It was so good to have Premier League football back after what felt like the longest break of all time. The best thing is that we’re now into the time of the season where the games come thick and fast, with no break until March and the busy festive period about to get underway. All of that means there’ll be an awful lot of teams of the weekend, so maybe we should see who has made the most recent installment.
Nick Pope – In a week with a real lack of goalkeeping incident, I’ve decided to give a goalkeeper some praise. Nick Pope was relatively unheard of outside of Burnley but was thrown into the limelight after Tom Heaton was injured, but the transition has been seamless and he has adapted like a seasoned pro. Long live the Pope.
Scott Dann – How long do you want, Scott? Individual errors are something Roy can do without, especially when they come from the usually reliable centre-back. Dann held on to the ball far too long, had his pocket picked and Everton equalised. All right on the stroke of half-time. Palace needed those points, cut out these errors and they might get them.
Vincent Kompany – If you’ve been out for 3 months, the last thing you really want is to be thrown straight back in and be up against Jamie Vardy. His return nearly lasted a little more than a few minutes as he gave “rustiness” a whole new meaning by narrowly avoiding a red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity. Fortunately for big Vin, it was deemed that John Stones was covering…who ironically pulled a hamstring 20 minutes later. City are destined to never have a full complement of centre-halves.
Marvin Zeegelaar – The latest “who?” at Vicarage Road was reserved for their debutant left-back, who joined from Sporting Lisbon in the summer. However what you probably don’t want 14 seconds into your debut is to be smashed in the face by Andy Carroll and get your nose busted open. To be fair to the lad, he played on gamely with two cotton buds up his nose and didn’t complain. Well done son – now go and get your nose put back into place.
Mesut Ozil – I’ve often been critical of Ozil for basically going missing during games, especially big games, but I can’t criticise the German’s performance in the North London derby. Not only was Ozil at his creative best, he was also getting stuck in and doing the dirty work, which often isn’t the case. Ozil can leave for free in the summer but at least if he performs like this there’s a chance he’ll leave with Arsenal a Champions League club.
Eden Hazard – Never make Eden Hazard angry, is the lesson we learned at the Hawthorns. Shortly after receiving a bit of a kicking, Hazard stung the palms of Ben Foster leading to the first goal and then added two of his own later on. A good day for Chelsea and a very. very bad one for Tony Pulis who is now sailing pretty close to the wind.
Jack Cork – Cork’s had quite the time recently. He got his first England cap against World Champions Germany last week and now he’s scoring for Burnley against former club Swansea. That’s not exactly a rising scale admittedly, but the best way still to come. On Match of the Day, Phil Neville compared him to Bryan Robson. Hell’s teeth, he’s going to get 90 caps and captain us to the World Cup.
Kevin De Bruyne – The football Man City are playing is almost not fair. De Bruyne’s goal on Saturday clinced the three points against Leicester but it came from Leicester hitting the post at one end and then a matter of seconds later, De Bruyne’s powerful left footed shot was the final act of a devestating counter attack. It’s really hard to see where Man City are going to drop points.
Paul Pogba – It’s probably not a coincidence that Man Utd had their swagger back (I’m 30 next year, is swagger the right word?) with Pogba back in the team. Sure, his goal was a tap in and BT really over-egged the ‘skill’ he used to waltz past Isaac Hayden, but there was a buzz around the team again and it resulted in Man Utd hitting four for the first time in a while. It turns out £89m really improves a team. Who knew?
Callum Wilson – It was impossible not to feel pleased for Callum Wilson on Saturday. Unless you’re made of stone or a Huddersfield fan. Wilson has battled back from two cruciate injuries to score a Premier League hat-trick, and it doesn’t get much better than that. I’m sure there was a time when he wondered if he’d ever be back to his best but he answered that question with an emphatic ‘YES’ on Saturday.
Mo Salah – Again?! Yes, again. This guy is just too good at the minute, he’s making a mockery of defences up and down the country. His first goal, in particular, was something special and he’s got every chance of racking up 20 goals before Christmas if he carries on like this. Yeah, yeah I’ve picked him as a forward this week when he was a midfielder the other week. Versatility is key here at Tales.
David Moyes – Welcome back. I don’t think there’s a single West Ham fan who wanted David Moyes as manager, and his appointment has proven to be the final straw as chants of “sack the board” came from the away end on Sunday afternoon, unless the sound on my TV was playing up (it wasn’t but you have to satisfy the lawyers). Moyesy appointed three assistants – two more than anybody really needs – and when one of them is Stuart Pearce you know you’re scraping the barrel. I await Joe Hart being thrown up front for the final 5 minutes with interest.
Have a good week and I’ll see you again soon.