The weekend was supposed to belong to Arsene Wenger.
Quite simply, it didn’t. Chelsea ruined his 1000th match – running riot at Stamford Bridge – while Manchester City and Liverpool also racked up cricket scores, meaning a few heavyweights are in our Team of the Week.
We start, however, at Crystal Palace. Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni (3.5) produced a number of stunning saves against Newcastle United at St James’ Park to keep his side in the game, before having his heart broken by Papiss Cisse right at the death. He can take great encouragement, though, from his performance, as the scoreline would have been far uglier without him.
Pablo Zabaleta (4) had less to do, and spent the majority of Manchester City’s 5-0 win over Fulham in the Cottagers’ half. Attacking-wise, he tormented the strugglers’ defence throughout and delivered a number of pin-point crosses from the right flank.
And to Hull. In a vital clash with West Bromwich Albion, Curtis Davies (3.5) maintained his composure throughout and made a number of key tackles as his side won 2-0 at the KC Stadium.
Our three-man defence is rounded off by the rejuvenated Martin Demichelis (4). Often maligned for his clumsiness and inability to defend properly, the Manchester City defender hit back at his critics during the 5-0 win over Fulham, as he remained solid throughout and rounded off the thrashing with a late tap-in.
Continuing the City flavour, James Milner (4.5) performed brilliantly in the Etihad thumping. A constant attacking outlet, the Englishman played a key role in all of the goals, performed his defensive duties vigilantly and could have scored a brace himself.
One who did hit the back of the net during the match was Yaya Toure (4.5). Three times. And that earns him a spot in our midfield. The giant Ivorian calmly converted two penalties against Fulham, before curling an absolute beauty into the top corner from way outside the box. A powerhouse presence, he was simply unplayable on Saturday.
And to Chelsea. They thumped Arsenal 6-0 and Oscar (4) was at the centre of the destruction, as he bagged two goals and provided a number of key passes. The Gunners couldn’t deal with him, and he took full advantage of the space he was afforded at Stamford Bridge.
Another diminutive midfielder, Christian Eriksen (4), also makes the side, as he inspired a stunning Tottenham comeback on Sunday. The Dane scored a brilliant brace to claw Spurs back from 2-0 down to 2-2 – with Gylfi Sigurdsson finally rounding off the comeback in injury time. Despite many critics decrying the club’s lavish summer spending spree, Eriksen has proved he is worth his weight in gold to the north Londoners.
Speaking of justifying a price-tag, Andre Schurrle (4) did just that against Arsenal on Saturday. The Chelsea winger – signed from Bayer Leverkusen – delivered an electric display in the win, as he created Samuel Eto’o’s opener before scoring one himself.
Despite there being 11 players in this team, one will grab the headlines; Wayne Rooney (4). The Manchester United striker bagged a brace in the 2-0 win over West Ham, but it’s his first that will live long in the memory.
As he shrugged off the challenge of James Tomkins on the halfway line he would have been forgiven for controlling the ball and looking for a pass. Instead he shot, having seen Adrian off his line. The ball looped over the Spaniard and nestled in the back of the net as David Beckham watched on. Just sublime.
And rounding off our team is Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (4). In a topsy-turvy clash with Cardiff, the Uruguayan scored a sublime hat-trick to guide his side to a 6-3 win. Their title challenge is very much alive and, if they lift the trophy in May, they will be very much indebted to the forward.