Team of the Week
A plethora of candidates for Team of the Week's custodian this week, as Tottenham's Heurelho Gomes and Chelsea's Petr Cech performed admirably, but it is Birmingham's Ben Foster who gets the nod after an all-action display for relegation-threatened Birmingham. As Bolton laid siege to the Blues' net late on Foster was inspired, his save from Gretar Steinsson the dazzling highlight of an impressive bunch of stops.
Tottenham fired 12 goals past Wigan in their two meetings season, but the Latics have redressed the balance this, keeping two clean sheets and recording four points to boot. Emmerson Boyce played a full 90 minutes in both and was the standout player at the back during the 0-0 draw on Saturday. Shackling Tottenham's attacking trio of Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko effectively throughout the game, the 31-year-old fully deserved the praise that followed.
Robert Huth was his usual, uncompromising self up against his former club Chelsea on Saturday. A towering performance at the back was complemented with a typically menacing presence in the opposition penalty area. His battle with Didier Drogba was one to relish and he very nearly pinched a winner for his side late on, but his header from Jermaine Pennant's cross was turned onto the post by the excellent Cech.
Ryan Nelsen might well receive a bottle of vintage red wine through the post from Sir Alex Ferguson after his efforts in thwarting Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday. The Gunners might have had 22 attempts on goal, but they rarely tested goalkeeper Paul Robinson and credit for that must go to an obdurate Rovers back line. Nelsen, along with Chris Samba, marshalled the defence superbly.
West Brom defender Jonas Olsson never shirks a battle and in Liverpool's Andy Carroll he found a worthy adversary. The bruising defender, alongside partner Abdoulaye Meite, gave the £35 million man a buffeting all afternoon, matching the striker's physical power with plenty of his own, and played a huge part in the Baggies claiming all three points after going behind.
In front of the back four, the Baggies' Youssuf Mulumbu also had a superb game. The Congolese anchored West Brom's midfield superbly, disrupting the flow of countless Liverpool attacks while also propelling his team forward into the opposition's half. Chris Brunt may have stolen the headlines with his penalty brace but Mulumbu did the dirty work very effectively.
His best mate may now be plying his trade on Merseyside but Kevin Nolan moved in front of Carroll in the goalscoring charts after notching his 12th of the season against Wolves. On a tense Tyneside afternoon Nolan settled the Toon's nerves with the opening goal against struggling Wolves, latching onto Shola Ameobi's flick and finishing cutely through Wayne Henessey's legs. After that Nolan and fellow Scouser Joey Barton bossed the midfield as Alan Pardew's men ran out 4-1 winners.
David Silva again caught the eye during Manchester City's mauling of Sunderland, but giant midfielder Yaya Toure was the catalyst for an assured performance. Floating back and forth in City's midfield, Toure popped up in all corners of the pitch and laid on the opening goal for Adam Johnson with a fine reverse pass. He then grabbed one for himself cutting out Lee Cattermole's pass before dinking the ball over Simon Mignolet.
Fulham's Bobby Zamora has only scored four goals all season and three of them have come against Blackpool. The other was against Blackburn, so no need to ask the striker what his favourite colour is. The first of his double was assisted, unwittingly, by James Beattie, but finished emphatically by Zamora, while the second was a deft glancing header at the near post from Damien Duff's free kick. He couldn't quite outshine Michael Jackson though.
After a distinctly lacklustre first half Wayne Rooney was as far from our TOTW as it is possible to get, but his turn around in form mirrored that of his side as Manchester United powered back against West Ham to deliver a potentially devastating blow to their title rivals. Rooney, one outburst aside, was flawless as he slotted a penalty, a free kick and finished clinically from inside the area to prove that he is back to his best.
With the wealth of bright English talent at their disposal it continues to mystify just about everyone in the game why Aston Villa are languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League - especially when Darren Bent is banging the goals in. He was at his predatory best against Everton, firing home from Stewart Downing's cutback for the first of his two goals, then peeling away from Everton's defence to coolly slot his second.
He may have said he took no extra pleasure in the fact that his West Brom had beaten Liverpool, given his short-lived Anfield nightmare, but there's no doubt Roy Hodgson was lying. The Baggies boss retained his unbeaten record thanks to two Chris Brunt penalties and they deserved their triumph, after a spirited performance that did much to boost their survival hopes.