Alas, the Premier League has finally returned to a stadium near you and there was much controversy and fall-out during the opening weekend. There were unnecessary tweets, bookings and stamps so the lack of discipline this week has made the Wally of the Week shortlist a hard one to shorten.
#3 – Benjamin Mendy
Manchester City’s new £50m signing made himself very unpopular with English, and especially Brighton, fans after his actions on Twitter at the weekend. City started their campaign at the Amex stadium against a Brighton side who were in the Premier League for the first time. Mendy wasn’t fit enough to play and watched the game, I presume, from an expensive property in Manchester. After Lewis Dunk had doubled City’s lead with an own goal, Mendy proceeded to tweet ‘bullet header’ with the usual emojis. He was forced to apologise afterwards as it was quite unprofessional and didn’t set the right example. Should he play against Brighton in the future, I imagine he’ll get a rather unfriendly welcome by the Seagulls’ fans.
#2 – Cesc Fabregas
You’d have thought, that with your team trailing by 2 goals and already down by one player, that you wouldn’t go in with a silly challenge while you’re booked already. Cesc Fabregas clearly lost his cool a bit as Chelsea went down 3-2 at home to Burnley in the first game of their Premier League season. After his captain, Gary Cahill, was sent off in the first stages of the game, Fabregas was penalised for a foul in midfield and would go unpunished regarding a card – until he sarcastically applauded referee Craig Pawson. A childish act for a player that considers himself a leader.
Late on in the game, with his team 3-1 down, Fabregas went in with a heavy challenge on Jack Cork and was booked for a second time. The Spaniard could not believe the decision and gesticulated wildly towards anyone who would listen. The fact is that he’s now suspended for the game against Spurs at Wembley; leaving Chelsea with just N’Golo Kante available to be selected in midfield. It’s hard to believe such an experienced player could act so thoughtlessly and Antonio Conte thought so too with reports of the Italian manager being less than impressed with his player after the game. His place in the team is now in jeopardy with Tiemoue Bakayoko returning from injury.
#1 – Jonjo Shelvey
After once being in the England squad and a Liverpool player, his return to the Premier League with Newcastle set the midfielder up to stake a claim to be in the national side once again. But in the first game against Spurs, Shelvey didn’t exactly cover himself in glory. The first half went by without much incident but it was at the start of the second half where Shelvey made his mark. Literally.
Dele Alli was being his usual self and agitating most of the opposing players with his petulant behaviour. But Alli didn’t cross the line. Alli plays on the edge but he pushed Jonjo Shelvey right over that edge and waved him goodbye. The Spurs youngster drew a cheap foul from Shelvey and the Newcastle captain’s patience ran out. He went over to get the ball but stamped on Ali’s calf – right under the nose of referee Andre Marriner. Marriner wasted no time and sent Shelvey off, much to the dismay of the midfielder but, like Fabregas, he had deserved his punishment. The Magpies went on to lose 2-0 and the red card ultimately settled the game in Spurs’ favour. So I hope the stamp was worth it, Jonjo.