Who joins Carrick and Giroud in the Premier League Team of the Week?

Michael Carrick 2012

Southampton, Reading, Sunderland, Everton, Manchester United, Arsenal and Aston Villa men star in our Team of the Week.

Well it's back to the daily slog of working life for many, and it was almost a slog of action witnessed on Saturday as the Premier League action kicked off with little more than a whimper. At 4 o'clock just one goal, courtesy of Everton, stood on the scoreboards and it was hard to see how I could compile a team with any attacking midfielders or strikers.

The drought of goals must however be largely attributed to a number of excellent goalkeeping performances, with the excellent Schwarzer, Howard and Bunn all failing to even receive a mention in my team due to the high quality showings of McCarthy and Mignolet.

In this weekend's headline attraction Paolo Di Canio grabbed his first win as Sunderland manager in style, bucking the perception that the Black Cats are a negative side. For that reason many of his Sunderland players appear in this weeks team, joined by fellow professionals from Arsenal, Everton, Man Utd, Reading, Southampton and Villa.

On a side note Manchester City's performance against Chelsea in the FA Cup and Wigan's victory over Millwall must be commended greatly, though this team is composed solely for Premier League action. Let me know your thoughts on my selections.

GK: Alex McCarthy - You know that you've had a good ninety minutes when the opposition manager labels your performance as 'staggering' and right Rodgers was to do so. Has been missed in his absence with injury and his return coincided with the best game of his life. Stopped chance after chance in the Reading goal as Liverpool failed to find a way around the young keeper and stayed calm as Reading's leaky defence faltered around him.

Unlucky to miss out: Simon Mignolet

RB: Nathaniel Clyne - A few weeks back I said that Clyne couldn't be far off England selection and another performance like Saturday's against West Ham will certainly have him edging closer to a deserved call up. Defensively he remained solid but he continues to impress particularly going forward. Clyne took on his opposition full back with alarming regularity and supported his winger excellently.

Unlucky to miss out: Matthew Lowton

CB: Sylvain Distin - Whilst Jagielka has received all the plaudits of the two Everton centre backs, Distin has been quietly producing fine performances, continuing to do so against Harry Redknapp's QPR side. First and foremost he carried out his defensive duties slickly and at times with ease, dominating aerially over QPR's attacking force and even provided a constant threat at the other end of the field from set pieces.

Unlucky to miss out: James Collins

CB: John O'Shea - What a huge three points for Sunderland against

Newcastle at the weekend and that platform for victory was built from the back, lead by O'Shea. Looked to be at his best as he made a number of important clearances and showed his class with three interceptions across the full ninety. Communicated well with his back line and will need to continue to do so if Sunderland are to build on this win.

Unlucky to miss out: Adrian Mariappa

LB: Leighton Baines - I really could write a similar piece on Baines every week for this team of the weekend, so often he appears. As we've come to expect the left back balanced his attacking and defensive duties well, marshalling Townsend and co. away from the Everton goal whilst creating chances going forward from crosses and neat link up play. There simply is no better left back playing in England.

Unlucky to miss out: Danny Rose

WG: Adam Johnson - This is more like what we've been waiting for from Johnson in a Sunderland shirt as he unleashed his undoubtable talent on rivals Newcastle. In his most impressive game to date for the Black Cats,

Johnson proved a constant menace to Newcastle's defence, running with pace and trickery at a back four that simply couldn't handle him. Scored the vital second goal to make life more comfortable for his side late on.

Unlucky to miss out: Philip Coutinho

DM: Michael Carrick - In a side that has often been labeled a one-man team this season due to the early goal scoring form of Robin Van Persie, Michael Carrick's performances have perhaps not received the full credit they deserve. Admittedly against Stoke his opposition offered up little resistance but Carrick always looked in control of the game completing 85% of his passes and grabbed the vital early goal to set United on their way.

Unlucky to miss out: Mikel Arteta

AM: Stephane Sessegnon - The Beninese attacker was simply sublime against Newcastle producing a performance that will have many Sunderland fans scratching their head as to why he can't play as such with greater frequency. Completed an outstanding 90% of his passes and created chances going forward as well. Like Johnson he grabbed a vital goal - the first - to settle Derby Day nerves.

Unlucky to miss out: Shinji Kagawa

WG: Charles N'Zogbia - If Sessegnon has been a model of inconsistency then N'Zogbia has challenged for this crown at many times in his career. However when he can perform as effectively as he did against Fulham he can be priceless to the team. Was always an attacking threat running directly at the Fulham defence successfully and took a very well taken finish to give Villa a lead that would later be relinquished.

Unlucky to miss out: Kevin Mirallas

ST: Olivier Giroud - Recent performances of the Frenchman have been extremely promising to see for Arsenal fans as he appears to have settled to the pace of the Premier League. Norwich managed to keep him out for 90 minutes despite his valiant efforts but eventually he grabbed his reward with the goal that completed Arsenal's comeback, perhaps proving so crucial in the race for Champions League qualification.

Unlucky to miss out: Dimitar Berbatov

ST: Victor Anichebe - Anichebe, like Giroud, appears to have embraced the lone striker role as he produced another line-leading masterclass to condemn QPR to yet another league defeat. Was comfortable in his physicality bundling defenders and covering midfielders off the ball and himself and grabbed another goal to his season tally. Also unlucky to hit the woodwork and it's clear to see why he's getting the nod ahead of Jelavic currently.

Unlucky to miss out: Andy Carroll

image: © marcel sigg

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