Trevor Sinclair and David James have endured their fair of misery of this season
Trevor Sinclair and David James have endured their fair of misery of this season but the England pair were matchwinners in a crucial relegation six-pointer at West Brom on Sunday...
"They have set the standards they have to keep," said manager Glenn Roeder. Clever Trevor Sinclair and David James have ensured their fair of misery of this season but the West Ham pair were matchwinners in a crucial relegation six-pointer at West Brom on Sunday.
Sinclair, who has gone from playing against Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals to missing out on the last England squad against Australia, scored both goals in The Hammers 2-1 victory at The Hawthorns.
Ironically Sinclair was only in the side because of the absence of Joe Cole but made the most of his chance.
"Trevor would be the first to admit he has been disappointing at times this season but he has come in and shown what he is capable of. He has now set the standards for himself that he has to maintain for the rest of the season," said West Ham manager Glenn Roeder.
Besides Sinclair, the other West Ham hero was James. The goalkeeper has dropped a number of a clangers this season but three world-class saves from Lee Hughes ensured his side have a chance of beating the drop.
The January transfer window was fairly quiet but two of the most interesting signings were England under-21 internationals Chris Riggott and Malcolm Christie who joined Middlesbrough from Derby.
They had their first north-east derby on Saturday and shared the goals in a 3-1 win at Sunderland. Riggott scored twice and Christie once with the latter getting praise from Steve McClaren who thinks Christie can force his way into the England set-up.
"He has proved in the past he can be a regular goalscorer in the Premiership. It is important for a new signing up front to score goals to help him settle in. I don't see why Malcolm can't find his scoring touch again and make the step up from the under-21s," said McClaren, who knows a thing or two about the international scene as a coach to Sven Goran Eriksson.
David Beckham ended a controversial week by setting up a last-minute equaliser for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United drew 1-1 at Bolton. Becks escaped Simon Charlton on the right and whipped in a cross for the Norwegian to score and keep United's title hopes alive.
They are still chasing Arsenal of course and Sol Campbell was among the scorers in a 5-1 win at Manchester City. Wayne Rooney had a major influence in Everton's 2-1 win against Southampton.
James Beattie had given The Saints the lead with his 18th goal of the season but Rooney, the youngest-ever England international, whipped in a cross from the left-hand touchline for Tomasz Radzinski's equaliser.
Kieron Dyer scored his first Premiership goals of the season in Newcastle's 3-0 win at Leeds which leaves them just three points behind Man Utd with a game in hand.
Newcastle have won eight out of nine games following Champions League appearances and Dyer showed little signs of fatigue with his Elland Road double.
"We have the finest crop of young players in this country," said delighted Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson a few days after his 70th birthday, who admitted: "I am not even thinking about packing it in."
Sven Goran Eriksson was at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to see David Dunn continue his comeback in fine style.
Dunn, who made his England debut under Sven last year, has been hampered by injury and being left out of the Rovers team in recent months.
But he grabbed the second goal in Blackburn's 2-1 win at Chelsea to leave manager Graeme Souness purring: "He has the potential to be a great player. He is still learning and I am sure experienced players will guide him in the right direction."
Liverpool's 2-1 defeat at Birmingham on Sunday was a shock but at least there was a goal for Michael Owen after he was started on the bench.
Compiled by Joe Bernstein Premiership
Results Feb 22/23
Birmingham City 2 Liverpool 1
Bolton 1 Manchester United 1
Charlton 3 Aston Villa 0
Chelsea 1 Blackburn 2
Everton 2 Southampton 1
Leeds 0 Newcastle United 3
Mancheser City 1 Arsenal 5
Sunderland 1 Middlesbrough 3
West Brom 1 West Ham 2
Spurs v Fulham (Monday)