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Aug 23, 2009

Team of the Week

It looked like a game to rival the International paint drying championships in terms of excitement but the one slice of true quality at St Andrews came from Thomas Sorensen. The Dane leapt across his goal to palm away Garry O'Connor's header, keep his clean sheet intact and earn Tony Pulis' side a share of the pretty ordinary spoils against Birmingham.

Arsenal made it ten goals in two Premier League games this season with a convincing thrashing of Portsmouth. Instrumental in it was Abou Diaby, who is sitting a bit more comfortably with that 'new Vieira' tag after an assured start to the new campaign. In the space of four minutes he slotted two superb goals, and proved an able midfield companion of Cesc Fabregas. At the back William Gallas marshalled the back line well and even managed to hoof one into his gob and over the line.

Two unsung heroes from unfancied clubs make up two thirds of our back line this week, so take a bow Abdoulaye Faye from Stoke and Burnley's Andre Bikey. Faye gave as good as he got at Birmingham and made Kevin Phillips look every bit as old as he is. Bikey only joined Burnley five days ago but since then he's kept a clean sheet against Manchester United and Everton. Six points from those games also meant he could keep his notorious temper in some kind of order.

Sunderland took a battering from Blackburn but somehow went in level at the break. Lee Cattermole isn't known for his aerial prowess but he can't half scrap on the deck. He snarled and snapped, and rose highest to clear from a corner, which eventually led to a break and Kenwyne Jones' first goal. Then the pair combined for an excellent match winner, as Cattermole's cross was powered into the net by Jones.

Aaron Lennon was the star man in Tottenham's win at West Ham (if you discount Carlton Cole, of course) proving a constant thorn in West Ham's right side. After several dangerous forays Lennon snaffled his big moment when it came, thumping a left footed shot into the bottom corner from a tight angle after Jonathan Spector's ill-timed slip.

Both in their own way are tagged as a replacement for Ronaldo so it was a good job Wayne Rooney and Nani got on the score sheet at Wigan, especially after the midweek monstrosity that was Burnley. Rooney added to his goal against Birmingham with a smart header and a cool finish for his second - even if Mario Melchiot's knee helped. Nani fired in a free kick and even managed to slide a ball so good to Michael Owen he couldn't help but score.

It was a toss-up between Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka for our last slot, as they both scored and provided one for the other, but seeing as the former squeaked in last week let's have a punt on Le Sulk. His slide rule pass for the opening goal was as precise as they come, and as he latched onto a carbon copy from Drogba in the second half he coolly rounded Mark Schwarzer and made the game safe.

There can be no doubt Owen Coyle is the stand out candidate for manager of the week after his newly promoted Burnley side put both Manchester United and Everton to the sword at Turf Moor in the space of five days. Compact and combative, his team also possess a goal scoring threat up front and they have snatched every half chance that has come their way in the two matches. A great start to life in the Premier League for Coyle and the Clarets. It's Chelsea away next up. Easy eh?

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