Another week, another set of heroes and villains for you. After the midweek rotation mess, it was pretty much business as usual this weekend, so here are 11 who caught my eye and a manager to keep them in check. We’re back to 3-4-3 for this week
David De Gea – You don’t make 14 saves and not make TOTW. You don’t need me to tell you how good De Gea was on Saturday evening, the double save in particular was outstanding. Dave does indeed save.
Emre Can – Liverpool’s defence has taken some stick this season, so I imagine their fans were fearing the worst when they saw Lovren being partnered by Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum down at the Amex. They needn’t have worried, as it turns out Emre Can is half salmon as his powerful leap to head home the opener will prove. It seems Joel Matip will be sidelined for a little while, so maybe we’ll see more of Can at centre-half.
Davinson Sanchez – The last thing Spurs needed was to lose another centre-half, with Alderwiereld out for the rest of the year, but Sanchez’s rush of blood and urge to elbow someone in the face couldn’t be denied and now he’ll have three games off. It’s just not happening for Tottenham at the minute, a lot of their key players seem to be performing below their best right now and Saturday was the latest evidence of that.
Nicolas Otamendi – Fresh from being robbed of a goal midweek, Otamendi came up with an even more important goal on Sunday. The equaliser against West Ham helped propel City to another late win.
Matt Ritchie – This was a prime example of why you don’t want attacking players doing defensive jobs. Newcastle switched to a 5-3-2 for their visit to Stamford Bridge, and that meant poor old Ritchie at left wing back. All three goals came from crosses out on the right, two of which were his fault. Firstly, his terrible header presented the ball to Moses to cross for Morata, before he went one better in the second half and just chopped Moses down for a penalty
Philippe Coutinho – The midfielder was all round brilliant on Saturday anyway, but his position in the side was cemented by scoring directly from a free kick, which we all know guarantees you a spot in the Tales TOTW. The best thing about it was of course that it was the classic drill under the wall as they all jump, something usually saved for a video game but clearly a technique mastered by the genius Brazilian. Liverpool are in fantastic form at the moment.
Paul Pogba – Paul Pogba is rather good at football. It doesn’t matter how good you are though when you poke the bear that is karma. Just days ago, Pogba suggested that he hoped Man City picked up some injuries and suspensions ahead of the Manchester derby next weekend. Having picked up two assists on Saturday, it was therefore extremely stupid to plant his studs in the leg of Hector Bellerin and received a three-game ban. Maybe he knows how busy it all gets at this time of year and he needed three games off to sort some things out? Silly boy.
Jesse Lingard – Two goals is fair enough, but let’s talk about the celebration. I’m not really sure what a Milly Rock is (I’m 30 next year, give me a break) but Lingard nailed it. I think. It’s better than this dabbing thing. I sound old. Let’s move on.
Eden Hazard – Just sublime from the Belgian, reminding English fans everywhere of what they’ve got to look forward to facing next summer. If Hazard is on, Chelsea are on and he’s currently in form which makes him look unplayable. If it wasn’t for a couple of good saves, Hazard would have walked away with the match ball on Saturday but he had to settle for just 2. He will get others.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – A goal and an assist for a young man who has been one of the few bright spots for Everton this season. The flick for Sigurdsson’s goal has been underrated but I appreciated it. Let’s see how he manages with Allardyce-ball
Wilfried Bony – The nerve. The cheek. Bony barely got a goal when on loan at Stoke, but scored past them after just three minutes on Saturday. It threw up my favourite stat of the weekend, that Bony has scored more goals against Stoke than he has scored for them. Either way, Bony’s goal for Swansea counted for nothing in the end as Stoke came from behind to win. Mark Hughes’ face lit up with a frown.
Sam Allardyce – He’s back and re-energised, apparently. His six-month spell at Palace meant he needed six months off, and now he’s back to “save” a club who are already midtable. He only has to survive a month before Everton can dip their toes back in the transfer market, where Sam will find players from far and wide to fill key positions and secure 8th spot. Call it a prediction.
Another week in the bag then, I’ll be back next weekend to dissect the Merseyside and Manchester derbies. Toodles!