Good day, and welcome to another Monday afternoon Team of the Weekend. After one of the more sedate weekends of Premier League action, we still have 9 games to pick through so there was plenty of opportunity for players to deliver the good and the bad, as ever, our 11 contains a mix along with a manager to try and keep them in check. Shall we?
Petr Cech – I feel bad including big Pete especially as he held his hands up on social media but the bottom line is he made two big errors and cost his team two goals. It’s happening most weeks now and you feel it’s only a matter of time before Ospina gets an extended run in the team, though Wenger doesn’t seem overly keen on that idea either. Arsenal will throw all their eggs in the Europa League basket and their league position is almost irrelevant now, they aren’t going to catch the top four anytime soon.
Ashley Williams – You are a very stupid man. You should not have not done that. Everton fans are livid with their manager, but acts like this from an experienced pro like Ashley Williams are not necessarily the manager’s fault. Having said that, I will never miss an opportunity to stick the boot into Sam Allardyce so let’s put all the blame on Big Sam and look forward to him being peddled in the summer.
Winston Reid – As West Ham’s only fit senior centre-half heading into the game with Swansea, the last thing David Moyes needed was Reid to depart on a stretcher with a serious-looking knee injury and a bang on the head. Whatever the diagnosis, I’d like to wish him a speedy recovery.
Mike van der Hoorn – It’s not every day a centre-half leaves a game with a goal and an assist but that is what Mr Van der Hoorn can claim after his exploits against West Ham. He’s definitely the least celebrated of Swansea’s three centre-halves but he has quietly played a very big part in their renaissance under Carlos Carvalhal. Also, I like it when players have a very continental surname and a bland first name.
Lewis Dunk – I gave Dunk a bit of stick last week for scoring yet another own goal but he showed a real striker’s instinct in scoring Brighton’s opener against Arsenal. Yes, of course, Cech could have dealt with the corner better but the finish from a centre-half was top draw. Brighton look set to stay up now as they sit in the top half and Dunk has been a big part of that.
Son Heung-Min – Fresh from being booked for taking an illegal penalty in midweek, Son helped himself to a double at Wembley to see off Huddersfield on Saturday. Son never really gets the plaudits that the “big 3” of Kane, Eriksen, and Alli get but he’s having a wonderful season with another very healthy contribution of goals. He’ll be hoping to help his side past Juventus in midweek which will be a true test of their credentials.
Riyad Mahrez – He scored a direct free kick in the 97th minute, two things I rank very highly when it comes to selecting players. As we all know by now the old direct free kick guarantees you entry into the TOTW so this decision was made for me in the end.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – After an inauspicious start to his Anfield career, “The Ox” has really flourished in recent weeks since the departure of Philippe Coutinho left a gaping hole in behind the front 3. Although he didn’t get on the scoresheet on Saturday, he did lay on an assist for Salah and assisted the assist for the second goal, if that is even a thing. His decision to leave Arsenal has been completely vindicated and a place in the England squad this summer will surely follow all being well.
Bernardo Silva – It’s easy to pick a player who scored the winner in the big game of the weekend, but he also scored a belter on Thursday I have to give him credit for. We all know Silva is quality after seeing him for Monaco last season but his contribution, when called upon for Man City, has been excellent. Here he played the role of Raheem Sterling by getting in at the back post to score the vital goal.
Ashley Barnes – How we all scoffed when Chelsea allegedly offered £30m for Ashley Barnes. He’s lead the line brilliantly for Burnley this season though, holding the ball up and bringing his team up the pitch and adding the odd goal to his game too. After being denied by a brilliant Pickford save on Saturday, Barnes was on hand to equalise which set up their eventual win. Maybe Chelsea will come back in the summer. Did you know Barnes has played for Austria’s Under 20 side? You would think he could get a place in their full squad sooner or later.
Jordan Ayew – Jordan has been plugging away for Swansea all season and is now reaping the rewards by netting on a regular basis. His new manager has obviously been a big part of that in not sticking him out on the wing but how he has brother Andre to help him the Swans look a good bet to survive.
Antonio Conte – What the bloody hell was that?! It’s one thing when a bottom half club plays with a flat back 9 at Man City but when you are the current champions, it is pretty pathetic. I have no idea why he waited until 88 minutes to throw Morata on either but that just summed up a rather strange day from Chelsea, who barely managed to land a punch on Man City. With a Champions League date with Barcelona looming, it’s difficult to see this season ending well for Conte, I don’t think winning the FA Cup will save him.
That’s all for this week but hopefully, there’ll be more incident next week. Toodles for now.