Team of the Week

April 23, 2006
By Alex Sharratt
(Archive)

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Kelvin Davis

Danny Gabbidon 
Jamie Carragher  Matt Taylor 
Michael Carrick Leon Osman
Aaron Lennon


Kevin Davies

Nolberto Salano
  Shola Ameobi     Svetoslav Todorov
Rafa Benitez

Sunderland have been consigned to the Premiership history books for another season, but they almost pulled off a shock victory over Portsmouth that would have gone a long way to dragging Harry Redknapp's side down to the Championship with them.

Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis made a number of excellent saves to give his side a chance of recording only their third win of the season, although the Black Cats did eventually succumb to a 2-1 defeat.

Pompey were able to triumph and move two points clear of the relegation zone thanks to Matty Taylor's late penalty. The former Luton Town player kept his nerve to score from the spot and send the Fratton Park faithful in to raptures.

Taylor is joined in defence by two defenders who shone in their sides' respective FA Cup semi-final victories.

Danny Gabbidon continued his excellent season as he helped West Ham United to their first FA Cup final in 26 years, while Jamie Carragher stood firm at the heart of the Liverpool defence as they held off a strong Chelsea fight-back in a pulsating game at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The weekend's other big game saw Arsenal and Tottenham battle out a 1-1 at Highbury as Spurs kept their noses in front in the race for the final Champions League spot.

Michael Carrick played a controversial role in the build-up to Robbie Keane's strike, but was again excellent in front of the watching England manager, who must surely have been impressed by the range and quality of the holding midfielder's passing.

And young team-mate Aaron Lennon also continued hid late bid for inclusion in the England World Cup squad with another dynamic display down the Spurs right.

Meanwhile, Leon Osman shone like a beacon in a sea of mediocrity in Everton's draw with Birmingham, and Nolberto Solano took up the baton after the retirement of Alan Shearer to lead Newcastle to a comfortable 3-0 win over West Brom.

Shola Ameobi netted twice in that win at St James's Park in a display that suggested he might be the perfect man to replace Shearer in the black-and-white next season, while Svetoslav Todorov made up for a couple of earlier misses with Portsmouth's 72nd-minute equaliser in their crucial win.

Kevin Davies wins the final spot for his two-goal display as Sam Allardyce won hands-down the battle of the prospective England managers with Alan Curbishley as Bolton side routed Charlton 4-1.

And Rafa Benitez is our manager of the week for tactically outwitting Jose Mourinho and ensuring that English silverware will be spread evenly this season.

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