PL Team of the Week
Last Updated: 22/01/13 11:24am
Team of the Week
Adam Federici - Reading
Battling off strong competition from QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar, the goalkeeper of the week was surely the Royals No 1. Adam Le Fondre took the headlines with a brace in Reading's 2-1 win at Newcastle but the game would have been over by the time the striker emerged from the bench had it not been for Federici. The Australian produced a series of saves from Papiss Cisse to keep his team in it. "He made a couple of really good saves and when you come to somewhere like Newcastle you need your goalkeeper to play well," admitted Reading boss Brian McDermott.
Cesar Azpilicueta - Chelsea
While Arsenal's right-back Bacary Sagna was enduring a miserable time of it for the opposition, the Chelsea man was delivering another all-action display for the home side in their 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The Basque full-back has given the Blues an added dimension on the right of the pitch - as shown by his quality pass for Juan Mata's early goal that set the side on their way to victory. "It is normal when you come to another country, with a different language, that you need a little time to settle down," he told Sky Sports last week. "Now, I feel at home and I am very happy." It shows.
Clint Hill - QPR
"They played it up to their front men and we came under pressure, we found it difficult," admitted Harry Redknapp after QPR came under a barrage of pressure at West Ham on Saturday. "We got pushed back and found it difficult to get out." They did. But they held on for the 1-1 draw and that owed much to the determination of their veteran centre-back. As the 34-year-old pointed out last month in a tirade against those in the dressing room who were not showing full commitment: "The message is simple: you have to be together and be up for the fight." Thanks to players like Hill, that's exactly the spirit that the Hoops are now showing.
Daniel Agger - Liverpool
A 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa last month marked the nadir of Liverpool's season so far. But since then the Reds have been in devastating form at Anfield. While the plaudits have quite rightly gone to the forward players having scored 12 goals in three back-to-back home wins in the Premier League, it is worth noting that they have been accompanied by consecutive clean sheets too. Agger's strength in the air as well as his composure on the ball has enabled him to play a key role in both stopping the opposition and providing a springboard for attacks.
Ben Davies - Swansea
When Neil Taylor suffered a broken leg just hours after the transfer window closed, some were wondering how Swansea could adequately replace the Wales international. But Michael Laudrup has shown faith in Taylor's teenage understudy and it has proven a wise move. The 19-year-old left-back has impressed this season and even showed he could add goals to his game by grabbing the crucial opener in Saturday's 3-1 win over Stoke at the Liberty Stadium. "We needed something special to get the first goal - and if it came from an unlikely source," admitted Laudrup. "Ben deserved it for what he has achieved this season."
Jordan Henderson - Liverpool
Weighed down by the pressure of a staggering price tag, it's not been the happiest of times for the former Sunderland midfielder at Anfield. But this performance could well be a turning point in the career of the 22-year-old England international. His stunning strike to open the scoring in the five-goal thrashing of Norwich on Saturday confirmed his improving form and Liverpool supporters will be more confident than ever that Henderson can become the £20million man after all.
Ramires - Chelsea
The debate continues to rage regarding the penalty decision at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. Was it a penalty? Was it a red card? It was certainly the pivotal moment of the match as Frank Lampard converted the spot-kick that gave Chelsea a two-goal lead that Arsenal were not quite able to claw back. And it was fitting that Ramires was the man who won that penalty. The Brazilian does not have the flair of some of the players in front of him in the Blues midfield but he is the player who provides the energy and drive from the centre of the pitch that can prove decisive in the key moments. Just like on Sunday.
Jonathan de Guzman - Swansea
The Dutch midfielder was being watched by Louis van Gaal's national team assistant Danny Blind at the weekend and chose the perfect time to show exactly what he is capable of. The Canadian-born 25-year-old netted twice in a convincing win for the Swans and thoughts immediately turned to securing the man on-loan from Villarreal on a permanent deal. "He is a player I'd like to stay and I hope we can work out a deal with Villarreal," said Laudrup, quoted in the Daily Mirror. "Jonathan is very happy here but it depends a lot on what Villarreal want. We are going to try what we can and we will see if it is enough."
David Silva - Man City
It was a routine victory for the Premier League champions at home to Fulham on Saturday. But there was nothing routine about the classy performance that David Silva produced to liven up a cold day at the Etihad Stadium. The 27-year-old Spaniard had scored just once for City this season prior to the weekend but tripled his tally for the campaign with a goal in each half to see off the Cottagers. City supporters will be hoping it is the start of a huge second half of the season for the influential playmaker.
Adam Le Fondre - Reading
The man known as Alf has been forced to get used to his role as an impact substitute for Brian McDermott's side this season. It may not be the role he would prefer but one thing is for certain - he is revelling in it. The 26-year-old striker didn't know too much about his equaliser at Newcastle on Saturday but his late winner was the mark of a man playing with confidence. Le Fondre now has eight Premier League goals for the season despite starting just eight games for the Royals.
Steven Fletcher - Sunderland
There were question marks over the money Martin O'Neill paid Wolves for the Scotland international forward in the summer but the doubters have been proven wrong by a series of classy displays. Fletcher's imperious brace against Wigan at the weekend was the difference between victory and defeat as the Black Cats edged to a vital 3-2 win. That takes the 25-year-old striker to 10 Premier League goals for the third campaign in a row - the only other man to achieve that feat so far this season is Robin van Persie.