Premier League Team of the Week: Johnson, Noble, Januzaj and Suarez Star
Welcome to the latest edition of our Premier League Team of the Week!
Adam Johnson stole the show in netting a sublime hat-trick for Sunderland against Fulham on Saturday, but who else has made the cut? Who caught the eye?
If you disagree with our selections, be sure to post your own in the comments below and start the conversation.
GK: Adrian, West Ham United
Adrian, still stepping in for Jussi Jaaskelainen in goal for West Ham, had a decidedly better outing than in his last two games.
Rather than conceding five or six goals like he's become accustomed to, he did the complete inverse: kept a clean sheet.
The arena in which he did so, too, was crucial: Keeping Cardiff City out and producing a string of impressive saves helped his side to a vital 2-0 win.
RB: Rafael, Manchester United
David Moyes has been waiting patiently for an all-action, roaming right-back performance this season. Rafael has answered the call.
While Chris Smalling has been very solid in defence, Manchester United look at their maximal attacking value with both Rafael and Antonio Valencia pairing up on the right side.
The Brazilian was everywhere on Saturday and had a definitive impact in the final third.
CB: Martin Demichelis, Manchester City
There were no incredible performances among centre-backs this weekend, but Martin Demichelis heads a strong duo all the same.
The Manchester City man has settled in at his new club well and continually puts in good showings despite largely being overshadowed by his colleagues.
Vincent Kompany's the captain fantastic, Matija Nastasic the injury-prone prospect, Joleon Lescott the transfer target for dozens of clubs—not enough praise is heaped upon the solid Argentine defender.
CB: Vlad Chiriches, Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur got back to regular ways in keeping a clean sheet against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Although the Eagles' offensive threat was slightly lacking, the Romanian put together another assured performance that speaks volumes of his considerable talent and confidence.
Vlad Chiriches just plays the position in a different way to so many others.
LB: Leighton Baines, Everton
After a short absence due to injury, Leighton Baines is back on the pitch and back in our Team of the Week.
He played an influential role in Everton's 2-0 victory over Norwich City on Saturday, taking 113 touches as the Toffees dominated possession of the ball.
Excellent pass accuracy, good stretching of the pitch and a strong defensive presence—it was a complete performance...as usual.
CM: Gareth Barry, Everton
Gareth Barry continued his stellar season of improvement with a solid showing against Norwich City on Saturday.
As usual, the Englishman took his defensive duties seriously and covered for Leighton Baines going forward, but he also made an impact in the attacking third and scored an absolute screamer.
Are you watching, Roy Hodgson?
CM: Mark Noble, West Ham United
Mark Noble put in the performance of the weekend for West Ham United, committing himself entirely to the cause as his side ran out 2-0 winners against Cardiff City.
Wins against relegation rivals boost morale, and it was Noble's all-action showing—ranging from box-to-box midfielder, tackles as a right-back and headed clearances as a centre-back—that set him apart from the crowd.
His goal was the icing on the cake.
UPDATE: Wing: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Eden Hazard put in yet another world-class performance to help Chelsea beat Hull City 2-0 at the KC Stadium on Saturday.
His goal was not only expertly taken, but also demonstrated how and why he's upped his game to an elite level this season: ghosting across goal he waited patiently for his chance to open up before slamming it straight into the corner.
It's fantastic to see the Belgian finding a measure of consistency.
This selection was formerly Antonio Valencia of Manchester United.
Wing: Adam Johnson, Sunderland
Adam Johnson put in a superlative performance against Fulham on Saturday, notching a hat-trick and one assist to secure a vitally important result against a fellow relegation contender.
His beautiful free-kick set the tone for a barnstorming performance at Craven Cottage, his second capped a marvellous victory and his third—from the penalty spot—crowned a day of personal rejuvenation.
More of the same, AJ?
AMC: Adnan Januzaj, Manchester United
Adnan Januzaj floated all over the pitch during Manchester United's 2-0 win over Swansea City on Saturday, tormenting every defender he came up against.
He ended the game on the left flank after being switched over to test Angel Rangel (who was on a yellow card), and his dribbling, agility and drive came to the fore.
He's deceptively quick and stronger than he looks and possesses immense footballing IQ. A star on the rise.
ST: Luis Suarez, Liverpool
Quelle surprise, Luis Suarez heads our Team of the Week.
Offensively, Liverpool clicked in the second half, and the Uruguayan scored two goals to lead his side to a rare win at the Britannia Stadium.
He also got his strike partner Daniel Sturridge back, and it didn't take him long to set up an additional goal for his English colleague.
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