Posts tagged Odemwingie
Posts tagged Odemwingie
After most game weeks, the performance given by Wayne Rooney would’ve been more than enough to seal his place in the team of the week: in a fiercely contested derby match between the red half of Manchester and the red half of Merseyside, it was the former Evertonian that fired United to glory with a three-minute quick fire salvo that saw the England striker finish a Ryan Giggs cross, with a smart half-volley into the roof of the net and an Antonio Valencia through ball.
However, as was the performance of one England manager candidate’s team and the performance of another candidate for the same job’s team nearly matching that, Wayne Rooney didn’t make the cut and instead, the team is dominated by Tottenham, West Brom and Everton players: two of the players represent good value for money from the January transfer window.
Keeping a clean sheet against Chelsea could be seen as an easier task nowadays, especially considering Fernando Torres plays upfront week-in-week-out and Didier Drogba was on Africa Cup of Nations duty: however, their top scorer, Frank Lampard, was starting again and midweek visits from Russian owner Roman Abramovich, cranked up the pressure for The Blues to get a result. Unluckily, for Andre Villas-Boas, Everton hit two goals without reply and it is now three games since Chelsea’s last clean sheet and their ‘keeper has the worst shots to saves ratio in the Premier League. Contrastingly, Tim Howard kept his net empty, made three vital saves to deny Chelsea a way back into the game and has now kept as many clean sheets as Petr Cech, with six.
As part of the best defence in the Premier League so far this season, conceding only nineteen goals, thirteen of them coming away from home, Joleon Lescott has been a mainstay at the heart of the Manchester City back-four for most of this season, missing only 374 minutes of football up to the 25th game of the season. Yesterday’s 1-0 away win against Aston Villa came in Lescott’s 8th clean sheet performance for Manchester City and was earned through his 62nd minute goal from close range. His man of the match performance is enough to earn himself a place in this week’s team of the week.
Mr. “I don’t like football – it is just a job” is probably enjoying his football this season: the Tottenham left-back, signed for just £3.5m, had scored just two goals before this season, and only one for Tottenham: however, this weekend, saw him double his tally after his second goal in a month started off Spurs’ demolition of Newcastle United. Unlike his previous two long-range screamers, this strike was neatly put away from 10-yards as the French-born Cameroonian international latched on to an Emmanuel Adebayor cross. His performance contributed to Tottenham’s second clean sheet of the week and earns him a place in the best XI.
As well as Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham hitting five past Newcastle United, fellow England candidate Roy Hodgson, saw his West Brom side smash Wolves for five, subsequently costing Mick McCarthy his job. In amongst the goals was defender Jonas Olsson: having scored the goal to put West Brom back into the lead over their Black Country rivals, the scorer turned provider just over ten minutes later, to help Peter Odemwingie towards his hat-trick. Although the 6’6 Swede didn’t keep a clean sheet, a goal and assist in a performance that saw him hail his boss as the “best coach in England,” was enough to earn him his place in the XI.
In a fairly abysmal Wigan defence, this is one man that can hold his head fairly high: missing just two games all season and having only been subbed once, the Scot has become an ever-present in the Latics’ defence since signing from Celtic in 2010. In a rare win, in fact only their fourth, for Wigan, the defender earned the man of the match award for the away side and his goal and strong defensive display at the back capped and signified a resilient Wigan performance that will be needed if they are indeed, “ready to fight” as Roberto Martinez has stated.
N’Zonzi, even with the return of sharp-shooting Yakubu, was Blackburn’s best performer in their Saturday 3-2 victory over Q.P.R: getting on the end of a clever Junior Holiett ball, following a mazy run through the Rangers’ defence, the Frenchman scored his first goal of the season, rifling in from just inside the box. Just eight minutes beforehand, N’Zonzi had set up the returning Yakubu to open the scoring fifteen minutes into the game. If Blackburn are to stay up, the performances of the aforementioned trio will be largely responsible.
Returning to Everton a year after leaving for Tottenham Hotspur, where he has been criminally underused (just 17 minutes this season, with 14 of them against Everton), Steven Pienaar, according to club captain Phil Neville, is “back doing what he does best at a club he enjoys playing at.” His two performances have been described by the captain as man-of-the-match worthy, and the 2-0 victory over Chelsea was “driven by the classy Pienaar,” according to BBC’s Owen Phillips, with him scoring the first and linking up well with Leighton Baines throughout the game, until he left the pitch on 74-minutes to a standing ovation.
The Wigan midfielder is enjoying a purple patch at the moment: game time was fairly limited for the 24-year old Scot, but the New Year has brought a new lease of life in the first team and the 5’10 central midfielder has now scored two goals in three games and his strike fifteen minutes from time, getting on the end of a parried Victor Moses shot, won Wigan their first game in twelve. Their last was a 2-1 victory over West Brom in early December.
Along with Steven Pienaar, it seems the players swapping allegiances between North London and the blue half of Merseyside, are wholly benefiting: before joining Harry Redknapp’s freely attacking Spurs side, Saha had only scored once all season, but with his first start for Tottenham, the former Manchester United striker has already doubled his Everton tally, with two deft finishes against the first side he played for in England. His brace, wholly assisted by Emmanuel Adebayor, has seen an instant partnership flair up, which will further hinder Jermaine Defoe’s playing time.
Back in December, the Nigerian said he was losing sleep over his goal drought: at the time, he hadn’t scored for eight games, stretching back into October, and even then he’d only scored two all season. It was far from the performances of last year in which he scored 15 times and summer interest from Arsenal and Wigan saw West Brom slap an £8m price tag on him. West Brom fans will be hoping his weekend hat-trick will mark a turn in form for the 30-year old forward.
At the beginning of the season I read Tottenham fans’ views that stated Adebayor would offer nothing different to Peter Crouch and that he wouldn’t improve the team: one fan said their two marquee signings, Adebayor and Parker, didn’t match up to Aguero and Silva and unless Chelsea challenged it would be a two horse race between the Manchester sides with Spurs scrapping for the remains with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. However, Redknapp has taken Spurs from strength to strength and they are only five points off of second, eight from the top and ten points clear of fourth. The Togolese striker has either scored or assisted 45% of Tottenham’s goal this season and his unselfish play at the weekend saw him assist four, before rounding off the scoring with a goal of his own. He is now the Premier League’s seventh top scorer, Tottenham’s top, and only David Silva has more assists: 12 to his 11.