Monday, 27 April 2009

Championship Team of the Year

Prolific striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, winger Michael Kightly and defender Richard Stearman make the side, while Swansea, Cardiff and Coventry contribute two players each.

Coventry goalkeeper Keiren Westwood earns his place for an impressive season with Chris Coleman’s side, who have relied on his performances to keep them out of the relegation picture.

Westwood’s City team-mate Daniel Fox takes the left-back spot, and while Sheffield United’s Kyle Naughton is named at right-back.

Stearman, Wolves’ England Under-21 international, was named alongside Cardiff’s Roger Johnson in the centre of defence. Stearman formed an excellent partnership with Michael Mancienne during the Chelsea’s defender’s loan stay at Molineux, and the pair could be reunited at in Stuart Pearce’s squad for this summer European Championships.

Kightly, Wolves’ most creative player, was an automatic selection in the midfield and will be one to watch in the Premier League next season.

Reading’s Stephen Hunt, who was already made an impact at the highest level, was also included while Jordi Gomez, of Swansea, and Cardiff’s Joe Ledley fly the Welsh flag.

Ledley is perhaps the most highly-rated player in the Championship, and will be the subject of interest this summer if Cardiff are not promoted.

In attack, Ebanks-Blake, the Championship’s leading scorer, is partnered by Jason Scotland, the powerful Swansea forward who has also broken the 20-goal barrier.

Championship Team of the Year: Keiren Westwood (Coventry), Daniel Fox (Coventry), Richard Stearman (Wolves), Roger Johnson (Cardiff), Kyle Naughton (Sheffield United), Michael Kightly (Wolves), Jordi Gomez (Swansea), Joe Ledley (Cardiff), Stephen Hunt (Reading), Jason Scotland (Swansea), Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves).

Monday, 20 April 2009

EPL Team of the Week: Round 33


Formation: 4-5-1


Mark Schwarzer (Fulham)
Was on guard to foil Middlesbrough's best efforts on a day that was stand-up for glovesman up and down the country. Saved a Tuncay header well, and managed to get his mitts to a Downing strike.


Danny Collins (Sunderland)
Put in a sturdy shift for Sunderland, was sound at the rearguard, and just when the side needed something to happen, he was there to play a key part in the club's claims for three points by assisting Cisse.

Nedum Onuoha (Manchester City)
Put in a sound shift at the back and popped up to capitalise on good service to grab City's second.

Younes Kaboul (Portsmouth)
Is filling in and doing a solid job wherever Paul Hart asks him to play. Was utilised at right back to accommodate Johnson playing further afield, and impressed in the process.

James Tomkins (West Ham United)
What is it with the academy at the Boleyn Ground? Could Tomkins be a further talented graduate to add to the already growing list of stars to originate from east London training grounds? He's got his name twice on's Team of the Week in recent times, so the omens bode well for the kid.


Mark Noble (West Ham United)
Is continuing to impress under diminutive manager Gianfranco Zola. Had a good box-to-boxing game from the central areas and was the Hammers' driving force. Will no doubt, along with a few other Irons members, be the focus of transfer speculation over the coming months.

Stephen Ireland (Manchester City)

Why this player is only nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award is beyond me, especially when he has had a greater season than at least half of those listed in the adult section.

Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur)
Held the middle of the park well for Tottenham, and unleashed a flurry of dangerous looking long-range shots. Passed well.

Glen Johnson (Portsmouth)
A tactical re-shift in Paul Hart's thinking has ensured that the roaming Glen Johnson has been pushed further up-field, where he relentlessly tormented Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Robinho (Manchester City)
The Brazilian ended his mini-goal draught with a fine volley that followed an Ireland cross. After Manchester City's UEFA Cup exit, their qualification into Europe next season hinges on their ability to finish seventh in the Premier League. If they are to do so, then Ireland and Robinho will need to keep their form up.


Djibril Cisse (Sunderland)
The pacey Frenchman's first half header has temporarily eased the relegation burden off of the shoulders of the Black Cats, as it was his solo goal that separated Sunderland and Hull City.

Monday, 13 April 2009

EPL Team of the Week - Round 32


Formation: 4-2-3-1


Brad Jones (Middlesbrough)
It was a "must-win" game for Gareth Southgate's men, and the young manager's joy was there for all to see as his side managed to give themselves a fighting chance. Jones, though, deserves some of the accolades for his ability to beat the balls away from his goal, conceding only the once.


Emiliano Insua (Liverpool)
A creative presence from the full-back spot. Contributed to the Reds' build-up play, and should cement his first-team role if he can carry on like that during the business end of the season.

Dan Agger (Liverpool)
An absolutely thunderous dribble and shot from the Danish international that would have Thor salivating all the way from Valhalla.

Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur)
How this man doesn't train all week but is still able to put in stellar performances is beyond me. Solid display.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
Another solid performance from the ex-Manchester United academy graduate. Stoke have a real chance of Premier League survival and, in truth, their fans deserve to be in's Team of the Week as much as any of the XI named here today. They're louder than my next door neighbour's house parties after pay-day. It wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't such a Cher addict.


Phil Neville (Everton)
A great protector of his back-four. An unsung hero. His positional sense was like something out of a Stan Lee comic book. Worthy of all the marvel he receives. A friend of mine once said that England only ever used to bring on Phil Neville during his call-ups if they were winning, so that they could mock the opponent... a bit like Ronnie 'the Rocket' O'Sullivan potting left-handed. Well, Neville deserves recognition from Fabio Capello if he carries on like this. I tell thee.

Javier Mascherano (Liverpool)
A real box-to-boxing display from the defensive-minded midfielder. Was a sniffing-hound for the ball and would never give up the chase. The best player in his position currently? Not far off. He supplemented with the attacks, was unfortunate not to get a penalty, intercepted and tackled like a maestro. His break-up play was outstanding, and showed outrageous hustle.


Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Drew the space for himself and tormented Alan Hibbert at right-back for Everton. Attacked his man all day long, he won corners, and contributed to countless attacks. If he could perform at this level against the big clubs (he disappeared against Jose Bosingwa who forced him into unwanted areas) then he would be unstoppable.

Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
Great delivery and ability to assist when picking out his team-mates such as Didier Drogba. Converted his penalty. Class lad.

Andrey Arshavin (Arsenal)
He is proving himself to be the signing of the winter window. He was by far the best player available at the time, and how he's changed the Gunners' fortunes around. Played a part in a trio of Arsenal's goals. An unrelenting assisting beast. He has claimed since that he is homesick. Imagine what he's going to be like when he's got all his Matryoshka dolls in London.


Fernando Torres (Liverpool)
Stunning touch on his chest to half-volley into the top corner of the net for the club's first. His second was a solid header set-up by international team-mate Xabi Alonso. Dedicated both of his goals to the 96 that lost their lives their lives during the Hillsborough Stadium disaster. Nice touch from the kid.