Team of the Weekend: A less than Sterling effort & Mangala Bingo

Team Of The Weekend

Hello! Another weekend has been and gone so I’m here to take a look back at who grabbed the headlines. With 9 Premier League games to cast an eye over, there was no shortage of options with plenty of good, bad and ridiculous moments. It’s a 3-5-2 this week. False 9’s all around though.

Goalkeeper

Loris Karius – Poor old Jonas Lossl had this spot nailed down until Karius stood perfectly still to pat away Harry Kane’s terrible penalty. I’ve given Karius the nod over Lossl as Sanchez tucked in the rebound whereas Kane needed a second penalty entirely to right his wrong. Rules are rules, but I can’t pick two keepers. What a tangled web I weave for myself sometimes.

Defenders

Danilo – The first goal of the weekend was scored by the Brazilian Fabian Delph, a delicious curling effort that looked set to get Man City off towards yet another win. It hardly seems fair than Man City’s reserve full back can score a goal of such beauty but that sums up the financial gap, though Burnley did go on to equalise so maybe I’m talking rubbish. In summary, a fine goal.

Eliaquim Mangala – After signing on loan for Everton, it was meant to be a new start for Mangala after a chequered time at Manchester City. Everton were 3-0 down after 19 minutes – the Mangala effect. He lost his man from a corner, which is a mistake that could happen to anyone, but when you turn your back on a shot from 25 yards and it deflects off you and in, well, you’ve only got yourself to blame. A new game I’d like to play is called Mangala bingo, where you mark off stupid things he does in a game. Granted, the title is better than the game itself but you know I’ll flog it to death.

Pablo Zabaleta – West Ham were awful at Brighton on Saturday and were rewarded with 0 points, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Why is Pablo Zabaleta playing in midfield?! The transfer window can really shine a light on what you are missing, but David Moyes seems to have taken it as a personal challenge to play as many defenders as possible. Obviously, it’s not his fault, there’s all kinds of shenanigans going on at West Ham but none of that should ever make it acceptable to spend £8m on Jordan Hugill. Or to play PabZab in midfield. I’ve put him back where he belongs for this team.

Midfielders

Raheem Sterling – It was nice of Raheem to take the pressure off everybody else by securing miss of the weekend (if not the season) in the early kick-off. What made it all the better is that Sterling reacted in the same way a two-year-old does when they don’t get what they want. A lovely tantrum. I wrote earlier in the season that Sterling had become very good at scoring tap-ins. Well, now he can’t even do that. In fairness he’s had a very good season but Saturday was a bad day.

James Ward-Prowse – Direct free-kick! Having fought off Sofiane Boufal to take the free kick it must have been very satisfying to see his shot nestle in the bottom corner and of course my own stupid rules guarantees young JWP a spot in the side. His set pieces are wonderful and a real asset to any side and although this summer’s World Cup will probably come too soon, I’m sure he will be a regular in years to come.

Aaron Ramsey – Hat-trick! Poor old Aaron can barely get a mention after all the headlines focused on Arsenal’s new boys running wild but it was good old reliable Aaron who took home the match ball. Granted most of his goals were the fault of Mangala but that doesn’t mean they don’t count.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Ramsey might have got a hat-trick of goals, but Mkhitaryan got the old hat-trick of assists, which is probably just as good for a midfield player. Back at the start of the season, Mkhitaryan was dubbed “Mr Assist” by his Man Utd team mates before he presumably didn’t run 20km in a single match or something and fell foul of the Mourinho selection policy. With Mesut Ozil staying and Aubameyang now up front, it might not be too late for the Gunenrs just yet. They still can’t defend but that’s not the point.

Victor Wanyama – Amidst all the carnage on Sunday afternoon it’s easy to forget that Wanyama picked out the top corner at the Kop end from fully 25 yards. Yes, it was against Karius but Liverpool could have played Karius and Mignolet in goal and got nowhere near that. That’s maybe not the best example but you catch my drift. What a hit!

Forwards

Jose Izquierdo – POSTAGE STAMP. A superb goal from the Colombian who scored a similar goal in the reverse fixture, though that was against Joe Hart and his crisp packet hands, so this far surpassed that. Brighton were as good as West Ham were bad and it was the type of finish you could watch over and over again. I won’t though, as that’s a little sad.

Mo Salah – Liverpool’s second goal is still fairly inexplicable. How did he do it? Why did Hugo Lloris actively get out of the way of the shot? Either way, Salah slalomed through the Spurs defence to net his second of yet another productive afternoon. It’s a shame for his sake that Liverpool didn’t hang on for the points but a crazy last 15 minutes nevertheless.

Manager

Alan Pardew – The fact is that Pardew has now taken West Brom to the bottom of the league, though it is a total bun fight between the bottom 10. What gets up many people’s noses about Pardew is that he never takes the blame himself, as seen in his post match interview where he blamed the fact that West Brom had to play two games in 4 days – like everyone else I might add – and that some of his players weren’t ready for that as they haven’t played much this season. Jay Rodriguez, scorer of two goals at Anfield last Saturday, remained on the bench. Oh, Alan.

That’s all for this week, but I’ll be back next week for more fun and frolics. Toodles for now.