It’s the penultimate Team of the Weekend, and whilst I nervously await to see if my contract has been renewed, here’s eleven players who have caught the eye this weekend for good, bad and ridiculous reasons.
Brad Guzan – Having been nutmegged three times on Monday night, the American needed a strong performance at home to Southampton. Instead, he gave away a penalty and had to listen to his own fans asking for the card to be red. Still, at least he wasn’t nutmegged.
Kyle Naughton – In a game Swansea had to win, Naughton picked a great time to score his first goal in six years. It wasn’t just any goal either, a fine right footed drive that arrowed up into the top corner of the net. Bravo.
Andrea Ranocchia – Hull needed to keep it tight early on in there must-win match at Crystal Palace, so what they could have done without was their classy Italian centre half channelling his inner Titus Bramble and having a nice big fresh air kick inside the first three minutes at Selhurst Park. Ranocchia was subbed at half time and will presumably not be back for a crack at the Championship next season.
Jonny Evans – Did you see it?! Evans pulled out the Zidane 360 spin on Friday night. No, not on the dancefloor, but on the hallowed Hawthorns turf. Ok, fine, he used his hand, but that’s a minor point. He still did it and it was beautiful.
Riyad Mahrez – We saw a very brief glimpse of last season’s Mahrez as he turned Clichy inside out and won a penalty. However, what we didn’t bargain for was Mahrez being the first player in history to actually be penalised for the old “double kick” penalty, slipping as he hit it and connecting with the ball using both feet. It always seems to be the case in these situations that the entire Man City team swallowed a rule book and were quick to point it out, but the often useless Bobby Madley ruled it out. Poor Riyad.
Andre Ayew – MISS OF THE SEASON. It was bad enough hitting the post once, but don’t do it again when trying to atone for the error. He wouldn’t have missed if it had been against Spurs…
Philippe Coutinho – What can you say? After a difficult few weeks for the Brazilian and his team mates, the little magician was in wonderful form on Sunday in both scoring and assisting goals. He even got Dan Sturridge back in Klopp’s good books. A wonderful performance.
Wayne Rooney – How could we leave out the last ever goal scorer at White Hart Lane?! It’ll be talked about for years, the time Rooney toe poked a cross off Jan Vertonghen into the net. For the last time. Until they move slightly to the left after getting to play in the national stadium for a year. Still, like all older stadiums, White Hart Lane has a lot of memories attached to it and it must be a strange feeling to say goodbye, but it’ll soon be forgotten about once they’re in their new mega home. (Unless their home form is poor, like West Ham, in which case you will be constantly reminded of how great your old stadium was.)
Michy Batshuayi – Having spent most of his season winding people up on Twitter, it was somewhat of a surprise to see the title-winning goal scored by this periphery figure. He took it well though and it’s a great lesson for anybody out of the starting eleven – stick around long enough and you can be the hero one day.
Patrick Bamford – Bamford is football’s least wanted man. When you’re a striker who Middlesbrough have willingly paid £5m for and you can’t get in their goal shy team, you know you’re in trouble. Still, he looked delighted to score his first Premier League goal in one of the most meaningless fixtures in history. Whether he gets the chance to add a second remains to be seen.
Peter Crouch – When you’re 6 foot 8 (roughly) it seems a little bit needles to do a Diego Maradona impression. In Stoke. But having scored one of the great Premier League goals there against Man City back in 2012, it seems only right that Crouch has now taken to replicating some of the goals scored by the games greatest every players. Unfortunately, he misunderstood the bet to replicate Maradona’s goal against England in ’86 and forearm smashed home a consolation against Arsenal.