Premier League XI of the Week

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2012

Premier League XI of the Week

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    It was another weekend to remember in the Premier League with some exciting games, surprising results and excellent individual performances—not to mention some fantastic goals.

    The team of the week, with no doubt the result of the week, has to be Southampton who walloped Aston Villa 4-1 after coming from a goal behind to pick up their first win of the season.

    But which 11 players should make up the select side of the weekend, and how many of them will come from the Saints?

    Fair to say that Aston Villa didn't cover themselves in glory on the opposite end of that scoreline, but Southampton's players weren't the only ones to impress this time around.

    Here is the Premier League team of the week.

Goalkeeper: Brad Friedel

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    Brad Friedel has done it again.

    Hugo Lloris was Spurs' big money goalkeeper signing during the summer and the Frenchman no doubt expected that by now he would have more than a solitary Europa League appearance under his belt, but the 41-year old American Friedel has been in such excellent form that he has kept his place in goal.

    A string of fine saves for the old guy of the Premier League against QPR helped keep his team in the game at times. In the end, he helped to win three points as Spurs scored quickfire goals to turn the game around.

Full-Backs: Rafael and Glen Johnson

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    Both the full-backs come from the same game and lined up against each other. Liverpool vs. Manchester United was an incident-filled game where Rafael and Glen Johnson endured a big battle in getting forward.

    The Liverpool man managed it more often in the first half and assisted Steven Gerrard's goal early in the second, but the United attacking defender netted a curled equaliser minutes later.

    United were lacking in ideas and inspiration in the final third, but the Brazilian was always an outlet down the flank and wasn't afraid to try and use the ball well.

    Johnson is an important player in Liverpool's way of playing and contributes enormously to the build-up. He had a very good game, spoiled only when the referee awarded a late penalty against him which cost Liverpool the game.

Central Defenders: Jan Vertonghen and Laurent Koscielny

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    It's not all that often that a centre-back rescues you a point and then almost throws it away again, but that's what was almost the case with Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny. The French defender rifled in the equalising goal against Manchester City and then soon after presented Sergio Aguero with an easy chance to score the winner, but the forward missed.

    Koscielny won all six of his ground duels, made three interceptions and two last-man tackles. He also completed 82 percent of his passes. His goal came from his only chance in the game.

    Jan Vertonghen started centrally for Spurs before switching to the left side in the second half and looked equally at home in both positions.

    Really assured on the ball, Vertonghen swept forward on the ball whenever he could, rarely wasted possession and yet remained solid defensively.

    He won all three of his tackles, both his aerial duels and four of the six he contested on the ground, all the while misplacing just three passes during the game.

Central Midfielders: Steven Gerrard and Steve Sidwell

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    Steven Gerrard put in a Man of the Match display against Manchester United for Liverpool despite ending the game on the losing side. He was a huge presence in midfield on and off the ball, directing the tempo of Liverpool's game in the first half when they thoroughly outplayed their rivals and then in the second half working as hard as anyone with his team down to 10 men.

    Gerrard scored the opening goal of the game and recorded a 95 percent passing accuracy, by far his best of the season.

    Steve Sidwell is the second midfielder. He did not have a spectacular game but in a frenetic match against Fulham was always a calm head, an outlet for his team and a mature performer. He kept the tempo of the game going and closed down well when his team did not have possession.

    Sidwell has been thrust into the starting XI this season at his club after a series of summer departures and is so far living up the demands well.

Attacking Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini, Santi Cazorla and Gaston Ramirez

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    As far as a trio of attacking midfielders go it's fair to say Marouane Fellaini, Santi Cazorla and Gaston Ramirez are about as different as you could imagine.

    Fellaini was a powerhouse, an annoyance and a threat all game long for Everton as they swept aside Swansea City.

    Technically this was far from the best performance from the Belgian, but his sheer persistence and strength made the defence unable to compete with him and he was involved in many of Everton's best moves.

    Cazorla was his usual sublime self for much of Arsenal's game against Manchester City, creating space and chances for his teammates and, when they failed to score, looking to have a go himself from range.

    And finally, Gaston Ramirez. In his first start in the Premier League, Ramirez came alive in the second half and was one of the cornerstones of Southampton's revival. He created, on average, a chance every 18 minutes for his teammates. He ended the game with an assist and an 89 percent pass completion rate.

    He had two shots, too—both off target. This could be a massive boost to the Saints in avoiding the drop.

Forward: Rickie Lambert

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    Not that scoring goals is the only thing that forwards need to be mindful of these days, but Southampton's Rickie Lambert was the only Premier League striker to score twice this weekend.

    A fine low drive after some excellent control brought his side back into the game. He then hit as finely-executed a penalty as you are ever likely to see to wrap up the win.

    Lambert was not afraid to drop deeper to get involved on the ball and linked up well with his midfielders, but his two goals give both him and his team a massive boost as they pick up their first win of the campaign.



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