This weekend in the Premier League had a massive game, some wonderful goals and a fair bit of drama off the pitch as we head into the busy festive period. This of course means that there were some big heroes on the pitch, but there is of course a hero off it. Probably no prizes for guessing who, but here are our five from this weekend…
Having been left out in the cold by Andre Villas-Boas, Tim Sherwood recalled him to the side in the midweek Capital One Cup defeat to West Ham United where the Togo striker got himself on the scoresheet. He earned another chance against Southampton this weekend where his two goals proved to be crucial as Spurs returned to winning ways at St Mary's.
Barkley has been in great form this season for Everton and is showing himself to be a real talent. With his side locked at 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea, and no Leighton Baines on the field, Barkley took it upon himself to take a free-kick, and he delivered. Does anybody believe that he doesn't take free kicks? Well, he is that talented he is probably telling the truth, there.
He seems to have a space reserved for himself in this regular feature as Suarez was the difference again. Duly assisted by Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling in their 3-1 win against Cardiff City, he was the star of the show once again as he fired Liverpool to the top of the table for Christmas, with two very well taken goals - and an assist for young Sterling.
Stoke seem to be in a good place in terms of their form this season but they needed the intervention of Crouch to get the winner against his former club to move the Potters in the top half of the table. Crouch was in the right place at the right time to restore Stoke's lead, and keeps their 'transitional' season going along nicely.
Different from any of the others, Mackay is a hero this weekend for his defiance. Other people will have walked after being subject to the kind of treatment that Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan has dished out towards the manager. But he said he won't walk away - and Cardiff fans also deserve a lot of credit for backing their manager all the way. All together now: 'Don't sack Mackay...'
image: © Alfonso Jimenez