Greetings! The games are coming thick and fast now as we prepare to enter the month of Claus, but what did the last weekend in November have in store for us? It was a goal shy weekend but I’ve still cobbled together eleven who made an impression one way or another, with a manager thrown in to keep them on the straight and narrow. Shall we?
Petr Cech – It’s been another weekend where goalkeepers have done ok, so again I’m left praising the shot-stoppers. Burnley vs Arsenal had a controversial ending but Cech made a number of fine saves to keep the score at 0-0 before Lee Mason’s late intervention. I happen to think Cech is nowhere near as good as he used to be but Sunday was a good day for the Arsenal man.
DeAndre Yedlin – You know you’re in trouble when your team concede three goals all through the same part of the pitch you’re supposed to be marshalling. That is exactly where all three of Watford’s goals came from on Saturday, DeAndre chipping in with an own goal to cap off a lacklustre display. Sure, he wasn’t the only one, but when you’re highlighted strolling back into position as the away team add a third goal you know you’re in trouble. It’s made all the worse by the fact that Yedlin is faster than the Road Runner and could probably have ran back to help out at even half speed, but he didn’t fancy it. Be better.
Ryan Shawcross – I’m a big fan of defenders forgetting which end they are at, and not in an own goal sense. If you haven’t seen it, Xherdan Shaqiri bent in a cross-shot that was dangerously close to going in direct but big Ryan decided to lunge at it and clear it. Well done Ryan, you saved a certain goal. Mark Hughes will no doubt have been delighted.
Mamadou Sakho – Everybody loves a last-minute winner (except the team who concede it obviously) and considering Palace have been bottom of the table forever, the relief was there for all to see as the likeable Sakho tapped in a late winner. Roy Hodgson looks funny when he celebrates so it was a gift for all. Sakho should really be one of Liverpool’s starting centre-halves in my opinion, but Klopp has let him go and now his task is to keep Palace in the Premier League.
Andre Ayew – In a week where a player was punished for diving for the first time, it sums up just how stupid some footballers can be when Andre Ayew decides to take a dive in a televised game. I know all games are televised somewhere in the world but when it’s broadcast in England it means more people will see it and talk about it, especially when there’s nothing else happening in the game. The worst thing is he can’t be punished because he didn’t get the penalty. So…if he had been pulled up by the ref he’d have got a yellow whereas if he got the pen (e.g. he conned the referee) he’d get a two-game ban. Crikey.
Will Hughes – After scoring his first Premier League goal last weekend, Hughes followed it up with another this week. I was questioning just how many of him were on the field though, as he was involved in just about everything good that Watford did. Playing as part of the front three, he’s really starting to fulfill the potential that he undoubtedly has. He’s at the right club to continue to improve as Marco Silva has Watford playing some lovely stuff. Good for England, though probably not in time for 2018.
Xherdan Shaqiri – Look, I’m not one for stereotypes, but everyone who plays for Stoke should be able to throw the ball 40 yards and be 6 foot 3. Shaqiri is an incredibly talented player and it perplexes me that his form seems to deviate so much, but I guess that is why he plays for Stoke and not one of the bigger clubs in Europe. No disrespect, Potters. Anyway, his goal on Saturday involved a mazy dribble before using that wand of a left foot to score. It was an assist for Ryan Shawcross, so anybody who can do that really deserves praise.
Willian – Cross or shot? Who cares, it made Simon Mignolet look silly and it’s been all of a few weeks since that last happened. Willian will no doubt claim he meant it, but I’m not having it. Definitely a cross.
Raheem Sterling – Hats off, I used to say Sterling was overrated and a waste of space but Pep has improved him to the point where he is now pivotal to Manchester City. Huddersfield had battled well to be in a position where they looked likely to take a point off the Man City juggernaut, but having already won a penalty, Sterling was in the right place to bundle home the winner. I just hope he finds this form for England next summer.
Jamie Vardy – His wife is in the jungle, which must be quite difficult for him. Not because of all the dressing room “bantz” but rather that he can smash as many blue WKD’s a night as he likes without having the Mrs moan at him for it. Still, he turned up for Friday night football and got an assist, so it can’t be all bad at Chateaux Vardy right now.
Charlie Austin – It’s always great news when Charlie Austin scores as Twitter lights up with 100 Stone Cold Steve Austin gifs. Southampton have struggled for goals in recent times but Austin made a mockery of that on Sunday with two well-taken goals. Obviously, it helps when you play against a very unorganised team, but Austin won’t care about that. He celebrated by going to all four corners flags and drinking some beer. And that’s the bottom line…
Gary Megson – The original ginger Mourinho took charge of West Brom in a “one match only” type of deal. It seems odd seeing Megson in the dugout in 2017 but to be fair to him, it’s a very good point away at Spurs, who still can’t really crack this Wembley thing. It’s rumoured to be Alan Pardew next in at West Brom, so expect them to go on a winning run soon followed by a bad spell in a few months. Like clockwork. There’s an honourable mention for David Unsworth, but I think he’s suffered enough.
Such is the nature of the schedule at the minute, I’ll be back on Thursday with a team of the mid-week. Unconventional I know, but being prompt is all I have. See you then.