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Apr 5, 2009

Team of the Week

After a weekend that for once justified the hyperbole thrown at the Premier League with the alacrity of the world's most eager beaver, choosing a team of the week is not easy. Nonetheless, I shall try.

In nets is Thomas Sorensen. Ok, keeping out West Brom is not exactly solving the riddle of the Sphinx, but Sorensen did so with very little fuss and has generally had quite a handy season.

Hermann Hreidarsson, another Scandinavian is in front of Sorensen. Playing out of position for Portsmouth, his strength and calmness at the back helped them to a clean sheet, and he almost the won the game for them in the dying seconds, his header rebounding off the post.

Although my name isn't Glenn Hoddle, I've gone for three at the back. Bacary Sagna is returning to his form of last season for a resurgent Arsenal, and Gary Cahill - a significant factor in Bolton's decent season - scored and played well in his side's thrashing of sorry Middlesbrough.

Thinking about it, this team is actually more of an Ossie Ardiles effort; less balance than Bambi, more offensive than Joey Barton. That being the case, I've gone for a four-man midfield.

Wide on the right is Ronaldo, who did almost nothing in United's win at Villa, save for scoring two brilliant and crucial goals when his team needed them most. In the middle is Cesc Fabregas, returning for Arsenal to orchestrate their comfortable win over Manchester City. Partnering him is Marouane Fellaini, who after a mid-season loss of form is again looking strong as well as stupid, scoring once and having a hand in Everton's three other goals in the hiding they handed out to Wigan.

On the left hand side is Matthew Taylor. Despite a ridiculous sleeve of a tattoo that is further evidence, were any required, that footballers have too much spare time, it's impossible to argue that he isn't a good player, and he was easily the best on show at the Reebok on Saturday.

Up front are two big men and a 17-year-old. Since escaping Manchester City, Jo has looked a decent player, and with two more goals for Everton, added to the physical presence that makes him a constant threat, he receives the honour of selection.

Beside him is Emmanuel Adebayor, who despite suffering from a ropey first touch and an inability to understand the offside rule has been missed by Arsenal in the time he's been injured. His power and pace unsettled Man City and he also scored two goals - a good afternoon's work for someone who's been out injured for a while.

Taking the last position in the side has to be Federico Macheda. Despite only being on the pitch for half an hour in Manchester United's dramatic victory over Villa, his introduction changed the game; he provided a focal point for United's attacks and showed the intelligence, technique and composure of a veteran. However this would have gone almost unnoticed but for the moment of life-defining brilliance that settled the game in injury time. Ordering Ryan Giggs to pass him the ball, he turned his marker with a flick through his own legs before fading a finish that curled round Brad Friedel's despairing hand and into the far corner for a goal so beautiful it could strut down the catwalk and call itself a model.

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