With the Christmas fixtures almost completed it is time to look at who has shined and who has let themselves down.Hot Team
In all truth, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not a great fan of the red half of Merseyside, but you cannot fail to respect and admire what is going on at Anfield this season.
Liverpool have made it very clear that they are genuine challengers to Chelsea and Manchester United this season. A simple 3-0 win over Bolton and a 5-1 annihilation of Newcastle at St JamesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Park have moved them clear at the top.
At times they play scintillating football and with Steve Gerrard playing in a basically free role, they look every inch potential champions.Not Hot team
With a defeat at Wigan and a humbling at home to Liverpool, Newcastle staked a strong claim for this award, but I am going to look elsewhere.
What has happened to Tottenham? After their great start under Harry Redknapp things have turned a little sour. A 2-0 defeat at West Brom following on from a goalless draw at home to Fulham made it no win in four and a pretty miserable Christmas at White Hart Lane.
I think a fair amount of money may need to be spent in the transfer window if Tottenham arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to slide back into trouble.Hot keeper
It is rare for a keeper on the wrong end of a 5-1 defeat to be awarded the man of the match award and it is even rarer for me to select a keeper who has conceded five goals as the weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬ËœHot keeperÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
On this occasion though I have no hesitation in giving the award to NewcastleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Shay Given. He was outstanding in his sideÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s humiliation by Liverpool and in the first twenty-five minutes made five world class saves. He went on to make another handful of decent stops and is a worthy winner of the award.Not Hot keeper
I am a huge fan of David James who has without doubt been EnglandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best keeper for a number of years. He has always had a major clanger in his locker but, on the whole, he has been an exceptional number one.
This season he has looked particularly shaky and has interspersed some great saves with many mistakes. He made a few at The Emirates the other day and one of them cost his side the goal that lost them the match.
I hope it is only a temporary loss of form but at the age of thirty-eight it could be a whole lot more than that.Hot defender
There has been much written about the temperament of ArsenalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s William Gallas. He has been decried as a man without the stomach for a fight.
After everything that has happened to him one could have expected him to fade away. On Sunday he came up with the winning goal for his team after helping them defend a clean sheet. I think that shows character that many observers seem to feel is absent.Not Hot defender
StokeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Andy Wilkinson is not the first and wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be the last defender to be wound up by Manchester UnitedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Having said that, when your side is on the verge of an excellent 0-0 draw with the Champions and you have already been booked, you need to show a strong character to see the game through to the end.
When Wilkinson flew into a spiteful tackle from behind on the Portuguese winger and received his deserved and inevitable red card he showed nothing of the sort.
Who knows whether United would have got their late winner if Stoke had kept eleven men on the pitch?Hot midfielder
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a toss up this week between the two England stars who can apparently not play together in the same team.
Steve Gerrard was exceptional for Liverpool and on any other week he would have taken this award. However, ChelseaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Frank Lampard scored three goals in their two games and took his tally for the season once again into double figures.
LampardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s scoring record from midfield is remarkable and shows no sign of slowing up. Despite what his detractors continue to say, Frank Lampard is still a world class player.Not Hot midfielder
I always thought that Bolton captain Kevin Nolan was a bit of a hero with the Bolton faithful. It is only reading through some of the club message boards that I found that might not be the case.
He was particularly poor in their defeat against Wigan and one back pass in particular nearly cost his side dear.
Nolan has never quite lived up to the promise he showed a few seasons ago when he was being suggested as a challenger to the established England midfield. He looks a long way away from that now.Hot striker
There was so much fuss over the signing of Robinho by Manchester City that miracles were expected from him. Of course, at thirty-two million pounds, the fans had a right to expect quite a lot from him.
The mercurial Brazilian hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t always produced the goods for his struggling side since his arrival although there have been flashes of his undoubted brilliance at times.
It is a remarkable fact that City have won only six of their twenty games but have won each of those six by three goals or more. In other words, when they are good, they are very, very, good. When they are very, very good, Robinho is usually at the heart of it.
Three goals in two games helped City to four points and a step closer to safety.Not Hot striker
I have rarely seen anyone act as stupidly on a football pitch as StokeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ricardo Fuller did at West Ham. In slapping his own captain Andy Griffen after Griffen had been partially at fault for West HamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s equaliser, he showed an astonishing lack of brains!
He was rightly sent off and may have cost his side the game as they went on to lose 2-1. I hope he feels ashamed of himself.