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Aug 29, 2010

Team of the Week

Following Wigan's 9-1 drubbing at White Hart Lane last season, you could forgive Ali Al Habsi for having mixed feelings when he was named in Roberto Martinez's starting XI on Saturday. If he was nervous it didn't show, the man from Oman pulled off a string of incredible saves as Wigan snatched a 1-0 victory. Chris Kirkland will be wondering how he's going to regain his place in the Latic's goal.

Not many people would have been suprised to hear Aston Villa beat Everton thanks to a superb goal from Young. However, rather than his attacking namesake Ashley grabbing the headlines at Villa Park, it was right-back Luke Young who netted the winner with a sublime left-footed finish. In addition to his wonder strike, Young played his part in a dogged display from the Villa defence to ensure three points for Kevin MacDonald's men.

John Terry's credentials as a top-class centre half have been called into question of late, his performance against Stoke served as a timely reminder of his abilities. Displaying the tenacity that once won him the England captaincy, Terry also made a crucial contribution at the other end of the pitch. His surging run and perfectly weighted pass for Florent Malouda's opening goal sent Chelsea on their way to another comfortable victory.

Birmingham may have been left feeling deflated after their late collapse against Bolton on Sunday, but the performance of their towering defender Roger Johnson will have provided some consolation. Although the Blues defence conceded twice, there was little Johnson could do about either goal, and his tap-in at the end of a neat passing move ensured he got some reward for his performance.

Although he has a long way to go to live up to his tag as the "Egyptian David Beckham", Ahmed El Mohamady enhanced his reputation with a lively display in Sunderland's victory over Manchester City. With the game level deep into added time, El Mohamady's devilish cross caused Micah Richards to haul down Bent and victory went to the Mackems.

No player has made a brighter start to the Premier League season than Arsenal's Theo Walcott. After missing out on the World Cup in the summer, Walcott has hit the ground running this term, and he grabbed his fourth goal of the season in the Gunners victory over Blackburn. It was the type of finish that may force people who say he lacks a football brain to reconsider their views.

Speaking of frustatingly inconsistent but undoubtedly talented footballers, Nani is our next inclusion in the team of the week. When he's not demanding to take penalties and incurring the wrath of Sir Alex, he ocassionally scores goals of the highest quality. His thumping left-foot finish in United's 3-0 win over West Ham put the gloss on a dazzling performance from the Portuguese.

Fulham fans may not have heard much about Moussa Dembele before Mark Hughes shelled out £5 million to bring him to Craven Cottage. After his fine goal against Port Vale in midweek and his glorious cross for Bobby Zamora to opening the scoring in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Blackpool, it certainly looks like money well spent. If he can continue to provide support from wide areas, Zamora might be in for a prolific campaign.

Up front we have another one of Wigan's White Hart Lane heroes, and after his winning goal on Saturday, Hugo Rodallega has earned his place. The Colombian hitman has endured mixed form since he arrived in England, but he showed his quality with a match-winning performance on Saturday. He was a constant menace to the Tottenham backline, and his goal displayed the sort of composure Wigan will need to survive in the Premier League this season.

Seven days ago, Luke Varney would have been a shock inclusion in the Championship team of the week, let alone the top flight's. After his goalscoring debut against Fulham, Varney must be wondering where it all went right? He took his goal with aplomb, and contributed to a spirited Blackpool performance.

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