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Premier League: Ups and Downs

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Everton's Marouane Fellaini edges looks to evade Aston Villa's Matt Lowton. Pic: Clive Brunskill/Getty
Everton's Marouane Fellaini edges looks to evade Aston Villa's Matt Lowton. Pic: Clive Brunskill/Getty

The trio climbing ladders and the unfortunate three sliding down snakes in the English Premier League this week...

UP

Christian Benteke, Aston Villa The powerful Belgian striker has been one of the few bright sparks in Villa’s dismal season. His two goals at Everton made him the first Villa striker to reach double figures in a league season since Dion Dublin in 2000.

Marouane Fellaini, Everton Two goals in the final half-hour rescued a point for his team against Villa on Saturday. The big midfielder is another Belgian into double figures this season, and Everton have emerged as serious contenders for a Champions League place.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United The Scottish manager has seen his team put in two below-par displays in the space of a week, but claim maximum points, while their rivals City slipped up twice. This could prove to be a pivotal week in the title race.

DOWN

Demba Ba, Chelsea Poor Demba Ba has every reason to feel sorry for himself after his first return to Newcastle United with his new club. A boot to the face (which should have been a penalty), a broken nose and booed off the pitch by his former fans.

Michael Owen, Stoke City Owen has a reputation as football’s Mr Goody Two Shoes. You can count on two hands the number of times he has been booked in his career. But he was lucky to escape further action after swinging a punch at Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta.

Yaya Toure, Manchester City Toure, with brother Kolo and the likes of Gervinho and Cheick Tiote, were eliminated from the African Cup of Nations as Nigeria beat tournament favourites Ivory Coast. On the plus side, City get their star midfielder back sooner than expected.