English Premier League Team of the Week
As the English Premier League reaches the home stretch, tensions reach fervent levels and fans chew through their nails—what will their teams' fate be?
Aston Villa and Southampton picked up critical wins at the bottom, Manchester United continued their canter toward the title, and Wigan Athletic thanked Lady Luck after stealing the points from Newcastle.
Who made our Team of the Week? Morgan Schneiderlin did, obviously, but who else?
GK: Jan Mucha, Everton
Jan Mucha was on fire in Saturday's early kick off.
The stand-in goalkeeper has long been an unknown quantity due to the form, fitness and consistency of Tim Howard, but the Slovak finally had his chance to shine against Manchester City.
He took that chance well, making a string of impressive stops (including one fantastic double save) to secure a clean sheet for the Toffees.
RB: Seamus Coleman, Everton
Seamus Coleman picked the right day to put in his best-ever performance for Everton Football Club.
The £60,000 signing from Sligo Rovers was a menace from right-back, gave Aleksandar Kolarov a severe headache and assisted Leon Osman's opening strike.
When he's on form, he's an unstoppable bundle of energy, and if Everton can find a formula for consistency in him, they'll have one of the EPL's top right-siders on their books.
CB: Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United
Rio Ferdinand reaffirmed the faith in his England call-up with a very good performance against Reading.
Manchester United, as a unit, were lacklustre, poor and sloppy. Reading were primed to take advantage of this had it not been for the Red Devils' impressive centre-back pairing.
Ferdinand pips Nemanja Vidic to the Team of the Week thanks to his marauding run and pass that set up Wayne Rooney's winner.
CB: Brede Hangeland, Fulham
Fulham went to White Hart Lane and completed a stunning 1-0 victory over Tottenham.
Brede Hangeland and Co. held Spurs goalless for only the fourth time this season, while at the other end Dimitar Berbatov settled a close-fought encounter.
Philippe Senderos made more interceptions than any other player on the pitch, but it was Hangeland who was the most impressive at the back.
LB: Davide Santon, Newcastle United
Davide Santon played both left-back and right-back in Newcastle United's 2-1 loss to Wigan Athletic as injuries dictated his shifting of position.
No matter which flank, the Italian was a constant offensive presence and scored the Magpies equaliser after a wonderful run and finish.
A well-rounded performance that was unlucky to be on the losing side.
DM: Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton
Morgan Schneiderlin, who could well end up with the most Team of the Week appearances out of every English Premier Player, played brilliantly. Again.
The Saints front office must be pretty chuffed that they tied the Frenchman down to a long-term deal last month, as his performances are consistently superb.
He's an all-out terrier and great passer and has an impressive footballing IQ.
CM: Frank Lampard, Chelsea
We honour Mr. 200 here as Super Frank Lampard guided his side to a crucial 2-0 win over rivals West Ham.
He opened the scoring with a header to put the Blues in firm control, and then Eden Hazard rounded things in sublime fashion.
His continued form, fitness and impressive worth ethic—not to mention him being just two goals off leveling a club record—continues to defy expectation. The club's lack of action with regard to a contract extension continues to defy belief.
CM: Darron Gibson, Everton
You might ask: Darron Gibson over Leon Osman?
The truth is that a cracking goal bumped the latter's performance in many peoples eyes, but the overall shift the England international put in didn't compare to his Irish counterpart's.
Gibson is the unheralded key to Everton's system—his passing range and energy is sorely missed when he's absent, and the 3-0 loss to Wigan Athletic is a case in point.
LF: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Chelsea secured a much-needed victory over West Ham on Sunday, and Eden Hazard was largely to thank.
He was in scintillating form at Stamford Bridge, scoring the killer second goal after a wonderful run and buried finish.
When the result looked safe he brought the tricks out to play, nutmegging defenders and executing an impressive rabona cross to the far post.
RF: Andi Weimann, Aston Villa
In a game Aston Villa dare not lose, Andi Weimann's hard work, graft and determination played a big part in taking a vital three points.
I was present at Villa Park to watch the performance, and the Austrian was eventually subbed off due to sheer exhaustion—he chased every ball, harried every defender and simply wanted it more than his markers.
But it wasn't just an "admirable shift" he put in. No, his goal was well-taken, and it was his cut-back that allowed Christian Benteke the simplest of finishes.
AMC/DLF: Santi Cazorla, Arsenal
In a first ever here in B/R's Team of the Week, we're using a false-nine 4-3-3 formation.
It's largely because there was no single striker worth picking out, but there were also a glut of impressive performances in midfield.
Santi Cazorla was the driving force behind Arsenal's impressive win over Swansea, jinking around the penalty area and dancing circles round opposing defenders.
When the Spaniard is in this form, you don't dare lunge in.