Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Week 3 Best XI...

From ESPN:
GK: Craig Gordon (Sunderland)
Pascal Chimbonda (Tottenham)
Sol Campbell (Portsmouth)
Micah Richards (Man City)
Mohamed Sissoko (Liverpool)
Nani (Man Utd)
Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham)
Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)
Cameron Jerome (Birmingham)
El Hadji Diouf (Bolton)
Ashley Young (Aston Villa)

Eyebrows were raised when Roy Keane splashed nine million pounds on Craig Gordon but they will have been lowered after his performance against Liverpool on Saturday. The Scotland number one was busy all afternoon and kept the score-line respectable for the home side. He is going to have ample opportunity to show his pedigree in what is shaping up to be a long season for the Black Cats.

Pascal Chimbonda
gave a great all-round full-back's display at Old Trafford showing off both his defensive capabilities and attacking instincts. He shepherded the United trio of Carlos Tevez, Nani and Ryan Giggs when called upon and won the battle against his opposite number Patrice Evra with his dangerous marauding runs down the right flank.

Sol Campbell
, possibly enlivened by his recall to the recent England squad, was a rock in the Portsmouth defence as Pompey gave Chelsea a fright at the Bridge with a confident, assured display. Campbell made a couple of important tackles, racing back and using his strength to deny the home team.

Micah Richards
personally capped another great week in a season of great weeks so far with another outstanding performance for Manchester City. He faced Emanuel Adebayor and the lanky Gunner was second best against England's rising star (so much so he was subbed later on). Richards also gave a mature performance in midweek for the national team.

Tom Huddlestone
gave an elegant display in the Spurs midfield and his repertoire of passing was on full display as he helped carve out several chances for Martin Jol's side at Old Trafford. He showed up ex-Spurs man Michael Carrick (who was substituted after an hour) and was always involved in the hub of the action for the visitors.

Cesc Fabregas again shouldered the burden of delivering the goods for Arsenal as they grabbed a single goal victory against a resurgent Manchester City at the Emirates. It was from the youthful foot Fabregas that the points were secured. The Spaniard darted in to the penalty area before firing past the otherwise impressive Caspar Schmeichel late on.

Mohammed Sissoko
slipped in to the notin-any-way-daunting-at-all boots of Steven Gerrard at the Stadium of Light and was a more than able deputy. He scored a great goal too, a pile-driver from twenty-five yards. Close your eyes, and you could have sworn it was Stevie G who hit it. Except you wouldn't have seen it (but if you had the commentary on the TV you would have known who scored).

Ashley Young
was man of the match for Aston Villa against Fulham and was a constant threat with his searing pace. He went close with a couple of efforts, then received a bit of help when his shot deflected in off Zat Knight for the first Villa goal. There was nothing remotely fortunate about Young's role in the winner though as he provided a wonderfully executed slide rule pass for Maloney to slot home.

Steve Bruce got some valuable return on the £3 million he spent on Cameron Jerome when the striker bagged a brace to win the game for the Blues at Derby. Jerome struck the first after just thirty seconds, latching on to a fine Mikael Fossael pass to beat Stephen Bywater. The winner was a volley from fifteen yards after Sebastian Larsson's flick to give Birmingham a valuable three points against one of their fellow promoted sides.

Nani made his home debut for Manchester United and crowned the day with a stunning goal to give his side their first win of the season against Spurs. Alex Ferguson envisaged a marginal role for the 20 year old this season. If this is so, then they have themselves one hell of a substitute. Nani, turned and hit an unstoppable shot from thirty yards past England's number one (whatever connotations that title confers on its owner these days).

Mr Popularity El-Hadji Diouf rolled up his sleeves and showed his fight for the battle by masterminding Bolton's first win of the season against Reading. Well, perhaps. Or, Mr Popularity El Hadji Diouf realizes the transfer window looms large and if it slams shut on Friday he will remain plying his trade at the Reebok for at least another half season, so decided to remind would be suitors he is a decent player. Anyroad, whichever it is, he played well. And for that his manager Sammy Lee will be more than grateful. To say Lee has a difficult job following Sam Allardyce in to the Bolton hotseat goes without saying. A diabolical start has made him bookies favorite for the axe but if he can hold on to Messrs Anelka and Diouf and his side continue to put in performances like the one which brought a 3-0 win against in-form Reading, then things may swing in his favour.


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