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Six players make teams of the week - and Lambert is top boss
BBC and ESPN teams of the week.
18th Dec 2012
Six players make teams of the week - and Lambert is top boss


Brown

Six players made it into two of the most recognised teams of the week, following the win at Liverpool.

Four players were selected in the ESPN team of the week.

The lions in question were Brad Guzan, Ciaran Clark, Barry Bannan and Christian Benteke.

Paul Lambert was named as manager of the week.

And three players were picked in the BBC team of the week, those in question were Christian Benteke, Matt Lowton and Nathan Baker.

ESPN were gushing in their praise for Lambert's Lions.

On Benteke, they said: "A series of barnstorming performances like the one against Liverpool on Saturday underline what a raw talent the Belgian is.

"Scoring two and setting one up on your first visit to Anfield is no mean feat and if his goals showcased his range - a long shot and mazy dribble - his assist for Andreas Weimann highlighted his silk, as he back-heeled perfectly into the Austrian's path."

On Bannan, they continued: "Up against opposite numbers Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Lucas, Bannan, alongside partner Ashley Westwood, bossed the midfield for Aston Villa.

"Prompting and probing from the centre of the park, on this evidence he may well become the first name on Lambert's teamsheet."

On Clark, they continued: "In a fledging Aston Villa side, captain Ciaran Clark was the rock upon which their seismic win at Anfield was based.

"At 23 years of age, Clark can count himself as something of a veteran in Paul Lambert's side and operating in a back three, he was pivotal in weathering both a first and second half assault on their net.

"Clark, alongside Chris Herd and Nathan Baker, was magnificent."

On Guzan, they added: "Brad Guzan's afternoon at Anfield didn't contain a string of stunning saves but with 29 shots on his goal to contend with the Aston Villa stopper had to be on constant alert.

"As Liverpool laid siege to Villa's goal for large periods of the game Guzan was diligent in all areas of his discipline, dealing with crosses well, rushing out of his area to cut off the supply line to Luis Suarez and repelling several dangerous efforts, none more so than from one of his own defenders."

On boss Lambert, they said: "Deliberation for manager of the week took all of three seconds.

"For weeks Paul Lambert has been telling us he has immeasurable faith in his young guns and after their victory at Liverpool made it five Premier League games unbeaten, perhaps a few more people will take notice.

"He also looks like he's invested a shrewd £7m in Benteke, who terrorised Liverpool's backline with a man of the match display. Villa are now 14th and looking upwards."

The three players who made it into the BBC Team of the Week were selected by pundit Garth Crooks.

Lowton, Baker and Benteke were the stars picked out.

On Benteke, he said: "What a performance from the 22-year-old!

"It's taken some courage for Paul Lambert to embrace a style of play that has no room for Darren Bent. I for one thought he was wrong and said so.

"But credit where credit is due, Benteke is giving Villa options not afforded to the team before."

On Baker, he continued: "The moment I saw Nathan Baker's tackle on Jonjo Shelvey in the opening minutes, I said that Aston Villa were up for this game and, boy, was I right.

"The Villa backline defended as though their lives depended on it. Baker and Ciaran Clark looked a fine partnership."

On Lowton, he added: "Aston Villa's win at Liverpool had a bit of everything - good football and its fair share of missed chances. Matthew Lowton was instrumental in a defensive display the like of which I haven't seen from a Villa side for years."

ESPN: Guzan [Villa], Vertonghen [Tottenham], Williams [Swansea], Clark [Villa], Toure [Man City], Bannan [Villa], Hoolahan [Norwich], Taarabt [QPR], Benteke [Villa], Van Persie [Man Utd]. Manager: Paul Lambert

BBC: Lloris [Tottenham], Lowton [Villa], Shawcross [Stoke], Baker [Villa], Gibbs [Arsenal], Cazorla [Arsenal], Toure [Man City], Taarabt [QPR], Pilkington [Norwich], Benteke [Villa], Van Persie [Man Utd].

Make sure you back the boys against Tottenham.

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