It’s been a weekend of tedious Grand National puns, but I won’t stoop to that level. But as I step into the team of the weekend saddle, who are our runners and riders?
Claudio Bravo – Claudio was given the sympathy vote this weekend by his manager, recalled to the team on the premise that he surely wouldn’t concede to Hull. But as Ranocchia’s tentative prod rolled past the Chilean, I felt a touch of sympathy for the man blessed with crisp packets for hands. Pep’s response? Claim that Bravo’s footwork helps their build up play. He said it with a straight face too.
Phil Jagielka – Jags has found himself back in the Everton team through injuries but also a legal guardian for Matthew Pennington. He netted his second goal of the week on Sunday and got an assist to go with it. He’ll be back in the England team before you can say “Phil Jones is injured again.”
Marcos Alonso – Look, if he’s a defender in FPL he can be a defender for me. His free kick was outstanding, and that alone earns him a place.
Kieran Trippier – The most patient man in football? He’s finally got a chance and he’s grabbing it with both hands and putting it on a plate for Vincent Janssen. Sadly for Kieran, the profligacy of others means he doesn’t have more to shout about.
Adam Smith – It was so lovely to see Smith do his bit for the community this week, helping those suffering from anger management. Diego Costa’s shot was going so far wide until Smith helpfully diverted it past his own goalkeeper. Costa’s face lit up into a frown and saved us from having to witness a fully grown man having a tantrum at tea time. What a good egg.
Sebastian Larsson – Have you ever seen this man agree with a decision? I was amazed to find his red card on Sunday was his first in club football. Obviously he disagreed with Craig Pawson’s judgment, but that’s a 400 game bit of karma for you. Never a red card, but very satisfying.
Marouane Fellaini – I just feel like Fellaini will need a pick me up if he sees Jamie Redknapp’s reaction to finding out he was captain on Sunday. I mean, yes, it’s bordering on insane, but did Jamie consider his feelings before asking if it was some sort of joke? Still, he’s one from one. One of Man Utd’s most successful captains?
Fabian Delph – Hi I’m Fabian Delph. You may remember me from such matches as the 2015 FA Cup semi-final vs Liverpool, or Switzerland vs England in 2014. I was involved in a humorous transfer story where I pledged my future to Aston Villa then left anyway. I have been injured a lot. On Saturday, I played and scored a wonderful goal. See you in a year!
Dele Alli – I feel like I have to include him in this article to be taken seriously (stop laughing). This kid just keeps getting better and better, scores all types of goals and has a brilliant gimmick of waving. Saturday’s curling effort was the latest in his ever impressive show reel. It bodes well for England to see him in this sort of form, I can’t wait to see what out of the blue controversy puts his World Cup place in doubt next summer.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – How can I not include a guy who compares himself to Benjamin Button? Aside from the fact that he’s really bloody good, he comes up with great one-liners like that. He’ll be replacing me writing for Tales next week. Now that’d be a story, especially if I’m up front for Man Utd in some sort of weird job swap scenario. Would you watch that film?
Vincent Janssen – Oh, Vincent. HOW DID YOU MISS MAN? Unfortunately, Vincent has the notable handicap of having played in the Eredivisie, where it’s well documented that the goals are twice the size and the goalkeepers are all clones of Claudio Bravo. This leads to a bout of overconfidence, a ten game goal drought only paused on the odd occasion when you get to slot home a penalty out of pity. He’s also pretty much following the path of Roberto Soldado, an equally expensive disaster. On this occasion, Janssen missed from two yards as the ball bobbled up, hit him on the thigh and struck the bar. Don’t worry, at least Kane is out injured for a while. What’s that? He’s back? Oh, Vincent.