London24 Team of the Week: Mata, Lennon and Joe Cole lead the way
12:00 21 January 2013
Most of the week’s matches survived the snow, so here’s London24’s star XI from the Premier League and Football League clubs around the capital.
Goalkeeper – Paul Smith (Southend)
Not a London-based player, but we couldn’t resist including him. The former Brentford stopper produced twelve fantastic saves on his return to Griffin Park as Southend were beaten 2-1 in their FA Cup replay against the Bees on Tuesday. It could, and should, have been a lot worse for his side.
Defender – Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)
The Spaniard is becoming a mainstay at right back for Rafa Benitez’s side. He was defensively assured against Arsenal and provided the pinpoint cross-field pass for Juan Mata’s opener.
Defender – Ryan Nelsen (QPR)
It’s almost time for the New Zealander to bid farewell to the R’s and he put in another battling defensive performance at West Ham. He helped his side hold on for a point and soon heads off to the MLS to coach Toronto FC. He will be missed.
Defender – Gary Cahill (Chelsea)
After the Blues’ 2-1 win against Arsenal, Benitez admitted John Terry might find it hard to win back his place in the side. Cahill was a rock for at the heart of Chelsea’s defence, helping repel a late barrage from the Gunners.
Defender – Chris Solly (Charlton)
The Addicks full-back helped Chris Powell’s side to an impressive victory against Michael Appleton’s Blackburn with a typically solid showing.
Midfielder – Aaron Lennon (Spurs)
The Spurs wideman had a great game in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at White Hart Lane, terrorising Patric Evra and proving a handful all afternoon.
Midfielder – Joe Cole (West Ham)
Cole’s West Ham homecoming has been a triumph so far. The 31-year-old scored the Hammers’ equaliser against QPR and was a constant menace on the flank.
Midfielder – Dale Stephens (Charlton)
Stephens, who has a summer transfer target for Aston Villa, smashed home a glorious strike from 25 yards as the Addicks beat Blackburn 2-1.
Midfielder – Juan Mata (Chelsea)
The Spaniard was imperious in the first half against Arsenal, slicing the Gunners open at will. His brilliant control and emphatic finish for the Blues’ opener showed him at his very best.
Midfielder – Matt Jarvis (West Ham)
The former Wolves man has yet to live up to his £10.75million summer transfer fee but was in top form on Saturday. Marouane Chamakh should have buried one of his many dangerous crosses.
Striker – Loic Remy (QPR)
A dream debut for the Frenchman, who showcased his finishing ability with a well-taken opening goal against the Hammers. QPR will be hoping his ruthless form continues as they battle to beat the drop.