|By ALAN NICOLEA
As the mid-season break kicks in for most of Europe’s major leagues, there were still plenty of Australians in action in the United Kingdom, with Adam Federici setting the standard with his terrific performances in the English Premier League.
The Reading goalkeeper was exceptional in goal, securing two clean sheets in succession, against Swansea and West Ham United.
Federici's form at the moment is one of the main reasons why Reading has moved away from the bottom of the table.
In the Championship, Scott McDonald found himself on the scoresheet in Middlesbrough's 4-2 win against Blackpool on Sunday.
The fringe Australia international striker unleashed a wonderful 18-yard strike to solidify his place in the starting line-up for Middlesbrough after a string of strong performances.
Mile Jedinak also found the back of the net, for Crystal Palace, in their 2-1 loss to Cardiff on Thursday and produced a solid 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest three days later.
The form of Socceroos star Brett Holman, however, has taken a dive in Aston Villa's recent heavy defeats.
In their past three matches, Villa has conceded a staggering 14 goals and have scored none.
After impressing against Liverpool a fortnight ago, Holman has struggled to enforce himself in Villa’s midfield and it remains to be seen if he will start for Villa from now on given his sharp dip in form.
|AUSSIES ABROAD: THE FULL ROUND-UP
James Holland (Austria Vienna) – Austria Vienna did not play on the weekend
Brent McGrath (Brondby) – Brondby did not play on the weekend
Adam Federici (Reading) – Backed up his strong performance against Manchester City with another assured display, securing a clean sheet as Reading ended a six-game losing run with a 0-0 draw against Swansea on Thursday. Federici then secured his second clean sheet in Reading’s 1-0 win over West Ham United on Sunday. He produced a brilliant save to deny Winston Reid's header from finding the net in the first half.
Brad Jones (Liverpool FC) – Was on the bench as Liverpool slumped to a 3-1 loss to Stoke in the Premier League on Thursday. Jones was not in the squad as Liverpool secured a 3-0 victory against QPR on Monday.
Brett Holman (Aston Villa) – Played 90 minutes but once again struggled in the midfield as Aston Villa lost 4-0 at home to Tottenham on Thursday. His poor form continued on Sunday as Aston Villa lost 3-0 at home to Wigan Athletic. His inability to hold possession saw him substituted for Karim El Ahmadi in the second half.
Chris Herd (Aston Villa) - Worked hard for the full 90 minutes but was unable to stop a red-hot Tottenham outfit from wreacking havoc on Thursday. Played 90 minutes again against Wigan Athletic and toiled admirably in defence for little reward as Villa slumped to their third-straight defeat.
Mark Schwarzer (Fulham) – Denied a clean sheet at the death against Southampton as Rickie Lambert scored a penalty in the 85th minute to secure a 1-1 draw against Fulham on Thursday. Schwarzer missed Fulham's 2-1 loss to Swansea on Sunday through injury.
Paddy Kisnorbo (Leeds United) – Was not in the squad as Leeds United slumped to a 4-2 loss against Nottingham Forest on Thursday and then a 2-0 defeat to Hull City on Sunday.
Neil Kilkenny (Bristol City) – Bristol City's match against Watford was postponed on Thursday. He replaced Paul Anderson in the 76th minute as Bristol City secured a 4-2 win over Peterborough United on Sunday.
Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough) – Played the full 90 minutes as Middlesbrough secured a vital 1-0 victory against Blackburn Rovers on Thursday. His good form continued in the 4-2 victory against Blackpool on Sunday, scoring Middlesbrough's third goal courtesy of a wonderful 18-yard strike.
Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough) – Played 90 minutes in defence in Middlesbrough's victory over Blackpool on Saturday.
Sebastian Usai (Blackburn Rovers) – Was on the bench as Blackburn Rovers slumped to a 1-0 loss away to Middlesbrough on Thursday. Warmed the bench again on Sunday as Blackburn secured a vital 3-1 win over Barnsley away from home.
Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) – Played the full 90 minutes and opened the scoring for Crystal Palace in the fourth minute by volleying home Owen Garvan's corner. That goal was not enough, however, as Cardiff turned things around to secure a 2-1 win on Thursday that keeps them on top of the Championship. Played 90 minutes and was booked in the 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Shane Lowry (Millwall) – Played 90 minutes in the 1-0 loss to Cardiff City on Saturday.
Robbie Kruse (Fortuna Dusseldorf) – Fortuna Dusseldorf did not play on the weekend
Nikita Rukavytsya (Mainz 05) – Mainz 05 did not play on the weekend
Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund) – Borussia Dortmund did not play on the weekend
Mustafi Amini (Borussia Dortmund) – Borussia Dortmund did not play on the weekend
|GOOD WEEK/BAD WEEK|
Apostolis Giannou (PAOK Thessaloniki) – Played the full 90 minutes and opened the scoring as PAOK Thessaloniki beat Aiginiakos 2-1 in the Greek Cup on Saturday.
Adam Sarota (Utrecht FC) – Utrecht did not play on the weekend
Tommy Oar (Utrecht FC) - Utrecht did not play on the weekend
Michael Zullo (Utrecht FC) - Utrecht did not play on the weekend
Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo) – Heracles Almelo did not play on the weekend
James Troisi (Atalanta) – Atalanta did not play on the weekend
Carl Valeri (Sassuolo) – Was not in the squad as Sassuolo lost 3-2 away to Livorno on Friday. Also did not play in Sassuolo's 5-0 win over Cesena on Monday.
Caleb Patterson-Sewell (Vitoria Setubal) – Produced a solid 90 minute performance in goal as Vitoria Setubal secured a 3-1 win against Nacional in the Taca da Liga on Monday.
Matt Spiranovic (Al Arabi) – Al Arabi did not play on the weekend
Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa) – Al Gharafa did not play on the weekend
Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) – Umm Salal did not play on the weekend
Luke Wilkshere (Dinamo Moscow) – Dinamo Moscow did not play on the weekend
Ryan McGowan (Hearts) – Played 90 minutes in Hearts 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock in the Premier League on Thursday. Did not play on Saturday as the Ross County – Hearts match was postponed.
Dylan McGowan (Hearts) – Was on the bench for Hearts in their 1-0 loss to Kilmarnock. Saw no action on Saturday as the Ross County – Hearts match was postponed.
Alex Brosque (Al Ain) – Al Ain did not play on the weekend
Nick Carle (Bani Yas) – Played 90 minutes and was productive in midfield as Bani Yas secured a 2-1 win against Al Ittihad Kalba in the Emirates Cup.
Lucas Neill (Al Wasl) – Al Wasl did not play on the weekend.
Richard Porta (Dubai) – Did not play in Dubai's heavy 4-0 defeat to Al Nasr in the Emirates Cup on Friday.