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TRIBAL TEAM OF THE WEEK: Rooney turns back the clock, Defoe scores treble and Payet runs riot

There were some stunning individual performances in the Premier League this week.

Goals galore and drama everywhere surrounded England's top flight in what was a scintillating midweek round of matches which included a hat-trick from an old-stager, a sublime showing from a player slowly being written off, and another masterclass from a returning playmaker.

*4-3-3 formation


Tim Howard (Everton)
Howard returned to his very best with a commanding display in Everton's scoreless draw with Man City.
The Toffees had kept just one clean sheet in seven league outings prior to Tuesday's clash at the Etihad and it took some of Howard's best work to produce a much-needed shutout.
The American made a handful of key saves including a timely stop to deny Yaya Toure's awkward header while twice denying Sergio Aguero in one-on-one situations.
A stellar display from a man whose head Toffees fans were calling for recently.


Bacary Sagna (Manchester City)

The Frenchman was key in City's goalless stalemate with Everton.
Sagna did well to shackle the likes of Leon Osman and Gerard Deulofeu and was assured when going forward in a fairly polished display.
Was influential in helping keen a clean sheet in a week where only three teams managed to snuff out the opposition attack.
Sagna has been impressive this season after starting the campaign uncertain of his future with City.

Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa)

Remi Garde labelled Lescott as a player who 'spreads serenity and calm' on the Villa team.
The centre-half had a major influence in Villa's win over Crystal Palace which was their first league triumph since opening day.
Sure, Lescott's headed goal in the 58th minute wasn't a thing of beauty - thanks to Wayne Hennessey's howler - but he put himself in the position to win his side the game.
A strong defensive display from an experienced player who bounced back well after being involved in a heated exchange with fans during the FA Cup draw with Wycombe Wanderers on the weekend.
Showed supreme mental strength to lead the Midlands outfit to a crucial lot of three points.

Robert Huth (Leicester City)

The towering German has formed a strong central defensive partnership with Foxes skipper Wes Morgan this season.
His performance against Tottenham, particularly in keeping Harry Kane fairly quiet, was certainly one to marvel at, as was his match-winning goal.
Huth hammered home a wonderful header from Christian Fuch's corner which whizzed past Hugo Lloris to continue Leicester's remarkable run this season

Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland)

Van Aanholt may have been part of a defence that conceded twice to lowly Swansea but he put in a formidable attacking display on Wednesday night.
The Dutch left-back equalised for the Black Cats at 2-2 with a lovely right-footed strike from just inside the area, with help from a Federico Fernandez deflection, before setting up Jermain Defoe for his hat-trick.
The former Chelsea youngster advanced deep into the box before supplying a nice low ball for Defoe to stab home for his treble, rounding out a crucial win for Sam Allardyce's men.


Dimitri Payet (West Ham United)

Payet was making his first start since early November when he took apart Bournemouth in the second half of West Ham's 3-1 win.
The French playmaker equalised for the Hammers with a quite brilliant free-kick which fizzed over the Cherries wall and curled in off the underside off the crossbar before beating off two would-be tacklers to set up Enner Valencia for his side's second.
Was also extremely dangerous in the first 45 minutes with a couple of lovely passes opening up room for teammates and seeing a effort late in the half tipped over by Artur Boruc.
And to think he has been sidelined for the past few months.

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

The Brazilian showed why Liverpool paid so much for him with a blistering first-half display in the 3-3 draw with Arsenal.
Firmino fired home his side's opener when following up Emre Can's initial effort before scoring a stunning second from range to make it 2-1.
The second goal in particular, easily beating a keeper of the quality of Petr Cech, shows just how much ability the former Hoffenheim ace has.
Jurgen Klopp has asked him to now show it on a more consistent basis.

Enner Valencia (West Ham United)

Having not scored in the Premier League since February, you could forgive Valencia for getting carried away with his celebrations at Bournemouth.
The Ecuadorian put the Hammers ahead when finishing off a sublime piece of play from Payet before scoring an absolute stunner from a dead ball situation.
The dip and curve Valencia got on the ball when sending it inside Boruc's near post to make it 3-1 was on a par with Cristiano Ronaldo's best free-kicks.
A match-winning performance from Valencia.


Jermain Defoe (Sunderland)

The veteran could be the difference between Sunderland staying up or experiencing relegation such is his renaissance in recent weeks.
Defoe netted a hat-trick for Sunderland in their 4-2 win over the Swans, making it four trebles during his career in England's top flight, and adding to his match-winning double against Villa earlier in the month.
A simple tap-in for the opener preceded a nice run (although questionably offside) and finish from Adam Johnson's slide pass before he wrapped it up late with another customary close range effort.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

The England skipper proved many doubters wrong with his lively performance in the six-goal thriller with Newcastle, indicating he is not done at the top just yet.
Rooney converted from the penalty spot early to give United the lead before producing a lovely reverse pass to allow Jesse Lingard to make it 2-0.
Newcastle fought back to draw level before Rooney edged the Red Devils in front with a superb strike, making his attempt look effortless with a flawless technique.
The Magpies forced a draw in the end but the performance of captain Rooney will not be forgotten quickly.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

What a showing from the much-maligned French striker.
Giroud scored a cheeky glancing equaliser from an Aaron Ramsey corner in the 25th minute before putting the Gunners 3-2 ahead with a stunning turn and shot early in the second half.
Apart from his brace, Giroud entered a ding dong battle with Mamadou Sakho which saw him require stitches after winning the header that led to Ramsey's 14th-minute leveller.
If he continues this rich vein of form, Arsenal could well win the title.


Remi Garde (Aston Villa)

Finally, Garde tasted a victory with Aston Villa.
At his 11th time of trying, the Frenchman saw his side come out on top with a 1-0 win over Palace to secure a much-needed three points.
The victory was also the Midlands club's first since the opening day of the season.
Could it be the catalyst for a successful relegation fight?

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Andrew Slevison
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