the weekend's top performers

Team of the Week

April 4, 2010
By Chris Murphy
(Archive)

Scant consolation it may be for a devastated Marcus Hahnemann, who was finally beaten deep into stoppage time by Nicklas Bendtner, but the American stopper claims our number one jersey after a gargantuan performance against Arsenal. After excellent saves from Eduardo, Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and Mikael Silvestre, Hahnemann probably thought a clean sheet beckoned, but he was finally beaten by the Dane's powerful last-gasp header.

Emmaneul Adebayor and Carlos Tevez ripped Burnley to pieces
GettyImagesEmmaneul Adebayor and Carlos Tevez ripped Burnley to pieces

Hahnemann also made a smart save from Bacary Sagna, who took a leaf out of Barcelona's book by galloping down the flank at every opportunity. The Frenchman poured forward and nearly broke the deadlock with a snap shot inside the area. And as the game neared its end he burst forward once more and delivered the perfect cross for Bendtner to keep the Gunners' title dreams alive.

Liverpool's Champions League hopes took a knock at Birmingham after Liam Ridgewell popped up to deny the visitors three points. The full-back made a superb burst forward for the equaliser, latching onto James McFadden's cross at the back post. He very nearly provided a winner for Lee Bowyer too, with a measured cross, but the midfielder somehow contrived to miss from close range.

Richard Dunne and his fellow Aston Villa defenders deserve enormous credit for bouncing back from their seven-goal hammering at Chelsea last weekend to shut out Bolton at the Reebok on Saturday. The Irishman took a battering after the mauling at Stamford Bridge and while Bolton may have had less potency in attack than Chelsea, a clean sheet preserved three points for Martin O'Neill's men.

Chelsea were cock-a-hoop after they beat Manchester United in the battle of Old Trafford, and Yuri Zhirkov and Joe Cole were prominent in their victory. Cole showed glimpses of the form that made him an England regular of the past - his finish for the opening goal showed wonderful craft - and was lively throughout the match.

Russian full-back Zhirkov successfully shackled Antonio Valencia down the flank, even if he was a little fortunate not to concede a penalty after bundling into Park Ji-sung, and offered a constant outlet for his side going forward.

Ashley Young served notice that he hasn't given up on a Champions League place, or a slot in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad with a superb winning goal for Villa at Bolton. The winger collected Stephen Warnock's pass before curling an exquisite shot into the far corner beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen.

If West Ham are going to get out of the relegation scrap they find themselves embroiled in, then Scott Parker is exactly the sort of character to lead them to safety. The former Chelsea midfielder hardly put a foot wrong against Everton, apart from one late tackle that earned him his tenth yellow card of the season and a two match ban. He led by example in an intense midfield battle, pressurising Everton's attacking players tirelessly and driving his side on to a richly deserved point.

Didier Drogba celebrates his match-winning goal at Old Trafford
GettyImagesDidier Drogba celebrates his match-winning goal at Old Trafford

Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez ripped Burnley apart at Turf Moor in embarrassingly easy fashion. The Togo striker slammed home a half volley after just four minutes before Tevez's perfectly weighted pass put Craig Bellamy in to score a minute later. The Argentina striker grabbed a poacher's goal for himself after Brian Jensen had fumbled Adebayor's shot, then he returned the favour by threading a beautiful ball for Adebayor to run on to and notch the fifth.

He may not have played for long, and the goal he scored may have been a tad offside, but there's no denying that Didier Drogba's strike for Chelsea at Old Trafford could be a huge turning point in the title race. The Ivorian had only been on the field for nine minutes but as he latched onto Salomon Kalou's pass, he hammered the Blues into a two-goal lead and sent them top of the table.

No need for Carlo Ancelotti to hand back his manager of the week crown after he steered Chelsea to a thoroughly deserved victory at the home of their main title rivals. Since their wobble in March, when Inter knocked them out of the Champions League, the Italian has regrouped and reinvigorated his team, culminating in their superb win at Old Trafford which could go a long way towards securing the Premier League title in his first season in charge - no mean feat.