Last weekend gave us one of the most exciting Premier League round of fixtures seen in a long time, so choosing the GiveMeFootball Team of the Weekend was as enjoyable as it was difficult.
The pick of the games would either have to be Chelsea’s defeat at Newcastle United, where both teams came form behind to lead, or Everton’s 3-3 draw at home to Aston Villa.
The Toffees needed a goal deep into injury time to break Villa hearts and salvage a point from a game they would have been heavy favourites to win beforehand.
Southampton were involved in another entertaining game when they came from behind to lead at Wigan, before an 89th minute Shaun Maloney goal meant the spoils were shared.
Meanwhile, Manchester United and Arsenal ground out 1-0 wins in tough matches, while Tottenham were helped to do the same when West Brom defender Goran Popov spat at Kyle Walker.
The weekend ended with a cracking encounter at the Etihad Stadium where two fantastic goals lit up the exciting 2-2 draw between champions Manchester City and Brendan Rodgers’ improving Liverpool side.
So, plenty of outstanding performances to choose from, but choose we must.
Here is the final XI:
GK – Asmir Begovic, Arsenal v STOKE CITY
The Bosnian ‘keeper was on the losing side at Emirates Stadium but he was probably man of the match in a very tight encounter. Tony Pulis’ side were typically stubborn at the back, but the few times Arsenal did breach the back line Begovic was equal to it.
LB – Benoit Assou-Ekotto, West Brom v TOTTENHAM
With Gareth Bale given licence to roam and Clint Dempsey only really playing left on the teamsheets, Assou-Ekotto was given a great deal to do by himself. The Cameroon international did it well though and was rarely troubled while the Baggies had 11 men and so the inclination to attack in numbers.
RB – Mathieu Debuchy, NEWCASTLE UNITED v Chelsea
Debuchy arrived from Lille with the reputation of a good international full-back, but it was difficult to see before Saturday’s cracker. Alan Pardew’s side were terrific on the counter-attack, with Debuchy’s positioning and anticipation leading to a number of dangerous breaks.
CB – Rio Ferdinand, Fulham v MANCHESTER UNITED
The veteran centre-back was rolling back the years on Saturday evening, giving a fantastic display of defending. Ferdinand’s England exile may not be self-imposed but it appears to have sparked a run of fitness and form not seen from him for a while. He seemed to be getting on the end of everything as Fulham pressed for an equaliser in the dying minutes.
CB – Joleon Lescott, MANCHESTER CITY v Liverpool
Roberto Mancini has favoured Matija Nastasic alongside Vincent Kompany for most of this season, but the captain’s injury meant a recall for Lescott. The England international stepped up brilliantly and was impressive in a great match that saw some high quality goals.
CM – Moussa Sissoko, NEWCASTLE UNITED v Chelsea
Sissoko moved to St James’ Park from Toulouse followed by the overriding opinion that he was on the decline. If this is a man in decline, he must have been incredible before the slide. Power, pace and finishing were all on display as Sissoko scored a brace to see Newcastle prevail in a rousing clash.
CM – Frank Lampard, Newcastle United v CHELSEA
The Blues may have lost this one but Lampard’s continued form continues to make Chelsea’s decision not to offer him new deal an unwise one (has anybody mentioned this before?). Scored an absolute belter to equalise and stood out as quality in a naïve Blues performance.
LM – Gareth Bale, West Brom v TOTTENHAM
Ok, he didn’t play on the left but he was brilliant and could walk into any team in the world on the left, especially this one. Spurs would really be in trouble if they didn’t have the Welshman; he is quicker than everyone else, stronger than everyone else and has a hammer of a left foot. Scored a thumping winner from the edge of the area and was by far and away the best player on the pitch.
RM – James Milner, MANCHESTER CITY v Liverpool
The England midfielder is getting more playing this year and is rewarding Mancini with some terrific displays. Milner’s work rate and desire will never be questioned but the quality he was regularly showing a couple of seasons back is beginning to return. Got a nice assist for the opener and was a nuisance throughout.
AM – Santi Cazorla, ARSENAL v Stoke City
Arsene Wenger possibly left him on the bench due to the physical challenge posed by the Potters but he will think twice about it next time. The Spaniard came on when the match looked like petering out and injected an extra bit of quality to start exploit the small cracks that were appearing in a tired Stoke defence.
CF – Wayne Rooney, Fulham v MANCHESTER UNITED
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are on a roll that looks unstoppable; when Robin van Persie is a little quiet and doesn’t get on the scoresheet, Rooney invariably steps up to male the difference. Fulham gave United a tough time but a moment of sublime quality in the England man’s finish settled the match.
What would be your team of the weekend? Join in the debate and leave a comment below to let us know…