Back by unpopular demand, I’m resuming Team of the Weekend duties for your reading pleasure. Who has made the cut this week?
Darren Randolph – The West Ham stopper learned an important lesson this week. As he suffered under the immense strength of Victor Anichebe on two separate occasions, Randolph must be able to almost feel himself being written as a substitute on next week’s team sheet. Whilst he will no doubt have complaints about the first clash, which resulted in Khazri’s corner going in directly, there was no excuse for the second calamity which resulted in Borini’s injury time equaliser. Oh yeah, that lesson that he learned? Goalkeepers are allowed to catch the ball.
Phil Jagielka – Yes, two weeks in a row! The veteran defender scored for the third game in a row, but that’s not what grabs him his place in my team. No no, but an oddly over the top cartwheel celebration is just what I’m looking for. That goes for anybody else reading this – I don’t care if it’s a goal even uglier than Jagielka’s, if you put the time into the celebration you are alright in my book.
Gary Cahill – Lovely Gary. Captain Gary and his team were run ragged yesterday and a lesser man would have lost his cool. But not Cahill. Even with his side 1-0 down and defending a set piece, Cahill still found the time to pick Jesse Lingard up off the deck on his 6-yard line whilst play went on around them. Sure, ten seconds later the ball had deflected in and the keeper was a bit unsighted, but you made sure Jesse could stand up and isn’t that what football is all about?
Robert Huth – Anybody who scores a header from a long throw-in against a Sam Allardyce team is going to earn their place in this team. It’s a goal that is dripping in irony, in fact, it’s practically saturated with it. No pints of wine for the Palace defenders after this one, though there’s every chance Big Sam will try and snap him up in the near future.
Vincent Kompany – A mountain of a man who you can’t help but respect for the way he plays the game. The problem is, he plays so very rarely these days. His goal was celebrated with all the gusto and relief of a man who had just realised it was a four day weekend, but he gets a place in my team this week because I don’t know when the next opportunity to pick him will arise.
Ander Herrera – So much of Sunday’s clash between Man Utd & Chelsea centred around this annoying man. Firstly, a beautiful interception to help set up the first goal – if it was basketball. Secondly, he man-marked Eden Hazard out of the game. Fair play. Then thirdly, for good measure, he popped up with the second goal. Quite the day for young Ander.
Ross Barkley – After the week this boy has had, I couldn’t begrudge him for a good performance on Saturday. Not only was he a threat going forward, but he did more than his fair share of defensive duties. It is, of course, a huge shame that his ‘goal’ will be an own goal against Ben Mee, but well-played lad.
Xherdan Shaqiri – What. A. Goal. Shaqiri is a bit of an enigma really. He does nothing for months and then out of nothing he scores an absolute wonder goal. This was a swerving, dipping strike from about 30 yards that was a real kicker for Hull. Shaqiri is capable of wonderful things, but I just wish it happened more often. For him I mean, I could hardly care less about Stoke’s mid-table life.
Alberto Moreno – You idiot! Just be thankful that West Brom didn’t force an equaliser. When there are four of you against one defender and no goalkeeper, don’t shoot wide from 40 yards. Ever. Klopp would have dropped Moreno and played a midfielder out of position at left back instead…actually, nevermind.
Fabio Borini – You’ve been on the pitch for three minutes. The fourth official has indicated there will be ten minutes added on. You fire in90th-minuteute equaliser. Do you: a) Grab the ball for a quick restart (you need three points after all), or b) Knee slide in front of the dugout. Make sure the manager knows he made a mistake leaving you out, forget about the team. This is all about you now. If you haven’t seen the incident, you’ll be able to guess which option Borini opted for.
Marcus Rashford – Having had a very bleak winter, Rashford has now scored in consecutive spring weeks. Having broken onto the scene in February last year, maybe Rashford only likes it when it starts to get a bit warmer and the clocks go forward? That might explain where he has been for the previous five months, as he is a different proposition now to earlier in the season.