There were some great performances this weekend but surely the award has to go to West Brom. After they missed a first half penalty they went on to take a 3-0 lead at the Emirates and hang on to beat Arsenal 3-2. That in itself is enough to win the award but add to that the fact that they were the better team for long periods, and the fact that they did it by playing great football, and there is no choice in the matter.
Not Hot team
There are a few contenders but I’m going for a team who didn’t actually lose. Just what is going wrong at Liverpool? They look like a team with no shape and no organisation. Those are two things that you would expect a Roy Hodgson team to have in spades. It just doesn’t make sense.
I hope I am a fair man and recognise when praise is due. I have been amongst the many who have given West Ham’s Robert Green a hard time this season following his awful World Cup, but I have to say he was excellent in his side’s surprise 1-0 win over Tottenham.
One save he made, in particular, was nothing short of world class. If he manages to keep up this form and put the last few weeks behind him, then I will take my hat off to the man.
Not Hot keeper
Manuel Almunia. That’s it, nothing more to say.
He is an unsung hero for Fulham but I thought Aaron Hughes was excellent against Everton on Saturday. His defensive partner Brede Hangeland gets lots of plaudits but Hughes rarely does. He is a consistent performer and one who deserves occasional recognition.
Not Hot defender
This is a joint prize today. I have to give the award to the entire Arsenal back four. West Brom played really well but they must have thought it was Christmas when they were faced by four players who looked as though they had never met. Having said that, it can’t be easy playing in front of a totally untrustworthy keeper.
He has been somewhat forgotten by England and I never really rated him at Middlesbrough but Aston Villa’s Stewart Downing is starting to show why he has so many admirers. He is beginning to become a key member of the Villa side and he certainly has the sweetest of left feet.
Not Hot midfielder
There is definitely one rule for the big clubs and another for everyone else. Steve Gerrard was very lucky to stay on the pitch on Saturday. He led with his forearm and pushed it into the face of an opponent. Either the referee, the awful Stuart Attwell, saw it or he didn’t. If he saw it, it had to be a red card. If he didn’t, it was nothing. The fact he produced a yellow card says he saw it and the decision was ridiculous.
As Steve Bruce said afterwards, if the offender had been Lee Cattermole there is no doubt the card would have been red.
He didn’t get a kick in the first half, but how good was Kenwyne Jones in the second half of Stoke’s win at Newcastle? He absolutely terrorised the home side’s defence, scoring one and hitting the woodwork twice. If he continues in this vain he will become of the Premier League’s most feared strikers.
Not Hot striker
Another lucky boy was Wigan’s Rodallega. He led with an elbow and then pushed his head into Birmingham’s Johnson’s face when he complained. End result was a yellow card. He shouldn’t have stayed on the pitch.
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