English Premier League Team of the Week
A typically exciting English Premier League weekend saw Aston Villa and Newcastle United pick up stunning victories while Liverpool and Tottenham were held.
If the race for the UEFA Champions League spots is considered wide open, the relegation battle is a relative chasm—any three of 11 teams are still far from safe (mathematically).
Check in on who made our EPL Team of the Week this week.
GK: Artur Boruc, Southampton
Artur Boruc kept Southampton in the game during a rampant opening 20 minutes from Reading, then proceeded to make key stops that thwarted any comeback hopes.
He saved Adrian Mariappa's header low to the right, and then later, the Polish international showed Adam Federici how brave a true Premier League keeper has to be to prevent a goal.
Since Boruc learnt to catch, the Saints have flown up the table.
Alternative: Brad Guzan
RB: Kyle Walker, Tottenham Hotspur
Was it the challenge of playing against the much-lauded Leighton Baines? Was it the absence of Aaron Lennon that left the right flank bare?
We're not sure exactly what Kyle Walker did before the game to get himself in this kind of dominant, ruthless mood, but we'd like to see it more often.
He owned one entire touchline throughout the game, gave Baines a thorough examination and delivered a key pass into Emmanuel Adebayor that eventually saw Gylfi Sigurdsson equalise.
CB: Daniel Agger, Liverpool
Daniel Agger beats out Laurent Koscielny and Branislav Ivanovic (narrowly) for a valuable spot in our Team of the Week.
The Dane was cool and calm in possession, his usual dominant self when called upon and showed excellent concentration levels throughout the 90 minutes.
Alternative: Clint Hill
CB: James Collins, West Ham United
How on earth did West Ham come out of this one with a point and a clean sheet?
It isn't clear, but what we do know is that James Collins had an incredible 90 minutes. He put in block after block—many of them last-ditch—and completed seven tackles.
He's injured a lot, but he puts his body on the line, a valuable trait for a centre-back.
LB: Joe Bennett, Aston Villa
Left-back is generally considered the weak area of Aston Villa's squad, but Joe Bennett is starting to find some good form at the right time.
On paper, the skinny, small-statured full-back was asking for trouble when taking on Stoke City, but the former Middlesbrough product put in a good performance.
He matched up to his markers well and chose his moments carefully—the Potters tend to overload the right and are cross-heavy, so to snuff out as much as he did was a big positive.
CM: Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United
Another week, another appearance for Newcastle United's knight in shining armour: Yohan Cabaye.
The central midfielder dictated proceedings in what quickly became a must-win game for the Magpies considering the results around them, and he was all over the pitch in an effort to find his side that elusive goal.
In the end, it was his shot (was it a pass?) that found Papiss Cisse in the area for a swiveled finish and a 1-0 win.
CM: Ashley Westwood, Aston Villa
Aston Villa picked up a critical 3-1 victory over Stoke City that entirely changed the complexion at the bottom of the table.
Matthew Lowton scored a wonder volley, but the midfield controlled the game. Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood both deserve to make this week's all-star selection, but we've opted for the latter.
Paul Lambert praised Westwood as an unsung hero leading up to the game, and it's easy to see why: What he does isn't flashy, but many envy his ability to keep it simple.
Alternative: Fabian Delph
AMC: Tomas Rosicky, Arsenal
It's not often we see this Tomas Rosicky.
He had a rare goal to open the scoring and followed it up with another great effort, giving Arsenal a 2-0 lead in a must-win game.
His linkup play was excellent and his defensive awareness commendable—good positioning on the line helped him head a goal-bound header clear.
RW: Andros Townsend, Queens Park Rangers
Queens Park Rangers enjoyed a remarkable afternoon on Sunday, taking Wigan Athletic all the way in a 1-1 draw despite being reduced to 10 men in the 20th minute.
Andros Townsend was the driving force behind a spirited win, providing a vertical threat from deep that none of the Latics' defenders could deal with.
Squawka registered Townsend with a whopping 13 successful take-ons, and the Spurs loanee was the single reason why the Rs weren't trapped in their own half all game long.
Alternative: Elliott Bennett
LW: Jay Rodriguez
What an electric performance from Jay Rodriguez.
Granted, Reading were quite poor, but given space and time to run with the ball, this man will torch you for fun. His pace exposed the Royals back line on multiple occasions, and his goal was a brave and deserved effort.
Minutes after his opener he hit the bar, he then went on to miss a one vs. one after good pressing and commitment.
ST: Loic Remy, Queens Park Rangers
So nearly the clutch winner.
Regardless of what it means or doesn't mean, Loic Remy's strike to seemingly seal the points against Wigan Athletic was out of this world.
His side-footed finish after a lung-busting run from Stephane M'Bia was hit with improbably velocity, leaving the keeper stranded.
Earlier on, he'd hit the post with a sumptuous half volley and gone close with a header.