Premier League Team of Midweek: Sturridge, Gerrard & Suarez Shine
Welcome to the latest edition of our Premier League Team of the Week—a special midweek selection thanks to a special bonus slate of games.
Adrian of West Ham United held firm to deny Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, but who joins him in our set? There are players from both derby games involved, while a few of Southampton's impressive crop made the grade, too.
This week, we've included an all-new substitutes' bench—by virtue of public demand!
GK: Adrian, West Ham United
West Ham escaped Wednesday night's encounter with Chelsea with a point and a clean sheet—and only Adrian will know how.
This isn't Adrian's first superb outing so it's little wonder Jussi Jaaskelainen is stuck on the bench.
RB: Mathieu Debuchy, Newcastle United
Newcastle United stuttered offensively without Yohan Cabaye on Wednesday night, but Mathieu Debuchy did his level best to get the Magpies going.
He kept a clean sheet—always a bonus—during his side's 0-0 draw with Norwich Cit, and started several attacks by stepping in and intercepting play with ease.
His defensive skill-set is getting better.
CB: Chico Flores, Swansea City
Swansea City procured a mightily important victory at home to Fulham on Tuesday, furthering their survival bid and putting a dampener on Rene Meulensteen's in the process.
Chico Flores was a strong presence at the back, heavily involved in the possession game as the Swans starved their opponents of the ball, then chipping in with a goal to seal the result after 75 minutes.
CB: Chris Smalling, Manchester United
Despite the national UK press delivering the typical Juan Mata saviour narrative, the truth is Cardiff City had Manchester United looking ragged for long periods on Wednesday night.
The Bluebirds worked several strong spells of pressure and produced a few excellent crossing opportunities, and it was only the positional excellence of Chris Smalling that meant Fraizer Campbell failed to grab a goal against his former club.
LB: Luke Shaw, Southampton
Luke Shaw was in dominant form on Tuesday night as Southampton drew 2-2 with Arsenal.
The Saints controlled the game for long periods and made the Gunners look average for the most part, and although the England right-back failed to grab a clean sheet or a win, he did look tidy on the ball, assured in the pass and delivered a killer cross for Jose Fonte to head home.
DM: Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton
Morgan Schneiderlin put together an absolutely monstrous game in Southampton's midfield on Tuesday night against Arsenal.
Saints saw more possession come their way and the Frenchman's passing accuracy was vital to that, while he also stepped in to break up play masterfully in midfield. With seven recoveries, six tackles and three interceptions, he could well be our player of the week.
DM: Fernandinho, Manchester City
Fernandinho was at his surging, attacking best against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.
The Brazilian, so used to being confined to a defensive role in Manchester City's midfield, is slowly coming out of his shell and beginning to take a firmer grasp on games.
He looked like the Fernandinho of old at White Hart Lane and wouldn't have looked out of place in the black and orange stripes of Shakhtar Donetsk.
CM: Steven Gerrard, Liverpool
Captain fantastic Steven Gerrard. You can always rely on him in a derby.
Liverpool wiped the floor with Everton on Tuesday night in a prime-time Merseyside tussle and Gerrard opened the scoring with a slick near-post header from a corner.
The passion in his celebration revealed just how much it meant to him.
RW: Andi Weimann, Aston Villa
Aston Villa fans have been waiting for Andi Weimann to play well since the final day of last season and on Wednesday, in the derby, he delivered.
It's been a half-campaign to forget for the Austrian, who failed to find his touch throughout the autumn and winter months but now appears to be feeding off Christian Benteke's confidence and growing as a player again.
His chipped finish, over the head of Ben Foster, was a delightful effort that hauled his side back into the contest. He went on to make great ground down the right, provided an outlet and made tons of space for others.
LW: Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool
Daniel Sturridge's brace against Everton sealed a glorious derby-day win for Liverpool and the nature of the goals were truly special.
In particular, his outrageous lob that nestled perfectly into the corner of the net from 20 yards had the crowd in utter disbelief—it was a moment of genius that knocked the stuffing out of the Toffees' comeback plans.
ST: Luis Suarez, Liverpool
It wouldn't be a true Liverpool demolition without Luis Suarez netting at least one, would it?
Daniel Sturridge may have stolen the show, but his Uruguayan strike partner reliably tucked away a one vs. one chance in which he did well to hold off Phil Jagielka.
Despite it not being a stupendous golazo, it was probably one of his best, and most impressive, goals this season.
GK: Vito Mannone, Sunderland
CB: Jose Fonte, Southampton
CM: Jake Livermore, Hull City
RW: Adam Johnson, Sunderland
AMC: Adam Lallana, Southampton
LW: Ashley Young, Manchester United
ST: Christian Benteke, Aston Villa