The London24 team of the week: Has a player from your club made the cut?
16:23 29 October 2012
In the first of a brand new weekly feature, the London24 Sports team pick our star 11 based on the performances from around the capital’s 14 Premier League and Football League clubs.
Ten-man Chelsea lost for the first time in the top flight this term in a controversial 3-2 reverse at the Bridge to Manchester United.
There was a derby day victories for Arsenal over city rivals OPR, while Spurs beat Southampton, Fulham drew with Reading and West Ham lost on the road to Wigan.
In the Championship, managerless Crystal Palace extended their unbeaten run to ten games, while Millwall made it six outings without defeat.
In the bottom division, Barnet made it three games unbeaten under former AC Milan legend Edgar Davids with a 1-0 triumph over Chesterfield as they look to drag themselves out of the relegation zone.
After heated debate, reasoning, pleading and a little bit of begging, here’s our team of the week. See whether you agree with our choices. If you have a different view then get involved and leave a comment at the bottom of this article.
GOALKEEPER – Julio Cesar; Queens Park Rangers
The Brazilian stopper may have ended up on the losing side when Rangers made the short trip to the Emirates, but time and again he kept the Gunners at bay before Mikel Arteta’s late offside goal settled the tie. And you can’t blame the goalie for a poor decision by the officials.
Though this was a close decision, with Barnet’s Graham Stack also performing heroics to keep a clean sheet, Cesar’s performance was enough for manager Mark Hughes to say that his keeper is as good as two goalkeeping legends in former Manchester United man Peter Schmeichel and ex-Everton number one Neville Southall. High praise indeed.
DEFENDER – Peter Ramage; Crystal Palace
Who needs Dougie Freedman? The Eagles carried on where their former manager had left off by continuing their rich vein of form.
Peter Ramage’s first goal in over two years proved to be decisive as the Selhurst Park side beat Leicester 2-1 and made it ten games unbeaten in the Championship, while ending the Foxes’ 100 per cent home record.
DEFENDER – Danny Shittu; Millwall
The towering defender was a stand-out performer against Huddersfield as Millwall rectified a midweek horror show against Birmingham where they let a three-goal lead slip.
There was no repeat when the Terriers rolled up to The Den and Shittu shut to door in the Yorkshire side’s face time and again, reducing them to a solitary shot on target during the entire game.
DEFENDER – Mark Beevers; Millwall
It’s hard to see past the central pairing for the Lions this week as they gave Huddersfield little change with some combative performances.
Millwall’s fortunes have also taken a turn for the better since he’s been in the side. The 22-year-old, on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, has played four times for manager Kenny Jackett since his temporary switch to London at the beginning of the month and is yet to feature on a losing side.
DEFENDER – Bacary Sagna; Arsenal
The French full back put in a decent shift for the Gunners after returning to the starting line-up for the first time since May, after breaking his leg.
The 29-year-old was solid at the back but, going forward, he made the most of the space that QPR afforded him. In one move he provided a cross for Aaron Ramsey who saw his header clip the bar.
MIDFIELD – Jack Wilshere; Arsenal
The young England international made a massive impact in the Gunners’ 1-0 victory over QPR, to help arrest a two-game losing run.
What made it truly impressive was that it was the 20-year-old’s start for over a year after injury kept him out for the entirety of last term.
He completed 44 out of 47 passes while an outstanding 21 out of 22 were made in the final third. Queue the clamour for an England call and Arsene Wenger to urge caution over his young talent.
MIDFIELD – Gareth Bale; Tottenham
The stage was set for the Welsh wizard to return from a two-game leave of absence – to be at the birth of his daughter – and net against former side Southampton.
The Spurs star didn’t disappoint only taking 15 minutes to open the scoring at St Mary’s and he showed some class to keep his celebrations to a minimum in front of the south coast faithful that once sang his name.
Bale’s performance saw manager Andre Villas-Boas say that the 23-year-old has the tools to “go all the way to becoming one of the best”.
MIDFIELD – Juan Mata
The Spaniard was at the heart of the Blues’ revival from two early Manchester United goals. His stunning free-kick just before the break gave the west Londoners a way back into the contest and then the former Valencia ace was involved in the build-up to Ramires’ equaliser early in the second half.
The fact that the match will be remembered for the contribution of the referee Mark Clattenburg shouldn’t distract from another classy Mata performance.
MIDFIELD – Mark Byrne; Barnet
The Dubliner netted a pressure 90th minute penalty at Chesterfield after Andy Yiadom had been upended in the box.
While the Bees’ result owed a lot to resolute defending it takes a cool head to step forward at such a crucial stage in the game.
It made it seven points from 12 since Edgar Davids went to Underhill as player/co-manager as they clawed back ground on Aldershot and Wycombe in the fight to avoid the Football League trap door.
FORWARD – Chris Wood; Millwall
The 20-year-old on loan from West Bromwich Albion netted his second successive brace in a 4-0 romp over Huddersfield as he terrorised their defence, alongside Darius Henderson – who would have been a contender for the other forward’s position this week had he found the net when he rounded the Huddersfield keeper.
Manager Kenny Jackett admitted afterwards he’s yet to speak to the Baggies about extending the New Zealander’s stay beyond January, but more performances like Saturday’s and surely there will be a call and an offer put in to the Hawthorns.
FORWARD – Paul Hayes; Brentford
Thirteen is unlucky for some but not, it turns out, for Paul Hayes who bagged a brace on his 13th appearance for the Bees to finally open his account since signing on a free in the summer.
The 29-year-old found the net in each half but Brentford couldn’t account for two own goals that twice allowed managerless Hartlepool back into their League One contest at Griffin Park which ended 2-2.
Nevertheless, the experienced striker will be looking to go on a scoring spree now he’s broken his duck.