Sunday, December 25, 2011
The Christmas fixtures brought about a change in team line ups. Clubs which could afford to rest key players relied on their bench to tide them over this hectic time. This meant first team starts for a trio of Premier League superstars who have somewhat faded from this season's football action.
Dimitar Berbatov, Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun made the most of rare starts to remind the Premiership world what they are all capable of. In a word, these forgotten men impressed during the Christmas period.
Dimitar Berbatov had a happy Boxing Day afternoon, scoring a well-deserved hattrick at Old Trafford. He has now scored four in two games and looking sharp although he has hardly played this season. Particularly his second goal deserved special mention, languidly dragging the ball past a Wigan defender and firing high past in-form Al-Habsi. The Red Devils have now scored ten goals in two matches, and they are looking back to their rampaging best. Those "hard-fought" 1-0 wins are banished into the United archives.
Yossi Benayoun is technically on loan from Chelsea to the Gunners. Against Wolves, he gained one assist as he threaded a through pass to Gervinho to finish. He was full of running throughout the game, but could not exert enough influence to get Arsenal the winning goal. The Telegraph went as far as to say Benayoun outshone the talismanic Robin Van Persie, but that was against Villa.
Fernando Torres' troubles with Chelsea continue against Fulham, though I am not convinced that he is entirely at fault. After all Chelsea is a graveyard for world class strikers, isn't it? Furthermore, with the larger than life shadow of Didier Drogba and the slow "Italian-styled" play at Stamford Bridge, it was a recipe for disaster for Nando. Nevertheless, he acquitted himself pretty well against Fulham, bagging an assist as he laid the ball on for Mata to score. He could have scored the winning goal had it not been for a great save from the excellent David Stockdale. In the right team, El Matador is still a force in the Premiership.
These three top players could walk straight into any other Premiership side if they chose to leave. For now, Berbatov, Torres and Benayoun will patiently sit on the bench and try to impress their respective club managers when asked to play.
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