London24 Team of the Week: Carroll, Mertesacker, Holtby and more
12:00 04 February 2013
The London24 sports team choose this week’s star XI from the 14 Premier League and Football League clubs around the capital.
Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers)
The keeper was magnificent against Norwich, who were largely kept quiet in attack, but when Robert Snodgrass did get to the byline the Brazilian pulled off a fine reaction save to deny Wes Hoolahan at point-blank range. Otherwise the Canaries were reduced to long range efforts and on numerous occasions Cesar produced stops at full stretch to keep a second clean sheet in a row.
Defender: Winston Reid (West Ham)
The New Zealander has been the Hammers’ most consistent performer this season, according to manager Sam Allardyce. He was assured and combative in the 1-0 win against Swansea, helping keep the likes of Michu and Pablo Hernadez at bay.
Defender: Chris Samba (Queens Park Rangers)
The club record signing made one error on his debut, passing to Javier Garrido with his first touch, but from there he put in a steely performance in which he kept Norwich striker Grant Holt in his pocket. His £12.5million transfer fee already looks a snip and it was revealed afterwards that he was playing at 40 per cent fitness so a centre-back running on full steam, in this form, will be a big boost to the Hoops’ Premier League survival hops.
Defender: Luke Wilkinson (Dagenham & Redbridge)
The 21-year-old kept the Plymouth Argyle frontline quiet as they drew 0-0 at Home Park. He headed and kicked every possible threat as Daggers kept their eighth clean sheet of the season.
Defender: Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)
Arsenal have struggled badly with the physical threat of Stoke in recent seasons, but Mertesacker was influential in their 1-0 win at the Emirates. The German kept Peter Crouch quiet and dealt with a number of dangerous set pieces.
Midfielder: Andros Townsend (Queens Park Rangers)
The young loan signing from Spurs instantly gave the Premier League’s basement boys more pace and drive. In a lively performance he ran the ball from deep, got stuck in when it mattered and, were it not for an inspired performance from Norwich keeper Mark Bunn, might have bagged himself a debut goal.
Midfielder: Gareth Bale (Spurs)
Another dazzling display from the Welshman, as he grabbed his second stunning goal in as many games in the 1-0 win at West Brom. Bale’s lethal form eases Andre Villas-Boas striker woes after Jermain Defoe was ruled out for three weeks.
Midfielder: Lewis Holtby (Spurs)
The 22-year-old already looks at home at Spurs after his January arrival from Schalke. After making a late substitute appearance against Norwich last week, he was thrown on for Defoe after 39 minutes at West Brom. He showed off his sharp passing skills throughout and was calm and creative in midfield.
Striker: Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Another confident showing from the in-form 23-year-old. His direct running caused all sorts of trouble for the Potters defence and he was a dangerous outlet for the Gunners throughout. He didn’t add to his goal tally but won the free kick for Lukas Podolski’s match-winner.
Striker: Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace were dominated by Charlton in the first half of their derby clash at Selhurst Park, but once again Murray proved the difference. The 29-year-old hit two smart finishes late on as the Eagles claimed three points. The brace takes him to 25 goals for the season, cementing his status as the division’s top scorer.
Striker: Andy Carroll (West Ham)
How West Ham have missed Andy Carroll. The towering frontman was brilliant against the Swansea, proving a real menace and giving Sam Allardyce’s side a genuine threat up front. His link up play was excellent and he fully deserved his match-winning header. He could find himself back in an England shirt sooner rather than later.