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Four-goal Faris dreams of AFC Cup final


Team of the Week

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Jussi Jaaskelainen

Nemanja Vidic 
Olivier Tebily  Radostin Kishishev 
Rory Delap Xabi Alonso
Lee Bowyer
Thierry Henry
Gary O'Neil
  Louis Saha     Lomano LuaLua
Harry Redknapp

Despite appearing on the losing team, Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen is goalkeeper of the week following a string of outstanding saves from Manchester United's hit-men.

He was unable to do anything about Louis Saha's fine first-half effort or Ruud Van Nistelrooy's late winner but he can console himself with the knowledge that these two goals have at least sparked some interest in a title 'race' that was all but over.

In defence, the unlikely figure of Olivier Tebily stepped forward to take the man of the match award in Birmingham City's game against Chelsea at St. Andrews.

Playing on the right of a makeshift Birmingham defence, Tebily capped an imperious display by nearly scoring the winner for City with a 25-yard effort in a much improved performance by Steve Bruce's men.

Charlton's Radostin Kishishev was the pick of the bunch in a Charlton defensive unit which survived the loss of Luke Young to spoil Teddy Sheringham's birthday celebrations.

Kishishev's tackling and determination kept West Ham's strike force at bay and ensured that Charlton picked up an away point that leaves them looking good for a top ten finish.

Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic completes the trio of defenders following a solid display at the Reebok to restrict Bolton to one goal. Not helped by an unsure performance from defensive colleague Rio Ferdinand, Vidic passed a difficult test well.

In midfield, Portsmouth's Gary O'Neil's brace of goals make him an automatic choice for team of the week. His opportunistic strikes at Craven Cottage consigned Fulham to defeat and ensured that Portsmouth's recent revival gathers speed.

Lee Bowyer suddenly decided to put his goalscoring boots on once more and his first of the season against Tottenham capped an impressive display by the man who earlier this week pledged his future to Newcastle.

Bowyer put in an all-round performance to remind us of his undoubted talent and leave Newcastle fans hoping there is more of this to come following the controversy that has dogged him ever since he joined the club.

Sunderland's Rory Delap rescued a point for his team at Goodison Park which, although it will ultimately prove meaningless in their hopes for Premiership survival, will at least have given their fans something to cheer in a season which has been short on high points as well as Premiership points.

His headed goal towards the end of the match halted Everton's run of six straight home wins and he nearly scored another with a rasping long range volley.

Liverpool's Xavi Alonso produced a typically classy display to help ease his side past West Brom at the Hawthorns. He had a hand in both Liverpool's goal, his first contribution being a great pass to Cisse which allowed the Frenchman to roll it across to Fowler who knocked it in to an empty net.

His next was a seventy-yard ball again to Cisse who took the ball around West Brom keeper Tomasz Kuszczack and slotted home to make sure of the three points.

Up front, three strikers stood out. The incomparable Thierry Henry produced yet another masterclass in the art of finishing with two goals against a hapless Aston Villa.

His first was a deceptively simple looking lob over Thomas Sorensen and the second was a sublime effort, stroked with pace and power in to the top right hand corner from about twenty five yards out. The best goal of the day, possibly the season, by the best player in the country.

Manchester United's Louis Saha justified his place in the starting line-up at the expense of Ruud Van Nistelrooy by scoring an important equaliser which showed off his exquisite skills.

Taking a pass from Silvestre he executed a difficult finish with the outside of his boot to score United's first and capped an all- round excellent display by setting up substitute Van Nistelrooy for the winner.

Finally, LuaLula helped keep a smile on Harry Redknapp's face with a fine goal sandwiched between his captain O'Neil's brace. After linking well with Mwaruwari he fired a low shot past Mark Crossley to bag his fifth goal of the season.

And for the recent series of good results, the fine performance and result away from home at the weekend and for having his name chanted once more by his own fans, manager of the week goes to Harry Redknapp.

His team have given themselves a fighting chance of surviving the drop and look a good bet to ensure their relegatiobn battle goes right to the last day.

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