinking corner resulted in a goal that should have stood and his finish for United’s second goal was sublime if unorthodox.
So there we go. A long, long EPL Team of the Week round-up but that’s what happens sometimes. Let us know what you think about our choices and if you think they’re correct or not.