Team of the Week
|Kolo Toure||Richard Dunne|
|Luis Boa Morte||Michael Carrick|
Shay Given may have conceded twice but the goals which he prevented Tottenham scoring provided the platform for Newcastle to secure an unlikely victory. Despite conceding an early goal to Jermain Defoe, Given made three vital stops in the first ten minutes to frustrate Spurs as Martin Jol's men bombarded the visitors goal.
Kolo Toure was the pick of Arsenal's defence when they travelled to Blackburn Rovers and found themselves down to ten men within thirteen minutes as Gilberto (rather harshly) saw red. He also popped up with his side's first goal, a thumping header after Henry's fine cross.
Richard Dunne gave a captain's performance in Manchester City's back three against Bolton at the Reebok. In a pretty drab affair, City's defending was the highlight and Dunne marshalled his men to snuff out the threat of ex-City striker Nicolas Anelka and co and extend City's run to four games without defeat.
Chris Lucketti makes team of the week for several reasons. Firstly, for making his first Premiership start at the ripe old age of 35. It was his foraging up front which presented Stephen Quinn with a free-kick to score the equaliser against Pompey. And finally anyone playing alongside Claude Davis yesterday automatically looked a better player.
Michael Carrick sprayed balls around with merry abandon from his position just in front of the Manchester United back four. One of his passes set up Ronaldo to seal what was a comfortable victory for United against Aston Villa and he even scored his first Premiership goal for United after executing a fine one-two with Park Ji-Sung.
Arjen Robben bountiful repertoire of skills was on full display against a Wigan side who could not live with his pace. It was his first game since playing against the same side in December. He scored in both games and Wigan will be glad to see the back of him. Yesterday he capatalised on some slack defending to nab the second but he needed no help as he terrorised the Wigan defence.
If Yossi Benayoun continues to play as well as he did for West Ham against Fulham then the Hammers have a chance of staying up. The Israeli was in imperious form and scored twice in the 3-3 draw. His first was a fine chip which totally deceived Jan Lastucka in the Cottagers goal, the second came after he rounded the Czech keeper.
Alongside him, Luis Boa Morte could also be satisfied with his day's work (certainly his team-mates behind him couldn't). The ex-Fulham man faced his old side and was again in fine form down the left wing, appearing un-fazed by the occasion. He too will need to be at his best in the coming months.
Obafemi Martins scored another beauty against a dazed Spurs side whose dominance was not reflected in the final score. Having said that, Martins goal was worthy of winning any game. He received the ball just outside the box and hit an unbelievable shot from an acute angle. He then turned provider to set up Nicky Butt for the winner.
Thierry Henry scored a wonderful goal on Saturday. Perhaps not the most noteworthy piece of news in a career that has yielded countless such moments, but Henry's finish against Blackburn was special. He cut in from the right before playing a one-two with Fabregas and then curling his shot in to Brad Friedel's right hand corner. Nice.
Aiyegbeni Yakubu capped a good afternoon for Gareth Southgate's men as he scored the third goal in Middlesbough's match against surely-doomed Charlton. The striker cut inside from the left, beating Talal El Karkouri on his way to unleashing an unstoppable shot.
'Stand up for the special one' they sang on Saturday at Stamford Bridge and Jose Mourinho and his players certainly heeded the call when their manager needed their backing. Mourinho has received unprecedented support from his players in a week rife with rumour and questions regarding his future at Chelsea. Whatever outsiders think of him, his players' performance as they trounced Wigan is evidence of the deep bond he has forged with his side.