Hello? This better be important, it’s 3 am. What? Did he put the whole Liverpool back four in? As one player? I’ll be on the next flight.
I should point out that the above exchange is entirely fictional but nevertheless I am back in the saddle slightly earlier than planned. It turns out watching the Premier League abroad is an absolute doddle, and seeing as I had seen all of Saturday’s goals before midday, I could write the majority of this article before even boarding my plane home. With goals flying in (see what I did there? It’s good to be back), who makes the 11 this week? Let’s have a 4-3-3 for old times sake.
Simon Mignolet – If you save a pen, you make the team. It’s perhaps not the point that he gave away the pen and had a few other heart in mouth moments but the bottom line is he preserved Klopp’s bubbling anger levels for another week. It was also refreshing to see a goalkeeper stay in the middle of his goal whilst Vardy does his usual trick of twatting it down the middle.
Marcos Alonso – Lucky boy. Alonso was fortunate to avoid a second yellow card but then suffered the indignity of being hauled off before the hour. Conte says it was tactical, and I guess keeping 11 on the field is a tactic of sorts.
Simon Francis – He gave Rooney a clout, and who honestly can say they haven’t wanted to do that at some point in the last 15 years? We don’t condone that sort of behavior, but like the referee, we will turn a blind eye to it.
Phil Jones – Somebody came up with the Phil Jones boom/bust cycle on Twitter recently and the boom element has largely been in place this season. The good news is that a mistake and a funny face are just weeks away. He was excellent again on Saturday, I can’t wait for him to lead us to World Cup glory.
Davinson Sanchez – When Andy Carroll is flying through the air about to pocket an injury-time leveler, you probably feel fairly helpless as a defender. However, Sanchez displayed stereotypical South American cynicism well beyond his years to nudge a flying Andy out of the way. Not only that, he convinced the referee that it was all coincidental that one of the best headers of the ball in the Premier League era chose that moment to fall over and head the ball in the opposite direction.
Philippe Coutinho – Another automatic entrant as the result of his free-kick but his all-around performance against Leicester was worthy of a place in any team. I am looking forward to seeing how Liverpool accommodate all their attacking talent once they are all available.
Darren Fletcher – Not in there! Fletcher’s unfortunate chest pass only served the ball on a plate for Pedro to effectively kill the Stoke challenge on the half hour. I’m sure he’ll bounce back.
Leroy Sane – Sane has been in ludicrous form so it’s perhaps no surprise that Pep has finally seen sense and recalled the German to his starting lineup. I feel his little bit of skill for City’s opener has gone underrated but his cross for Aguero’s goal was perfect service. 5 stars on Trip Advisor.
Alvaro Morata – A hat-trick is always going to stand you in good stead for Team of the Weekend but I was seriously impressed by the second goal in particular. Incredible acceleration and a sublime finish. There will be more hat tricks to follow, I fancy. Considering this came on the back of the confirmation of Diego Costa’s Stamford Bridge exit, headline writers will have had their quills (they still use quills, right?) at the ready to stick the knife in and say what a huge mistake it was to let him go. Instead, attention is rightly now pointed at whether Morata is, in fact, an upgrade, Conte knew what he was doing all along and Morata probably won’t get booked every week for shenanigans.
Oumar Niasse – It’s always in the last place you look isn’t it? Everton have been looking for a goal threat all season and he finally arrived from the bench on Saturday. After being signed by Roberto Martinez, Niasse has barely had a look in at Goodison but showed promise at Hull last season. Maybe Roberto Martinez was right after all? Koeman will be very grateful for him right now.
Joselu – Eyebrows were raised when Rafa Benitez sought Joselu from Stoke to solve all of his striking problems. Those brows were momentarily lowered after a goal against West Ham, but after missing a hatful last week against his former club Joselu moved to silence his critics by… missing a few more on Sunday at Brighton. Just hit the target, son. Time for a cliche though – at least he’s getting the chances, right lads? He might not be for much longer.
Jose Mourinho – Controversy seems to follow this man around, or is it the other way round? A sending off, an inevitable fine but three vital points and a defence that only Stoke have breached. All in a weekends work.
That’s it for this week but big thanks to Chris for subbing for me last week. I’ll be back later in the week with your Fantasy Football tips. Toodles for now.