Goal.com UK Premier League Team of the Week: Return to form for Wayne Rooney as Manchester United continue to set the pace

A New Year in the Premier League as 2011 started with a bang in the world's greatest league. Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham all secured wins as they try to maintain their title ambitions.

Chelsea, however, were denied by a late equaliser in their enthralling match against Aston Villa and Everton's poor season continued with a disappointing loss to Stoke.

At the other end of the table, West Ham secured a priceless win against Wolves to move them off the foot of the league while Wigan teeter above the relegation zone after a drab home defeat to Newcastle.

But who staked a claim for a place in Goal.com UK's Team of the Week? Read on to find out...

Formation: 4-4-2


Goalkeeper - Joe Hart (Manchester City)

Player Rating:
7 (vs Blackpool)
TOTW Apps
: 2

A series of smart saves at Eastlands from Hart to deny Taylor-Fletcher, Eardley and Ormerod helped City to keep a clean sheet and guarantee a tight victory over Blackpool to maintain momementum in the title race.


Right-back - Danny Simpson (Newcastle)

Player Rating: 7 (vs Wigan)
TOTW Apps: 1

Not without his critics this season, Simpson looked comfortable in defence, despite being kept busy by his former Manchester United colleague Tom Cleverley. The full-back also provided a good attacking outlet causing Gohouri a number of major headaches.


Centre-back - Michael Dawson (Tottenham)

Player Rating: 8 (vs Fulham)
TOTW Apps: 2

Another imperious defensive display from the England centre-back as he helped Spurs to yet another three points to continue their fine festive form and further enhance their title credentials.


Centre-back - William Gallas (Tottenham)

Player Rating: 7 (vs Fulham)
TOTW Apps: 1

The Frenchman that many love to hate returned to the Spurs side after injury and formed a solid back-line with Dawson to help Harry Redknapp's side to a vital 1-0 win. His last-ditch challenge on Johnson was highly impressive.


Left-back - Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa)

Player Rating: 6.5 (vs Chelsea)
TOTW Apps: 2

The Villa youngster slotted in at left-back at Stamford Bridge and was composed throughout, nipping in to frustrate Anelka on more than one occasion. He also scored the last-gasp equaliser to cut short Blues celebrations.


Right midfield - Freddie Sears (West Ham)

Player Rating: 8.5 (vs Wolves)
TOTW Apps: 1

Hadn't scored a senior goal since his debut for the Hammers, but Sears terrorised Wolves at Upton Park and got a deserved goal that helped Avram Grant's side to a thoroughly precious win.


Centre midfield - Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal)

Player Rating: 8 (vs Birmingham)
TOTW Apps: 4

Returned from suspension to provide much of the Gunners' attacking impetus and act as the heartbeat of the Arsenal midfield as they swept aside Birmingham.


Centre midfield - Samir Nasri (Arsenal)

Player Rating: 8 (vs Birmingham)
TOTW Apps: 3

Arsenal's player of the season so far put in another outstanding performance and combined brilliantly with Fabregas to dispense of Birmingham. Scored again and was a constant thorn in the City defence's side.


Left midfield - Gareth Bale (Tottenham)

Player Rating: 7.5 (vs Fulham)
TOTW Apps: 6

Practically an ever-present in the TOTW this season, the Welshman scored his 11th of the season in the win over Fulham and could have easily had more, had it not been for the intervention of Mark Schwarzer.


Striker - Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Player Rating: 8 (vs West Brom)
TOTW Apps: 1

The England man who has endured a particularly turbulent season looked to be back to his best in scoring one goal and setting up another in United's narrow victory over West Brom. It was his first goal from open play this season and he looked dangerous.


Striker - Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City)

Player Rating: 8.5 (vs Everton)
TOTW Apps: 1

The big Trinidadian hasn't always lived up to his price-tag since arriving from Sunderland but was dominant throughout in an impressive win over Everton. Scored Stoke's opener and gave Everton's backline an utterly torrid time.

Our  provides the best breaking news online and our  football fan community is unmatched worldwide. Never miss a thing again!