Happy Monday to you all, I’m back to review the best and worst of the weekend, and what a weekend it was. Derby games were the order of the weekend, but let’s say some were much better than others. I’m feeling a trendy 3-4-3 this weekend along with a manager to keep them all in check. Let’s go!
Hugo Lloris – One week on from costing Tottenham a goal against Chelsea, Hugo was at it again on Saturday, rushing out to close down a pass to Mame Biram Diouf only to smash the ball off the big striker who went on to pass the ball into an empty net despite the obvious handicap of being only semi-conscious. What can you say? Lloris is obviously one of the best goalkeepers in the league but he’s had a bad 7 days.
Ragnar Klavan – In a weekend of very few clean sheets I’ve opted to include Liverpool’s makeshift left back. I found it odd he was picked to start ahead of Alberto Moreno but the Spaniard got injured in the warm-up anyway. Possibly the player least suited to playing full-back in the Liverpool system, Klavan didn’t do that badly I guess and importantly they didn’t concede…somehow. I’m pretty sure he won’t play against Man City.
Shane Duffy – What an awful backpass. Duffy and Dunk have been exceptional for Brighton and have gone a long way towards securing their Premier League status but they saw 3 points become 1 in the blink of an Irish eye as a blind backpass was basically nowhere near Matt Ryan and Steve Mounie did the rest. Everyone’s allowed a mistake once in a while.
Cesar Azpilicueta – It’s fair to say Chelsea’s league season is in danger of fizzling out, but one nice moment from Sunday’s game with West Ham was Cesar Azpilicueta dedicating his goal to Ray Wilkins. It’s rare for Cesar to get himself on the scoresheet but it was perhaps fitting that Chelsea’s Mr Dependable was able to point to his black armband out of respect to “Butch.” A sad loss to the world of football, RIP Ray.
Luka Milivojevic – Free-kick! Luka has been making a name for himself as the man who converts the penalties after Zaha is routinely chopped down but this week proved he was more than just a spot-kick expert, curling a 25-yard free kick up and over the wall to give Palace the lead. A tremendous free kick worthy of winning any game…except they didn’t win. Palace’s relegation fight continues.
Christian Eriksen – Also a free kick! As much as Harry Kane tried to claim this one the powers that be are determined to give this to Christian Eriksen. That means he scored directly from a free kick and as you know by now guarantees him a spot in this team. He wasn’t exactly going for goal himself but rules are rules and, besides, Eriksen ended up being the difference between the two teams despite Hugo Lloris trying to gift the opposition some points for the second consecutive week.
Paul Pogba – Hands up who saw that coming? In a week where Pep Guardiola claims he was offered Paul Pogba in January, Pogba followed that up by actually turning up in a Man Utd shirt for the first time in several months with two second-half goals, shaping the Man Utd comeback. I don’t think that will endear him to Pep, though it was nice of Pogba to have his hair blue for the occasion (even if it was done for France duty).
Raheem Sterling – When we look back on this season, it’ll probably be remembered in a positive light for Raheem Sterling. In many ways, he has come of age. However, his goalscoring touch deserted him on Saturday evening as at least 3 clear chances were passed up. Not so easy when they aren’t tap-ins from a couple of yards are they? We’ll ignore the one that was.
Ayoze Perez – Another tireless display from Perez resulted in a goal and an assist to add to his winner last weekend. His goal is the main reason for his inclusion though, a ridiculous 30-yard lob over Schmeichel who was in no man’s land. Kasper might have levelled up with his Dad last weekend in terms of penalty saves, but he can say he has been chipped from a ridiculous distance by a Newcastle player the same amount of times as Peter. Smashing.
Sam Vokes – Burnley’s ridiculous season continues as the man with the golden voice showed he also has the golden touch when it comes to substitutions. In recent weeks it has been Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood doing the business for Sean Dyche but his introduction of Vokes lead to an equaliser within 22 seconds of his arrival with his first touch. When it’s going for you, it really goes for you. Burnley are big favourites to take that 7th spot now and the potential for Europa League football.
Danny Welbeck – Sunday was what I like to call “The Full Welbeck” where he scores twice but also somehow manages to miss a sitter. It’s the mark of a good striker that they keep getting chances even after fluffing a more or less open goal from 5 yards out but Welbeck continues to split opinion. I took some flack for selecting him in my predicted England squad a few weeks ago and whilst I don’t think he’ll make or break our success this summer, I don’t say who else is going to go as the 4th forward (assuming we take 4) – I certainly don’t count Sterling and there’s nobody else banging on the door.
Sean Dyche – I was keen to give this to Rafa Benitez for guiding Newcastle to the top half of the table but I’ve instead opted for Dychey because it’s looking more and more likely that Burnley are going to play Europa League football next season. Let that sink in. Time and time again Burnley have defied the odds and won a game I really didn’t expect them to, this weekend winning at Watford perhaps isn’t a surprise but to do it from 1-0 down shows they really want this. Dyche deserves it and I really hope if they do make the Europa League they don’t fall foul in the qualifiers like Southampton and West Ham have in recent years.
That’s all for the week but I’ll be back next Monday to do it all again. Bye for now!