PL Team of the Week
Sky Sports picks out the best performers from the Premier League after the latest round of fixtures.
Last Updated: 09/04/13 10:41am
Team of the week
Tim Krul - Newcastle
Papiss Cisse took the headlines after scoring yet another late winner at St James' Park on Sunday but the real hero for Newcastle in their 1-0 victory over Fulham was their Dutch goalkeeper. Krul came up with two outstanding saves to keep the Magpies on level terms. Firstly he denied the Cottagers with a moment of brilliance when he threw himself in front of Stanislav Manolev's shot from point-blank range at a corner. Then the 25-year-old kept Dimitar Berbatov at bay with another superb save, arching to his left to tip the Bulgarian's header over the bar.
Matthew Lowton - Aston Villa
The Villa right-back has been among the team's most impressive performers all season but is finally getting the headlines he deserves after his amazing strike in the 3-1 win over Stoke. With the Potters pushing for a winner, Lowton volleyed past Asmir Begovic to completely shift the momentum of the game - and perhaps Villa's season. As Gary Neville told Monday Night Football: "Forget the technique, forget the goal. It's the importance of it, the magnitude of it. How important could this be for the confidence, the belief and the points tally of this Aston Villa team?"
James Collins - West Ham
The Wales international could have been forgiven for not looking forward to his afternoon at Anfield. The prospect of marking Luis Suarez is not an appetising one, such is the form of the Liverpool striker and there were a few hairy moments for Collins on Saturday as the Uruguayan's trickery saw him wriggle free. But Collins stuck to his task and produced a series of tackles, blocks and clearances to ensure West Ham kept a clean sheet and earned a goalless draw against the odds.
Laurent Koscielny - Arsenal
Koscielny lost his centre-back partner Per Mertesacker with 20 minutes of the game remaining and with The Hawthorns rocking it would have been easy for Arsenal to crack under the pressure. Instead, the Gunners rose to the challenge. "The last 20 minutes was obviously very nervy because we had 10 men," admitted Arsene Wenger. "But we kept our nerve and we were committed. We have good spirit, the team is growing and we have a resolute attitude. And, of course, the run we are on makes the team stronger." Nobody typified that spirit more than Koscielny.
Luke Shaw - Southampton
You'd think reminding yourself that Shaw is just 17 years old would not be necessary given the amount we are told about this youngster. And yet, it seems as incongruous as ever as he continues to perform with such confidence and maturity in the Southampton back-line. He contributed defensively to a Saints clean sheet in the 2-0 win over Reading on Saturday but he was equally at home getting forward down that left flank.
Elliott Bennett - Norwich
After catching the eye during Norwich's return to the Premier League, the 24-year-old winger has been a little more low-key during the current campaign. The 2-2 draw at home to Swansea on Saturday showed Bennett at his best. Firstly, he delivered a pinpoint cross to the far post where Robert Snodgrass produced a successful diving header to equalise. Then he curled in a free-kick for Michael Turner to head the Canaries ahead. Although the lead wasn't held, Chris Hughton is likely to have been impressed by Bennett's contribution to the point.
James Milner - Man City
The build-up to the Manchester derby had focused on the influence of James Milner and the aftermath placed the emphasis on the match-winning strike of Sergio Aguero. But despite all of the talented footballers on the pitch, it was the all-round contribution of James Milner that impressed most and saw him take home the champagne in a 2-1 win. Roberto Mancini has questioned the attitude of some of his star names this season but it's fair to assume Milner was not among them and he got his reward with the opening goal at Old Trafford.
Tomas Rosicky - Arsenal
"I'm not a big goalscorer so it feels great when you score two goals in a game and help your team to win," Rosicky told Sky Sports after the game. While it's true that the Czech has flattered to deceive at times in his Arsenal career, this important brace in the 2-1 win over West Brom gives the Gunners a great chance of once again finishing above rivals Tottenham and securing Champions League football. Arsene Wenger was certainly impressed. "Every year he gives us a push at the end of the season," said the Arsenal boss. "I hope he finishes his career with us. I rate him that highly."
Andros Townsend - QPR
The on-loan Tottenham winger broke a Premier League record on Sunday when he completed 14 separate dribbles - the most Opta have recorded since records began. It's indicative of the way he has been troubling defences throughout his productive loan spell with the Hoops. Those fast breaks were of particular importance to QPR at the weekend as they were forced to play with 10 men for much of the game. Townsend even looked to have set up the winner only for Shaun Maloney to cancel the goal out late on as Wigan earned a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.
Jay Rodriguez - Southampton
There were plenty who questioned the substantial fee that Southampton paid Burnley for the young forward in the summer but Rodriguez is now showing signs of developing into a significant Premier League force. His attitude is certainly not in question but it was the quality of his link-up play allied to this energy that did for Reading as Saints claimed a deserved 2-0 win. The 23-year-old was a constant threat and it was his enthusiasm and awareness in latching onto Rickie Lambert's through-ball that brought the breakthrough.
Loic Remy - QPR
This was not the ideal game for Remy to show his skills given that his strike partner Bobby Zamora had been sent off in the first half. And yet, how can you ignore the France international when he produces such a sensational goal? The 26-year-old had the energy to race clear on the break late on and, despite being forced wide by the pass, hit the most astonishing side-footed effort past the helpless Joel Robles. The goal sent Loftus Road wild. The only disappointment for Remy was that it did not prove to be the winner as Wigan netted a last-gasp equaliser.