Not even the absence of a Monday night game could provide us with the opportunity to enjoy all 20 Premier League teams in action in one weekend as the North East weather prevented Sunderland and Reading from taking to the field.
The nine games that did occur provided the usual array of thrills and spills we’ve come to expect from England’s top division, and here’s my take on the XI men who shone this weekend in spite of the rain.
- Goalkeeper: Ali Al Habsi (Wigan)
The Wigan goalkeeper played a staring role as the latics collected a rare three points outside of the months of April and May. He produced a string of notable saves, most notably getting finger tips to a fine strike from Adam Lallana and offered Southampton an early reminder, if one were needed, that nothing can be taken for granted in this league.
- Defence: Angel Rangel (Swansea)
He provided a solid defence display as West Ham suffered a rude awakening to life back in the Premiership. Vorm was rarely troubled and the man with the rhyming name was as important as any to ensuring that was the case. He also proved his prowess in the opposing penalty box with the opening goal, albeit with a bit of a helping hand from Jussi Jaaskelainen.
- Defence: Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
The former Bolton man has really taken to life at the right end of the Premiership table looking assured both on and off the ball in the blues’ back line. He played a pivotal role in ensuring one of the league’s most dangerous strike partnerships had only scraps to feed upon.
- Defence: Ryan Shawcross (Stoke)
Arsenal may have dominated large spells of this game and had an array of shots but Shawcross manfully stood up to the test and ensured there was no golden opportunity for the Gunners. His performance will hopefully put to bed for him the constant reminders of “that tackle” which left Aaron Ramsey with a long stretch on the sidelines.
- Defence: Glen Johnson (Liverpool)
Once again asked to play in the unnatural position of Left Back the England international made it look as though he had always played on the left side of the defence. City created almost no chances from his side of the field, and Johnson had little to do with either of the gaffes that lead to the Champions’ two goals. As usual the former Portsmouth man was not shy when it came to getting forward and providing a cross.
- Midfield: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
He was just superb. The Community Shield in which he struggled with the physicality of the English game seems a lifetime ago already as the Belgian international effortlessly jinked his way through a second defence in the space of just a few days. He added to his already impressive count of assists and the reason so many of Europe’s top clubs were interested in this young man is becoming increasingly apparent.
- Midfield: Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United)
This lad just does not give the ball away. Incredibly comfortable on the ball, always looking to play a forward pass and his goal on Saturday proved his instinct to get in the box at the right time ready for a finish. With the money already spent on Hazard and apparently about to be spent on Modric this Japanese International appears equally as good, making the £12 million United gave to Dortmund look a real bargain.
- Midfield: Moussa Dembele (Fulham)
Usually places in the team of the week are reserved for those who came out on the winning side but an exception simply had to be made for this man. He was the best player on the pitch against United strong both on the ball and in the tackle, he produced some wonderful dribbles and in a better side his passing selections could lead to carnage.
- Forward: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)
A few eyebrows may have been raised when Brendan Rodgers named a 17 year old in his starting Line up but by the end of the game when he was found swapping shirts with Tevez, you couldn’t be blamed for having to think twice about who’d asked who for the swap. Comparisons to John Barnes will be ripe after this performance and its difficult to see who’ll be able to stop him from becoming an Anfield Regular this season.
- Forward: Fernando Torres (Chelsea)
He just might be back. He finally seems to have both his pace and his touch back, he produced a fine finish and this weekend’s display suggested that he might be back to causing many a Premier League defender a sleepless night before the season is out.
- Forward: Robin Van Persie (Manchester United)
He was rather deprived of service in the second half but after all the hype surrounding his move the gorgeous goal he produced in the first half means he struts his way straight into this team on his United home debut. He showed enough to suggest his name will be featuring in a few more of these team lists before the end of May.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!