We’re back! It’s back! Everything is back. Except defending. That is never going to be back, even Jose is letting his teams run riot to make use of this new “nobody can defend” world. But who has stood out enough to make the Tales team of the weekend? As ever we include the good, the bad and the stupid.
We’re bringing back 4-4-2 and in a new feature for this season, I’m giving these guys a gaffer.
Joe Hart – Having had the “City reject” chant all day, the last thing you want is to ship 4 goals in front of the baying crowd. Welcome back Joe, you can stick your Head & Shoulders up your…
Stephen Ward – What a goal! I did not expect pretty much anything that happened at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but Stephen Ward’s finish was right out of the blue. A lovely half volley that left Courtois with no chance. Now, can he ever do it again?
Ahmed Hegazi – There were question marks over whether Tony Pulis could keep doing what he does, especially as his defenders have been dropping like flies in pre-season. Yet somehow, with chief threat Gareth McAuley sidelined, Pulis has found Egypt’s tallest, strongest man to come and play centre half for him. Of course he scored, and you know it was from a Chris Brunt set piece. Some things never change.
Maya Yoshida – It was well documented over the course of Saturday afternoon that Southampton can’t score a goal at home, and they haven’t since Matt Le Tissier’s last game at The Dell, or something like that. Anyway Yoshia contrived to head over from about 4 yards on Saturday afternoon, but in a desperate attempt to right those wrongs he curled a free kick inches wide later on. Who knew he could hit a free kick like that?!
Gary Cahill – Captain. Leader. Idiot. A silly challenge and a definite red card. Not the way he’d want his time as captain to begin: a penalty shootout loss and a red card. Things can only get better Gary, just wait until you’re on England duty.
Mohamed Salah – I was getting very worried about Salah as I watched Saturday’s lunch time kick off with my FPL hat on. He looked off the pace and badly blazed over the only chance he had in the first half. Then in the space of 5 glorious second half minutes, he won a penalty and scored a tap in. Hero status has been awarded. That Liverpool front 3 will score goals, with or without Coutinho.
Wayne Rooney – I’m not sure if you can say he really played as a midfielder or as a forward on Saturday but he certainly scored a familiar goal, a fantastic far post header from Goodison’s comeback kid. Well, not so much a kid as a larger, balding man now but it was the fairytale reunion and one everybody saw coming. Whether he’ll settle into a midfield role or not going forwards remains to be seen, and I have to say I’m curious to see if he’ll be in the next England squad. But for now, Wayne will have to make do with a spot in our team of the weekend for his all round performance on Saturday.
David Silva – Sampson lost his power when he lost his hair, so the old story goes. David Silva is somehow better without hair. He was already pretty good to begin with, but on Saturday he was outstanding. The Pep 3-5-2 sees Silva and De Bruyne pretty much operating in free roles, although they will face tougher tests than Brighton, without being disrespectful to Chris Hughton’s lads. Silva opened his assist account on Saturday and you’d think there will be many more to follow on this showing.
Jonjo Shelvey – Taking a leaf out of Gary Cahill’s book, Shelvey started Sunday’s match as Newcastle captain and ended it in disgrace. A needless red card for standing on Dele Alli. And yes, Alli had been working himself all match but you’ve got to rise above these things. Shelvey seems incapable of that and will have three games in the stands now to think about what he’s done.
Michy Batshuayi – When you’ve had a bad game, and your team is unexpectedly losing at home to Burnley, it’s perhaps no surprise you are subbed off. What you don’t want is your replacement to nearly turn the game upside down with a goal and an assist and pretty much nail you to the bench for the remainder of your days. Don’t worry though Michy, it’s not like they’ll do a big analysis of how bad you were on Match of the Day. Oh, wait…
Steve Mounié – Huddersfield shelled out £11m for the Beninese striker, and I have to say I knew nothing about him. Except I wouldn’t expect somebody from Benin to be called Steve, but maybe I’m just out of touch. Anyway, £11m looks a snip in today’s market and his two goals away at a lacklustre Crystal Palace mean he has gone some way to repaying that price tag already. He’ll fancy his chances of adding to that tally against Newcastle next weekend.
Craig Shakespeare – Arsenal vs Leicester was like a promotional video for the Premier League, end to end action and seven goals. What might be forgotten is that Shakespeare did the hard bit – at 3-2 up, he subbed a forward for a defensive midfielder. Smart. What isn’t smart is 10 minutes later taking off a midfielder for a forward. Why Craig? Why do it? They went on to lose 4-3. Maybe he had a mid-summer night’s dream that Iheanacho scored? I’ll see my self out.