This will be known as the week of the injured striker, as the Premier League’s elite seemed to take it on themselves to get out of International duty in a variety of ways. As ever, I’m here to pick out the good, the bad and the hilarious from this weekend’s action.
Fraser Forster – As you all know by now I reserve a space in my team for any goalkeeper who saves a penalty, even if it is against Saido Berahino. Rather than focus on Mr. No Goals, credit has to go to the giant stopper who I feel lost his mojo towards the end of last season. Maybe he is starting to regain it now.
Maya Yoshida – It’s a pity this goal was in vain as the technique shown from a centre-half was ridiculous. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically a waist-high half volley that goes in off the crossbar, a both feet off the floor job. A goal worthy of winning any game, except it, didn’t. Because Southampton lost.
Arthur Masuaku – Slaven Bilic, amidst a chorus of boos, introduced Diafra Sakho and Masuaku to try and galvanize a poor West Ham performance. As Chicharito sat on the bench shaking his head, my new favorite Arthur (replacing the TV aardvark from the 90s) strode forward in stoppage time and put the ball on a plate for fellow sub Sakho to smash home. The type of ball a striker thrives on, I wanted to throw a curve ball in and credit the assister rather than the scorer as he literally couldn’t miss. Also, we need more footballers called Arthur, please.
James Tarkowski – When Burnley sold Michael Keane and neglected to replace him, I thought they were signing their own death warrant. Instead, Tarkowski and Ben Mee have formed a very promising partnership in the middle of a superbly organized back four. Even the rookie goalkeeper looks canny. Old gravel tones Sean Dyche can be very pleased with what he has assembled.
Dele Alli – Can you just stop being a tit for one a couple of weeks, please? On the back of middle finger-gate, where he was sentenced to a one-game ban from England duty, and with his side 3-0 up at Huddersfield, all Dele had to do was keep his head down. Instead, he took a comedy dive and was booked.
Marouane Fellaini – When you’re getting booed by your own fans, you can react in two ways. The first is to throw the towel in and move on. The second is to make best friends with the manager and slowly work your way back into favor. When you get the chance, get your massive head on as many things as you can and make a real difference. Welcome back big man, you’re the new Paul Pogba.
Richarlison – For the second week running, Richarlison netted a last-gasp goal to snatch Watford a result. Marco Silva continues to work wonders with an unfancied Watford side, and Richarlison has made an early play to be bargain transfer of the summer. What’s more amazing is that the Brazilian managed to get his head on the ball amongst the West Brom giants – I dread to think how angry Tony Pulis was, but no doubt we’ll see a return of the four centre-halves lineup soon as a response to the atrocity of conceding a set piece goal on his watch.
Kevin De Bruyne – What a superb hit on his supposed weaker foot to win the big game of the weekend. Man City really laid a marker down here showing how far they’ve come and De Bruyne finally has a statistical reward for being exceptional all season.
Harry Kane – The unique thing about Harry Kane is that he is the only person in Britain who likes the early kick-off. If Kane could score at Wembley in the league he would break Alan Shearer’s Premier League goals record this season, but that particular battle will re-commence after the International break. After a perfect hat-trick in midweek, Kane had to settle for just the two on Saturday after threatening to run wild in the first half. Wembley waits on Thursday.
Peter Crouch – There’s an account on Twitter called Crap90sFootball. Fast forward 20 years where the Premier League is dominated by robotic super-men (limited to three per team) with a talking dog refereeing affairs and an account called Crap10sFootball will be born. What you’ll see on that account is Crouchy’s winning goal from Saturday, a true mess that that included a defender falling over, a penalty appeal, a hopeful offside and a 6 foot 7 hero tapping home in the pouring rain. Saido Berahino will also feature consistently for his contributions to football in the last two years.
Joselu – AGAIN?! Well, he had to be included. After the grief he’s been getting for missing chances, Joselu took matters into his own hands this week and waited for a tackle to ricochet off him into the net. Having been put through one on one, the Spanish striker took an age on deciding what to do next until eventually, Joel Matip took the bait, sliding in and deflecting it off Joselu and in. The striker had the nerve to celebrate it too, which is a sign of a striker who doesn’t know he’s terrible.
Arsene Wenger – Here on Tales, Mr. Wenger has taken a lot of hits for some of the events that have unfolded at The Emirates in recent memory. Whilst a win over Brighton is nothing to set the pulse racing, Sunday did mark 21 years to the day that Wenger was appointed at The Gunners, and for that, I think we’ll cut one of football’s most loyal men some slack for a change. Happy sort of birthday, Arsene.
I’ll be back next week with some sort of International team of the weekend, as the Premier League takes a break for a week. See you then.