Dan Davison selects six British players at random from the Premier League and assesses their performance from the weekend.
#1 Tommy Smith (Huddersfield Town)
Tommy Smith playing at the John Smith’s Stadium. Proper English name, proper English ground, proper English performance. Terrible. With Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini running rings around the entire Huddersfield defence, Smith looked particularly out of place at right-back – with his positioning about as consistent and well thought-out as Nigel Farage’s position on Brexit. Possibly Huddersfield’s worst-ever performance in the Premier League, reinforcements might be necessary for David Wagner’s side before the transfer window shuts.
#2 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
We have been blessed with many great double-barrell-surnamed players in the Premier League down the years. Eric Djemba-Djemba, Bradley Wright-Phillips…. I could go on. But James Ward-Prowse is representing the double-barrel surname like few before him. The England international was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon, scoring two goals and dictating the general pace of play. Still only 23, Ward-Prowse is looking increasingly likely to be on that plane to Russia in the summer.
#3 Jonny Evans
Where would West Bromwich Albion be without good, old Jonny Evans? Relegated, that’s where. Although still a distinct possibility with Alan Pardew at the helm, Albion climbed three points closer to safety on Saturday afternoon with a win and a clean sheet against fellow strugglers Brighton in the battle of the Albions. Captain Evans was once again supreme, calmness personified on the ball and extremely positionally aware. With both Manchester clubs reportedly interested in bringing the ex-Utd man back to the City, Evans is like a defensive Alexis Sanchez. Just slightly less good. Okay, a lot less good. He does throw fewer tantrums on the pitch though, which is a nice touch from a fully-grown adult.
#4 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Harry Kane hasn’t been talked about enough recently, so it’s about time somebody included him in their column. The England man scored another brace in Saturday’s late kick-off against Everton to move ahead of the likes of Teddy Sheringham and Pascal Chimbonda as Spurs’ all-time top scorer in the Premier League. With football having not really mattered before 1992, this record is every bit as prestigious as his recent ‘Most Goals in a Calendar Year’ record and Teddy Sheringham was said to be totally inconsolable when the news was broken to him that his record he didn’t know he had was broken. Kane, still only 24, continues to go from strength-to-strength and is said to be closing in on the record for ‘Most goals scored in the 26th minute with a header whilst someone called Ben made a cup of tea in Margate.’ Thank god for the stats men, football would be unwatchable without them.
#5 Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
ArsenalFanTV is one of the greatest things on the internet, and never more so than on a day when the Gunners have suffered a defeat to a so-called smaller team. With angry fans ranting and raving about Arsene Wenger, the playing staff and the amount of salt on their half-time chips – Danny Welbeck came under fire in particular for his sub-par performance at the Vitality on Sunday afternoon. Welbeck seems completely unable to hold the ball up and does not provide the regular goal threat that the Gunners desperately need. With Alexandre Lacazette also out-of-form, the traditional mid-season internet campaign for Arsene Wenger to be sacked looks imminent.
#6 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool)
Sunday was a much better day for a former Arsenal employee, however. As Liverpool finally ended Manchester City’s 4000 game unbeaten run in a typically thrilling 4-3 encounter at Anfield, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had arguably his greatest game since making the switch to Merseyside. With Liverpool employing the high press to great effect, The Ox was instrumental in causing City’s back line all kinds of problems alongside fellow goal scorer Mohammed Salah. He’ll be Barca-bound in no time.