Premier League Team Of The Week: Round 2

Wednesday August 27, 2008 - 07:54:12
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Shaafici Muxyidiin
Welcome to Goal.com's team of the week. Alan Dawson showcases the accomplishments of the weekend's top performers. Two players retain their position from last week, there is room for one debutant, while Manchester is the most represented city.

Goalkeeper

Shay Given (Newcastle United): Once again the Republic of Ireland glovesman makes the team of the week. Although he wasn't the busiest of goalkeepers he ensured Bolton's attacking threats were impotent, and saved a Kevin Nolan penalty to secure the Magpies all three points. Shay's first clean sheet of the new campaign... with a stronger back line than last season, will this be the first of many for the black and whites?

Defenders

Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United): Must have felt 150 kilograms lighter at the end of the game because for 90 minutes he had Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe in his pocket.

Vincent Kompany (Manchester City): Like three members of Team Of The Week in the last round, Kompany had a sound debut. Began the game in the middle of the park, but a horrific clash of heads between Micah Richards and Tal Ben Haim saw manager Mark Hughes push the Belgium international into defence. Kompany claims to have not known his team-mates names before kick-off, surely as he becomes acclimatised to the Blues his performances will increase too - a worrying concept for opposition attack.

Brede Hangeland (Fulham): Was touted by Goal.com in the Fulham vs Arsenal preview as a potential threat for the Arsenal defence. Hangeland is 6'5'' and could provide a short centre back pairing of Kolo Toure and William Gallas (both 6'0''), numerous problems from set-pieces. His goal was ironically pushed goal-ward with his toes.

Midfielders

Lee Cattermole (Wigan Athletic): A product of the Middlesbrough youth academy, Cattermole enjoyed a respectable debut last weekend despite being on the losing side. Wigan hosted Chelsea this round, and even though they lost one-nil, Cattermole looked a promising prospect. He repeatedly broke up play, and his passing looked good too.

Paul Scholes (Manchester United): Is embarking on his 15th full season as a Manc Red and judging from Monday evening's performance he still has all the attributes that made him a modern United legend. His shots were on target, his passing was superb, he was the man of the match, and his off the ball movement reflected his many years of top level experience.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool): How many times has he popped up to win Liverpool the match? His high energy levels, good tackling, on-target shots, and the free-kick in particularly have Team Of The Week written all over them.

Ashley Young (Aston Villa): Young threaded dangerous balls all game, he set up John Carew for the targetman's goal, and his free-kick led to Villan's second. He set up over 20 League goals last year, and it looks like he will accumulate as many, if not more, in the new season.

Deco (Chelsea): Like Shay Given, this is his second outing in Team Of The Week in as many rounds. Showed fans his pass and move last week, and could even unleash a shot when he wanted. Dead-ball situations have just been added to his forte. His free-kick separated Wigan and Chelsea on Sunday.


Forward

Elano (Manchester City): Bagged a brace in Manchester City's rout against troubled West Ham United. Took his goals well and has started this season in a similar goal-scoring fashion as last. Providing his form - together with the team's - does not fizzle out after winter, then the Blues may find themselves competing for a place in Europe.


Striker

Ricardo Fuller (Stoke City): Kept Jamaica in the newspaper headlines. He had a few chances, but Stoke's second - his first - was worthy of multiple replays. Not only did he display deft touch and control, but showed he could finish too.

                                                             Given

                                        Kompany   Hangeland    Vidic

                                                         Cattermole
                                             Gerrard                 Scholes         
                                         Deco                                 Young
                                                                Elano
                                                          Fuller     


Manager: Tony Pulis. The Stoke City boss has modelled the Potters' game on the Bolton tactic - route one. It may not be attractive, but it can be highly effective, as Martin O'Neill was loathe to find out. Rory Delap's dangerous long throw in's constantly troubled Aston Villa and were key to their late win.

Those Who Came Close

Amr Zaki (Wigan Athletic)
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
Jimmy Bullard (Fulham)
Kieron Richardson (Sunderland)
Sanli Tuncay (Middlesbrough)
Rory Delap (Stoke City)
Ross Turnbull (Middlesbrough)

Alan Dawson



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