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Aug 20, 2006

Team of the Week

The first weekend of the Premiership saw a host of goals and an impressive showing from the promoted teams in their first taste of top flight action this year.

ESPNSoccernet's Jon Carter takes a look at the best performers from the weekend's action, playing in a 3-4-3 formation.

Aston Villa's goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen excelled in the first match at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium. Having made a succession of good saves as the Gunner's piled on the pressure, he was unlucky to be beaten by Gilberto's late strike.

In defence, another top performer in Arsenal's match, attacking full-back Emmanuel Eboue, gets his place in the team. It often looked as if Arsenal were playing a 3-4-3 with Eboue playing in the wide right attacking role, such was his impact on the game. Eboue mustered 5 shots on target and was unlucky not to score, only to be denied by Sorensen on several occasions.

Villa captain Olof Mellberg also proved a thorn in Arsenal's side, not only with a sturdy defensive showing, but with a crushing header to give Martin O'Neill men the lead. Often under-rated for his aerial prowess, the Swede gains selection at centre back for his ability to keep Thierry Henry and Co off the scoresheet.

Bolton's new signing Abdoulaye Meite was also instrumental in keeping Tottenham's strikers away from the goal. He made Bolton's first goal, somewhat illegally, by pulling back Callum Davenport and kept Defoe and new Bulgarian import Berbatov quiet. The Ivorian hardman showed he can more that keep up with the pace of the Premiership and proved another excellent Allardyce signing.

The midfield consists of Reading's outstanding South Korean wideman Seoul Ki-Hyeon on the right. A constant threat with his speed and passing ability, Seoul played a part in all three Reading goals this weekend and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.

Partnering him is the excellent Lee Bowyer. A somewhat controversial figure in the past, Bowyer turned in what his manager called an 'England performance' against Charlton. Pulling the strings in midfield, Bowyer set up all three of West Ham's goals and is a certainty for this team after his involvement also saw Charlton defender Djimi Traore get his marching orders.

The other central midfield berth goes to Mikel Arteta of Everton. Quick on the ball and the instigator of much of Everton's good play against Watford, Arteta gets his place due to the quality of the free-kicks he delivered. Also popping up to net a late, and crucial, penalty.

Wide left, the team is bolstered by the excellent Cristiano Ronaldo. Showing no after effects from a turbulent World Cup, Ronaldo was up to his usual tricks as his penetrating runs and quick feet helped to destroy a lacklustre Fulham team. Maybe he should leave the taking of free kicks to Arteta though.

Up front, the potent Wayne Rooney gets his place alongside Ronaldo (well you wouldn't want them playing against each other). His guile and skill made himself two goals, and he laid on two others. He may be banned for the next 3 games, but Rooney is the first name on the teamsheet for any team.

Bobby Zamora showed his goalscoring touch to grab a striking berth ahead of the likes of Henry and Shevchenko. Two goals, well taken against Charlton make the former Brighton man joint top scorer in the Premiership.

Alongside him is the other top scorer of the weekend. Pompey's Kanu. Perhap's he should have had a hat-trick after missing a late penalty, but the gangly striker was worth his height in gold for Harry Redknapp as he came off the bench to net two headers and condemn Blackburn to defeat.

And the manager? Who else but the man who broke all sorts of Championship records last year. Reading's Steve Coppell proved that he's a comeback king after leading his side from behind to beat Boro 3-2. The man can do no wrong, and with him at the helm, this team could go far.


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