Believe it or not, that was a weekend. It’s also yet another round of Premier League football – and no, we’re not tired of it yet there can never be enough. Having said that, with three 0-0s on Saturday maybe the schedule is starting to take it’s toll. Nevertheless, here are the best and worst of the weekend. Happy New Year!
Ederson – I was all set to write about Alex McCarthy and how it was great that he’d finally got another chance to actually play football having sat on the bench forever since leaving Reading, but then Ederson saved a last minute penalty for Milivojevic on Sunday and that ended that. Rules and rules. It was an awful penalty and amazingly Man City didn’t win, but they didn’t lose thanks to Ederson, so welcome to the team.
Ashley Young – No matter how annoyed you are that it’s 0-0 with Southampton, never elbow another man in the stomach. It’s just been Christmas for goodness sake, we’re all feeling a bit tender about our waistlines and poor Dusan Tadic nearly saw his lunch again. I imagine Young will rightly be banned.
Davide Zappacosta – 5-0, even Zappacosta scored…probably sang the Chelsea faithful. Stoke went with no intention of winning and got their reward by conceding to one of the more unlikely goalscorers of the weekend.
James Tomkins – I’d have to include somebody from Palace after they came within a poorly taken penalty from beating the champions elect, but more importantly they didn’t concede and therefore didn’t lose. All of Palace’s team put in a shift but special credit goes to James Tomkins for growing some ridiculous mutton chop side burns. They clearly help though, maybe it’ll be the new in thing.
Mo Salah – It’s been all of about 2 weeks since he was last in team of the weekend but I couldn’t not include him after his latest edition of the Mo Salah show. I wouldn’t say he single handedly turned around their fortunes around against Leicester but he scored both goals in a 2-1 win so he wasn’t far off. His record since signing for Liverpool is nothing short of ridiculous.
Danny Drinkwater – I forgot Danny Drinkwater was a thing, let alone that he had this sort of ability in his locker. A lovely half volley, arrowed into the corner, and the reality is that Drinkwater won the Premier League with Leicester and still didn’t make the Euro 2016 squad. How? If he gets a run of games for Chelsea it’s hard to see him not making the squad, but sadly for him he’s not Kante, Fabregas or Bakayoko so might have to be Chelsea’ FA Cup man.
Ryan Fraser – Like Salah, Fraser scored two vital goals for his side on Saturday including a late winner, albeit via a massive deflection. He’s always seemed a useful player for Bournemouth and he might be in for a regular run in the side now after contributions like this.
Jeff Hendrick – I’m including Jeff for two reasons. Firstly, no outfield player should voluntarily wear number 13. It’s reserved for sub keepers only. Secondly, I feel bad for him not getting a penalty for the most blatant foul of the season. Jonas Lossl was nowhere near the ball and very near Hendrick’s ankle. Have a sympathy vote from me.
Jordan Ayew – Imagine being the lesser appreciated Ayew brother. You are Jordan Ayew. Ridicule aside, he’s come up with some important goals for Swansea, perhaps none more so than the late leveller at Watford on Saturday that ultimately set up their even later winner. Swansea have a new manager and with this win they have given themselves a real chance of survival.
Saido Berahino – I started writing for Tales just over a year ago, and in that time Saido Berahino has scored precisely zero goals. In fact it has been 22 months since his last goal, which was for West Brom. In the season Newcastle were relegated, Steve McClaren tried to pay a huge amount of money to sign Berahino. I am glad he didn’t. Still, he had Stoke’s only shot on goal on Saturday, so that’s like scoring, in many ways.
Romelu Lukaku – DON’T IT ALWAYS SEEM TO GO, THAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TILL IT’S GONE? Lukaku has taken a lot of stick recently for not scoring enough goals and for generally being a hinderance in his own box, but man alive Man Utd looked like they could play for 3 days and not score without him on the field. Whether his presence worries the opposition or maybe his physicality is the ying to Marcus Rashford’s yang I don’t know, but it’s going to change the dynamics if he is out for any great period of time with the head injury sistained early on in Saturday’s game.
Carlos Carvalhal – Welcome to the fun factory, Carlos. I will always remember you managing the most cynical team I have seen in the Championship and allowing them all to have stupid shirt numbers. Blood on your hands. I have no idea why Carvalhal has gone from being sacked by a midtable Championship side to Premier League manager in 5 days but that is where we are, and what’s more he only went and won on Saturday. The Swans are off the bottom already.
That’s all from me for another week, I’ll be back with the a team of the midweek for the New Year’s Day games, then it’s the FA Cup at the weekend. Bye for now.