Snow is falling, all around me – and you should all know that because we’ve seen nothing but pictures of snow since the first flake fell on Friday. As the country comes to terms with what is commonly known as winter, 20 brave Premier League teams put up with this annual occurrence in an attempt to impress me, or more accurately secure important Premier League points. With that in mind, let’s line up 11 of my favourite characters from the shenanigans that have gone before us. 3-4-3 this week, the modern way.
Asmir Begovic – I am a man of my word, and as Begovic saved Benteke’s injury-time penalty, he gets the gloves this week. We’ll talk more about the big Belgian later on, but let’s just say Begovic will be more extended dropping his groceries than pushing away Benteke’s spot kick. Still, a save is a save, stats are stats and rules are rules. Well done Asmir, you are capable of a very basic reaction save.
Winston Reid – West Ham have taken a lot of abuse – plenty of it from me – so my way of rewarding a good performance is by picking their vice-skipper in the team. Very few people expected West Ham to come away with a win on Saturday against Chelsea but Moyes got the setup just right and restricted Chelsea to very little. Reid was colossal at the back, so his inclusion is not a token gesture by any means, but this one is for West Ham.
Ryan Shawcross – Call me immature but I’m putting Shawcross in purely because he scored at both ends. It’s a simple pleasure and one you’ll just have to get on board with, like many of my other crazy pre-determinations. I seem to pick Shawcross a lot, and the last thing I want is for him to think I am picking on him. He’s a lot bigger than me, but Stoke’s defence is porous.
Dejan Lovren – You know Dejan, you really need to stop being incompetent. Lovren is more or less a walking disaster. You may remember Lovren from such cameos as “subbed after half an hour at Wembley” and “missing the vital penalty in a shootout” but his latest act of tomfoolery was to needlessly foul Dominic Calvert-Lewin and give away a penalty. It’s made so much worse by the fact Everton barely got into Liverpool’s half but came away with a 1-1 draw thanks to Lovren’s indiscretion. Still, he took his mistake with dignity and left the field shouting at referee Pawson.
Heung-Min Son – Spurs had a field day on Saturday against leaky Stoke, helping themselves to five goals. Son was at the heart of most of the goals and for that, he earns a spot in the coveted team of the weekend. Son is like the ultimate 12th man, a fantastic player to be able to call on but he probably isn’t in the first choice 11 if everybody is available. Maybe he will be after days like this.
Scott Arfield – Arfield got the winner for Burnley against Watford on Saturday, but beyond that his selection is a bit of a bluff. Firstly, I want to wish Robbie Brady well in his recovery after sustaining a knee injury that looks to have finished his season. We’re nice like that here. Secondly, Scott Arfield is Canadian. Did you know that? He only has 12 caps though, which implies Canada have better options. Let’s move on.
Sadio Mane – Just. Square. It. You. Greedy. Tit. Liverpool have spent the last few weeks patting each other on the back and giving one another tap-ins. Inexplicably, Mane decided to forget this notion and, with three teammates begging for a tap-in, he screwed his shot a mile wide and gave Everton a reprieve. The rest is history. Of course, he had every right to shoot but if you’re going to in that position, make sure you hit the target. I bet he won’t make the same mistake next time.
David Silva – He’s a magician, right. You’re probably sick of hearing that. But look, he’s now added scoring scruffy goals to his locker, which is a real concern. Man City, of course, won the battle of Manchester and Silva was magnificent throughout, but the beautiful passing play was backed up by scoring two of the scruffiest goals you are likely to see. Alanis Morissette sang about it.
Christian Beneteke – How long have you got? Crystal Palace were dead and buried, admittedly after five games or something, but still, Roy arrived and slowly but surely they have clawed their way towards safety. every time it looks like they are going to get out of trouble, something comes along and ruins it. That something probably shouldn’t be your star striker, but on Saturday Benteke decided he wanted to be the hero. So, with the scores locked at 2-2, an injury-time penalty was awarded and surely Milivojevic would step up and confidently convert his second penalty of the afternoon? Nope. Benteke took charge and decided to tentatively sidefoot the ball down the middle of the goal. Obviously, it was saved. You’ve got some making up to do, Christian.
Jermain Defoe – Easily goal of the weekend in my view. Some compared it to Marco Van Basten’s at Euro 88, but sadly it loses points for being scored against Julian Speroni. It was a wonderful piece of ingenuity from Defoe, though I imagine Eddie Howe was even more pleased with the first goal which came from a well worked corner routine. Managers are weird like that.
Romelu Lukaku – The new king of the assist laid both goals on a plate for Man City, proving his worth in a big game at long last. Chortle. Of course there was an element of misfortune of how the ball fell after Lukaku’s mistakes, but there you have it. Sometimes football is very cruel.
Paul Clement – Much like Winston Reid earlier, this is a team award that goes to the manager. Swansea nicked a late win against West Brom when Wilfried Bony smashed a shot from six yards that gave three West Brom defenders whiplash. Clement’s three subs seemed to change the course of the action and the under pressure manager will be over the moon to have turned 1 point into 3 and ease the pressure for a few days.
That’s it from me but I’ll be back on Thursday with another Team of the (mid)Week. The treat of midweek football also means the curse of more from me. Bye for now.