Team of the Week
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas took his side to Newcastle with the pressure on this weekend. The Magpies were unbeaten at home and above Chelsea in the Premier League table when the teams kicked off. It may not have been vintage Chelsea, but when your backs are against the wall the team must show character - and Villas-Boas brought that out in his squad by securing a fine 3-0 win.
Two of Chelsea's players make the team. Captain John Terry has come in for more than his fair share of stick over the past few weeks, with the television cameras cutting straight to the centre-back whenever they concede a goal. But he was solid in this match, and Sammy Ameobi was denied a 74th-minute equaliser when Terry cleared his volley off the line.
The second player from Stamford Bridge is Juan Mata, who continues to grow into Premier League life after his Man of the Match display against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend. At St James' Park (because that's what it's called), Mata was pulling out the skills once again, nipping in from a throw-in to send in a classy cross for Didier Drogba to head home.
Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey is the man between the sticks after his heroics enabled Mick McCarthy's team to take all three points against Sunderland. Hennessey crucially saved a Seb Larsson penalty when Wolves were a goal down, and made seven saves throughout the match to give the home side a platform for victory.
It was Wolves striker Steven Fletcher who turned possible defeat into victory. After Larsson missed from the spot, Wolves immediately went up the other end with Matthew Jarvis setting up Fletcher to head home unmarked. Fletcher then showed his predatory instincts to turn the game on its head and give Wolves the 2-1 win.
Arsenal also contribute two players to the team after their comfortable 4-0 success at struggling Wigan Athletic. Defender Thomas Vermaelen netted his third Premier League goal of the campaign, Robin Van Persie driving a corner to the back post where the Belgian nodded in. And Vermaelen also had a hand in Arsenal's opener, feeding Mikel Arteta to slam the ball past Ali Al Habsi.
Van Persie, who has scored more goals this season than Wigan's entire squad, takes his now customary place in the team. As well as providing the ammunition for Vermaelen to score, RVP was on hand to latch on to a neat pull-back from Theo Walcott to round off the scoring at the DW Stadium.
Completing the defence is Stoke City's Robert Huth. The German has not had the best of seasons by his own standards after being moved to right-back. He lost his place in the side in October but has fought his way back in and netted his first goal of the campaign in the 1-0 win at Everton. Stoke defended well, with Everton failing to get a single shot on target.
Tottenham Hotspur continue their march up the Premier League table, up to third and seven points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Gareth Bale has rediscovered his electric form over the past couple of months and that was no different in the 3-0 win over Bolton. Bale tapped home a Luka Modric corner to open the scoring after six minutes. He then got the assist for the third, flicking on Modric's corner for Jermain Defoe to net.
Despite scoring another five goals against Norwich City, Man City only contribute one player as this was more of a team effort with five different goalscorers and three different assistees. Samir Nasri put in his best performance in a City shirt to date, and got his just reward by netting their second. Nasri did get lucky for his goal, though, as surely he would admit it was a cross, but he was excellent even without the goal.
Queens Park Rangers' midfield maestro Alejandro Faurlin completes the quartet in the centre of the park. He was at the heart of everything good about QPR in their 1-1 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion.
If there was one shoo-in for the team this week then it was most certainly Yakubu. He gave manager Steve Kean some much-needed breathing space by bagging an amazing four goals in Blackburn's 4-2 win at home to Swansea City. His first was a fine driven effort, the second headed home. He completed his hat-trick when scoring from close range before then slotting home from the penalty spot. Only Van Persie, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko have now scored more goals than the Nigerian this season.