English Premier League Midweek Team of the Week
A bonus array of midweek action in the English Premier League makes way for a bonus edition of our Team of the Week.
Manchester United struggled to victory, West Bromwich Albion's winning streak snapped, and Rafa Benitez made no progress in winning over the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Read on for this week's top 11 performers in a 4-4-2 wide diamond formation.
GK: Jussi Jaaskelainen
Jussi Jaaskelainen enters this Team of the Week despite the quietest game he's ever had at Old Trafford.
In the first half he was barely troubled—and it's difficult to criticise him for that hugely fortunate Robin van Persie goal—while in the second half he pulled off some top-drawer saves.
In particular, him tipping Wayne Rooney's delicious curling effort around the post for a corner caught the eye.
RB: Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker enjoyed a phenomenal match at the back during Tottenham's win over Liverpool, and it appears the extra defensive work he's been doing is paying dividends already.
A couple of vital clearances and challenges—including one outrageous toe-poke off the line—kept Spurs in the game when their dominance began to fade in the second half.
Andre Villas-Boas probably wouldn't be sleeping on three points gained Wednesday night if it wasn't for the England international.
CB: Matija Nastasic
Nastasic (left) vies for the header
Matija Nastasic receives an unjustifiable amount of criticism for his good performances in a Manchester City shirt.
Many just transferred their poor opinion of Stefan Savic and placed it on the shoulders of the Citizens' next Serbian recruit, but the game against Wigan Athletic saw him put in another solid showing.
City were second best for long periods at the DW Stadium, and the defence faced a real examination. Nastasic and Vincent Kompany needed to be at their best to keep their opponents at bay, and there aren't many teams who would have walked out of this game with a clean sheet.
CB: Aaron Hughes
It doesn't matter if Chelsea are having their annual mini crisis or not—if you go to Stamford Bridge and keep a clean sheet, you deserve a commendation.
Aaron Hughes was the standout performer in Fulham's back line and arrived at the crucial moment to clear Fernando Torres' athletic effort off the goal line.
A solid outing for the veteran, who shows no signs of slowing down.
LB: Ben Davies
It wasn't exactly a fine week for left-backs either, and had John Arne Riise not fluffed his lines at the pivotal moment he may have found himself a well-earned place on this team.
As it happens, it was Ben Davies who linked up extremely well with Pablo Hernandez during Swansea's win over West Bromwich Albion and put in the best performance from this position.
The youngster has been doing a fine job standing in for the injured Neil Taylor, and this was arguably his best game yet in a Swans shirt.
DM: Moussa Dembele
Moussa Dembele's long-awaited return to the Tottenham Hotspur starting XI was phenomenal.
He oozed the class we have come to expect from him, breaking up play and putting in crucial tackles whilst effectively leading from the back.
He was able to feed Andre Villas-Boas' key attacking outlets such as Gareth Bale and disrupt the influence of Joe Allen in the centre of the park.
LW: Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale put in another electric performance, running rings around Liverpool players desperate to extract the ball from his feet.
His free kick was just a little bizarre, but the assist for Aaron Lennon's tap-in was a throwback to the night he rinsed Maicon in the San Siro.
One goal, one assist and one hilarious own goal—an action-packed, masterful performance from the Welsh wizard.
RW: Pablo Hernandez
Pablo Hernandez played left wing for Swansea against West Bromwich Albion, but with Gareth Bale occupying the left spot already, we're slotting Hernandez in on the right—such was the extreme quality of his performance.
Arguably the Swans' Man of the Match, the Spaniard ripped the Baggies back line to shreds with every chance he got, jinking his way through challenges and absolutely schooling Billy Jones.
Michael Laudrup made a bold call in using him on the opposite flank, but Hernandez's display more than vindicated the Dane's decision.
ACM: Wayne Rooney
As soon as Wayne Rooney was substituted, Manchester United surrendered any element of control they had on the game.
In the end, West Ham will feel aggrieved they walk away from Old Trafford with nothing to show—such was their dominance in the final 20 minutes.
Sir Alex Ferguson revisited the diamond experiment that yielded mixed results. The lack of width was a problem, but Rooney, who played a free role loosely connected with the tip of the midfield, was absolutely everywhere.
He roamed the field to connect the lines, offer passing routes and open up space. Rooney edges out Wayne Routledge here for a spot.
Michu was placed in an unfamiliar role against West Bromwich Albion, playing as a lone striker in Michael Laudrup's 4-2-3-1 formation.
By all accounts, he was excellent. He was his usual dominant self both aerially and on the deck, while his goal was a just reward for an excellent centre-forward's display.
ST: Christian Benteke
Benteke (right) leaps to obtain a headed goal
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Another game, another sensational performance from Aston Villa hero Christian Benteke.
He provided a reliable outlet for his teammates as usual, receiving 52 passes, although Villa opted to pass the ball horizontally significantly more against Arsenal on Saturday.
He scored the only goal of the game with a towering header, beating Sean Morrison in the air and finding the net with a downward effort.
The importance of this goal cannot be quantified.