The Premier League threw up a bucket full of talking points this weekend and a whole lot of controversy to go with it. Whether that’s because of one player’s dismal individual performance, one winger’s incredible miss from yards out or one manager’s frank but poor explanation for his side’s drubbing. Because Matchday 26 was so eventful, we’ve extended the shortlist for Wally of the Week this time around so no one could escape it.
5. Raheem Sterling
Manchester City’s English winger has had an outstanding season and is profiting from his team’s unbelievable creativity but this week it didn’t go to plan for him. Turf Moor was the glamorous setting as City continued their procession towards the Premier League title and things looked to be going to plan when Danilo’s stunning strike gave them the lead. That was until Kyle Walker crossed the ball across goal towards Raheem Sterling who was waiting at the back post. The cross was perfect for Sterling and, probably with the exception of Alvaro Morata, any Premier League player (past or present) would’ve scored it. Sterling managed to skew his effort wide of the far post despite being positioned almost under the crossbar. He threw himself to the ground in disbelief in a way a spoilt toddler would’ve done – except a spoilt toddler would’ve scored. Sterling was replaced shortly after and watched his team concede a late equaliser and it’s a shame those passionate rants that we see from Pep Guardiola are directed towards opposing players instead of his own.
4. Sam Allardyce
Nothing screams Big Sam like publicly saying his players ‘played crap’. His managerial tactics weren’t much better as he watched his Everton side concede four first-half goals at the Emirates as Arsenal’s new signings and Aaron Ramsey ran riot. Allardyce proclaimed that he’d simply copied the tactics that Carlos Carvalhal and Swansea had employed just a few days earlier as they turned the Gunners over at the Liberty Stadium. Simply copying tactics from another team is bad enough but when you lose 5-1 with better players and then go on to blame those players is something else. The Everton fans are already calling for Big Sam’s head and are fed up with his negative tactics so maybe it’s time for him to change his ways. But then again, 40 points and he’ll be happy.
3. Tiemoue Bakayoko
You wouldn’t normally expect a Premier League footballer to be booked twice inside the first half-hour and for Mike Dean not to be blamed. I think Chelsea fans were happy to see the back of Tiemoue Bakayoko when he was given his marching orders against Watford on Monday night. Some are baffled as to how he still finds his way onto a football pitch let alone how he starts game after game. The Frenchman has been incredibly underwhelming since joining Chelsea from Monaco in the summer and doesn’t seem to possess any footballing ability. His poor form continued at Vicarage Road where he gave the ball away numerous times and lumbered about without offering anything defensively or offensively. His team actually improved without him being on the pitch despite being a man down and that says it all really. He even had the audacity to applaud the away fans, most of which were expressing their anger towards him, as he trudged off the pitch early.
2. Dele Alli
Even if he’s not having the best of seasons, at least Dele Alli is scoring off the pitch. After diving against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, his sex tape with a prostitute was dug up and you can only imagine his facial expression when he checked Twitter on Monday morning. A video was leaked of him ‘enjoying himself’ with a prostitute and it quickly did the rounds on social media which did the England international no favours after his lacklustre performance at Anfield.
As if a 3-0 home defeat by Bournemouth wasn’t enough. The Blues were a goal down and a man down by half-time in their game at Watford on Monday night and went on to ship three late goals after Eden Hazard’s stunning equaliser. I’ll gloss over the horrific performance and look at the bigger picture. If Chelsea continue in this way until the end of the season they will almost certainly finish outside the top four and be without Champions League football next season. Antonio Conte will leave, if he hasn’t been sacked by May, and I expect Eden Hazard will follow him out the door soon after on a quest to further his career. They won’t be able to attract top names because their squad is already rather average and they can’t guarantee trophies, stability or a wage to match those offered in Manchester. How will they attract a top manager if he has no say on transfers? It’s been a sorry demise since last season’s impressive title triumph and that culminated with that humbling at Vicarage Road.