Five players who proved a point this weekend

Adel Taarabt

QPR, Sunderland, Chelsea and Newcastle United players feature on our list.

Adel Taarabt

At long last. His 69th shot of the season finally resulted in a goal for the Moroccan. This season has been a frustrating one for the talented playmaker who has shown his talent fleetingly, but failed to produce in terms of goals.The 22-year-old scored 19 goals for QPR last season in the Championship and had even been a target for PSG, and has lack of goals has had observers questioning whether he can make a true impact at the top level. The opening goal against Arsenal showed a level of skill and clinical finishing that he will want to replicate on a regular basis. Now QPR will hope it inspires him to go on a scoring run and help their battle against relegation. It is certainly a long-awaited weight off his shoulders.

Fernando Torres

Speaking of a weight being lifted from shoulders, Fernando Torres will be thrilled with scoring his first Premier League goal since September. Critics had written off his two FA Cup strikes against Leicester, because of the Foxes' Championship status. His goal against Aston Villa put the icing on the cake of Chelsea's performance, helping them win 4-2. This is an important stage of the season for Chelsea, with Champions League glory on offer, and still an outside chance of reaching fourth. To do that the club will need Torres scoring goals, so fans will hope this will spur the much-maligned player on.

Nicklas Bendtner

Up until the Tyne-Wear derby last month, Nicklas Bendtner's loan spell at Sunderland had been pretty disastrous for a player who once talked himself up as a striker who could play for top clubs like Bayern Munich and Roma. He has been on an improving run, and restored his reputation further with a goal against championship-chasing Manchester City. When he looks for a transfer away from Arsenal in the summer, he will be able to point to his goals against City and Newcastle as proof of his scoring ability. Will Arsenal want him back?

James Perch

Versatile defender James Perch had been written off almost since day one at Newcastle, described as a Championship defender who was unable to make the step up. He had played recently against Norwich and West Brom after manager Alan Pardew's hand was forced by injuries, but his task at centre-back at the weekend was the biggest of his career. Replacing Fabricio Coloccini was quite an ask, against an attack of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll too, he helped his team keep a clean sheet, and deserves the plaudits which will come his way. Now to continue his run alongside Mike Williamson and convince Pardew that he can play a part next season. He was though, accused of play-acting by Liverpool supporters for his role in Pepe Reina's sending off, which would be a shame for him if the incident distracts from his defensive performance.

Samba Diakite

Samba Diakite will now feel that he has the respect of supporters at Loftus Road. The 23-year-old Malian had a disastrous debut for QPR in February, sent off after just half an hour in the 1-0 defeat to local rivals Fulham. On Saturday he really paid them back, netting a clinical winner against third-placed Arsenal. He is only on loan from French club Nancy, and now will feel that he has proved a point to his fans. Like Taarabt, they will hope his goal can boost his confidence further and assist their survival battle.

image: © wonker

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch