Ash Hough selects the eleven best performers from a festive weekend….
GK: Michel Vorm
The Dutch keeper returned to the Swansea first team after a long spell out through injury, and helped his side deny Manchester United a six point lead going into christmas. He pulled off two or three fantastic saves including a brilliant save to touch Michael Carrick’s glancing header onto the bar.
The young Spanish right back had a big impact in several of the Chelsea goals and kept a clean sheet in their 8-0 drubbing of the young Aston Villa side. He showed his new manager what he is capable of and gave a lot of work for the team, especially in the first half when there was still a slight contest.
CB: Ashley Williams
Williams caused a bit of controversy with an incident involving Robin Van Persi, as he booted the ball at RVP’s head when he was on the ground; Sir Alex Ferguson arguing it was the most dangerous thing he had seen on a pitch, whilst the player himself said he just went to clear the ball and meant no harm. Aside from this he was dedicated and defended brilliantly at times to deny Manchester United the win. His best moment came when he flew across to block a threatening Ashley Young shot.
CB: Martin Skrtel
The Slovakian international gave Liverpool the opener as they went on to cruise to a 4-0 victory with a scorching volley past Schwarzer after controlling well. He also kept a clean sheet, and saved his keeper from blushes, clearing up after Reina as he failed to collect a long shot from Berbatov.
LB: Jose Enrique
The former Newcastle man has been at his best this season, and was back to the more familiar surroundings at left back for the Reds. He was constantly up and down the left wing and provided Suarez with a tap in from close range after a great price of work to escape the Fulham defence.
RM: Stewart Downing
There was a fake rumour that Downing was to be tested by the FA for performance enhancing drugs, he played that well. The former Middlesborough winger has been struggling ever since moving to Anfield, but he had a fantastic game against Fulham, providing Gerrard a goal with a sumptuous fake pass that fooled all of the Cottagers’ defenders for Gerrard to finish well. Later on Downing found space to cut in from the right and crash a left footed shot past Schwarzer.
CM: Steven Gerrard
Gerrard has been struggling to find his usual form this year, but today he proved his critics wrong as he returned to his best, knocking the ball around left right and centre. He got his reward as he finished brilliantly after downing had fed him a fantastic pass, he also got the assist from the corner for Skrtel and the assist for downing. Back to his best for the Liverpool talisman.
CM: David Luiz
The Brazilian centre back was given the freedom to go forward by Benitez’s decision to play him in midfield and he came up trumps. Luiz hit a brilliant dipping Free kick to give Chelsea a two goal lead and put in a man of the match performance, against so many candidates in that Chelsea win.
LM: Victor Moses
The Nigerian international was a key part of Chelsea’s win, despite not scoring any of the goals. He was at the forefront of everything Chelsea did and proved his versatility to Benitez, as he tormented the Villa defence down the right, behind the striker and briefly as a lone striker. He had a part in almost all of the goals and was unstoppable when he linked up with Azpicuelta down the right wing.
ST: Romelu Lukaku
The on loan West Brom striker has started the season really brightly and is gradually showing his parent club Chelsea what they are missing. The Belgian striker dominated the Norwich defence with his aerial threat and massive strength. He rounded a great performance off with a late winner from a brilliant header, Beating his man to the ball and using his neck muscles to power the ball past Bunn in the Norwich goal.
ST: Shola Ameobi
Ameobi played his 350th game for Newcastle, and showed that he still has what it takes to play first team football, he came off the bench for the out of form magpies in the second half and made a huge impact, scoring a crucial winner in the 81st minute to seal all three points for a delighted Alan Pardew.
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