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WhoScored: Cesc driving Chelsea on

Tactics And Analysis 8 hours ago
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Oct 2, 2011

Team of the Week

Newcastle United continued their impressive start to the season, as they briefly climbed to the dizzying heights of third in the table after a 2-1 win away at Wolves. Central to their success was Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul, who had kept Mick McCarthy's men at bay in the opening stages before Demba Ba set Newcastle on their way. In the end, Newcastle benefitted from some questionable refereeing to emerge with three points but Krul's performance deserved the rub of the green. Krul reacted well to deny Kevin Doyle before the Irishman saw his would-be equaliser chalked off, but anything other than three points would have been harsh on Newcastle's rising star.

Jose Enrique has been by far the most consistent of Liverpool's big-money summer signings, and the Spaniard put in a typically reliable shift during their 2-0 defeat of Everton in the Merseyside derby. Strong in the tackle, Enrique snuffed out the little threat Everton posed from wide positions and overlapped well to compliment Stewart Downing on the Liverpool left. In a fixture where so many lose their head, Enrique was calm and assured in what has become an increasingly shaky Liverpool backline.

Swansea City's back-to-back home triumphs over West Brom and then Stoke show the Welsh outfit are beginning to get to grips with life in the top division. Ashley Williams was part of a Swans rearguard which kept Stoke, who caused all sorts of problems for champions Manchester United last weekend, at bay and provided the platform for a convincing 2-0 victory. While record-signing Danny Graham was opening his Swansea account at the other end, Williams and the rest of Brendan Rodger's defence restricted the Stoke threat to a minimum.

Newcastle United have long been associated with calamitous defending, so it would have pleased their fans to see the performance of Fabricio Coloccini at Molineux. A member of Newcastle's squad when they slipped out of the Premier League two years ago, the Argentina international seems to have finally adjusted to life in England and is showing why he was once signed by AC Milan. Coloccini may have marshalled a defence which came within a whisker of surrendering a two-goal lead, but the narrow victory was just reward for the effort Newcastle put into the clash.

Kyle Walker's first goal for Tottenham could hardly have been more important, a long-range drive which handed Spurs a 2-1 win against arch-rivals Arsenal in the north London derby. The right-back latched onto a loose ball and took one touch to steady himself, before unleashing a thunderbolt which flew through Wojciech Szczesny's hands and almost tore a hole in the Arsenal net. Walker's forays forward led to an interesting tussle between him and Kieran Gibbs, two full-backs who could finds themselves playing with each other in future England teams.

Another impressive performer during Tottenham's derby triumph was Scott Parker, the metronomic midfielder who set the tone for his team's second-half resurgence. The England man wasted a glorious chance in the game's opening exchanges, but made amends by providing constant cover for his defence and showing a desire to join with Spurs' attacks whenever he had a chance. A battle-weary Parker was eventually withdrawn late on, with the former West Ham captain having covered every blade of grass in an attempt to protect Tottenham's lead. He may lack skill and be short of pace, but Parker makes up for his shortcomings with unparalleled determination.

It was a bizarre Sunday afternoon at Craven Cottage, as Fulham seemed to forget they were winless in the Premier League and had only scored four goals all season by smashing west-London neighbours QPR 6-0. Danny Murphy was among the goals as he bagged a penalty, and the under-stated midfielder was at his composed best pulling the strings during Fulham's emphatic win. Striker Andy Johnson may grab the headlines after a first top division hat-trick, but Murphy's ability to pick a pass and dictate play provided the catalyst for Fulham's goal-fest.

The debate over the future of Frank Lampard has raged for far too long and been far too loud, so it was a relief to see the attacking midfielder smash a hat-trick and provide everyone with a performance worth shouting about. Life was embarrassingly easy for Chelsea at times against a beleaguered Bolton side, who look set to face a season-long battle to preserve their Premier League status. Lampard was on the spot to guide home Daniel Sturridge's lay off and reacted first to finish when Adam Bogdan spilled David Luiz's shot. The moment of the match was Lampard's third goal, a one-touch exchange with Didier Drogba polished off with a calm side-footed finish to set the seal on a performance which silenced his large number of critics.

Alex McLeish will have been happy to see his Villa side keep a clean sheet on Saturday, with his strikers Gabby Agbonlahor and Darren Bent both getting on the scoresheet in a 2-0 defeat of Wigan. For Agbonlahor, it was a fourth goal of the season and another sign that he might be fulfilling the potential which has lay dormant for the last two years. Seemingly back to full fitness, Agbonlahor's pace was a constant menace to Wigan and his opening goal showed he has improved his finishing. His assist for Bent's goal displayed his main asset, as he burned down the left-hand side before producing a pin-point cross which sealed Villa's win.

Daniel Sturridge's return to the Reebok Stadium was one to forget for Bolton, as Wanderers failed to shackle their former loan star during a 5-1 thrashing. The Chelsea forward found space to head his side ahead inside the opening two minutes, and twenty minutes later Bolton 'keeper Bogdan spilled his low drive into the roof of the net to hand Sturridge a brace. Paul Robinson had a torrid time at left-back, seemingly unable to keep up with Sturridge or match his quick thinking as Bolton were helpless to resist a tide of Chelsea attacks.

Fulham manager Martin Jol said Andy Johnson needs to score more Premier League goals after he found the net in the Europa League. In entirely obedient fashion, Johnson obliged Jol's request by grabbing his first top-flight hat-trick during a shock 6-0 romp against neighbours QPR. Johnson's career has been beset by injuries, but his recent form has shown why he once forced his way into the England squad and sparked talk of a contract extension at Craven Cottage. Johnson's day began in fine fashion, scoring after two minutes and later being brought for the penalty which was converted by Murphy. He was Jonny-on-the-spot to grab his second, and showed some quick thinking to make sure he would head home with match ball and Fulham would end the day with their first three points of the campaign.

It's been a tough start to life at Craven Cottage for Martin Jol, but Sunday's 6-0 triumph served as vindication for the attack-style the Dutchman is attempting to bring to Fulham. Jol provided Spurs fans with plenty of excitement during his stint at White Hart Lane, and Fulham's win showed the same could be true of his tenure with the Cottagers.

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