With Manchester City soaring to their first Premier League title under Pep Guardiola and 2-0 up in the clinching game against their faltering closest rivals, no one could’ve predicted what happened next. That collapse combined with their Champions League exit gives me a chance to include them in this shortlist for the first time this season. They join a Saints defender who wasn’t so gracious and a calamitous goalkeeping mistake in the Wally of the Week shortlist.
3. Dale Stephens
It’s bad enough conceding two goals to Danny Welbeck, let alone getting needlessly sent off in stoppage time with your team chasing a late equaliser. Southampton are struggling big time at the wrong end of the Premier League table and can’t afford to lose players to suspension or injury so that makes Dale Stephen’s wrestling match with Jack Wilshere seem even more uncalled for.
To be fair to Stephens, Wilshere literally ripped the shirt off his back as the defender tried to join a late Saints attack in search of a goal but that was no excuse to throw the Arsenal man to the floor in a fit of rage. After this aggressive, deliberate act, Stephens was given his marching orders and will be suspended for this Saturday’s visit of Chelsea. However, with Alvaro Morata likely to lead the Blues’ line, I doubt Southampton will need him.
2. Hugo Lloris
The French goalkeeper has been a huge success, despite not winning a trophy, since his arrival in English football five years ago. The cool, calm and collected figure between the sticks has been one of Tottenham’s best players over the last few years but not this week. After Christian Eriksen had given Spurs the lead at the Bet365 Stadium, Xherdan Shaqiri sent a ball in behind the visitors’ defence and it seemed like an easy clearance for the onrushing Lloris.
However, the keeper sent his kick straight into the midriff of Mame Biram Diouf and the ball bounced kindly for the Stoke striker and he put it into the empty net to equalise. The ball struck him so hard that he was down on the floor, completely winded, for a few moments after scoring. Although Spurs went onto win the game through Eriksen’s second goal, which Harry Kane is shamelessly trying to claim, Lloris didn’t exactly cover himself in glory.
1. Pep Guardiola
I know it may be clutching at straws seeing as the defeats his side have suffered this week have mainly been down to refereeing mistakes and the fact that his Manchester City team are still 13 points clear at the top of the table, I’m going to take this rare opportunity. It’s not been a good week for Pep. Firstly, his team were outplayed at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool but there was the saving grace of the Manchester Derby. City would win the Premier League title against their arch-rivals with a win, compiling United’s and Jose Mourinho’s misery. Guardiola chose to rest key players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero but his team still made the perfect start, going 2-0 up inside 30 minutes and seemed to be cruising against a lacklustre United side.
Raheem Sterling missed two golden opportunities to put the game to bed before half-time and City were made to rue those chances. Paul Pogba, sporting City’s colours in his hair, hauled United level with a quick-fire double before Chris Smalling completed the comeback. City had blown a once in a lifetime chance to clinch the title against their city rivals but they had blown it with Guardiola’s team selection coming into question. Three days later, Guardiola sent out an incredibly attacking line-up in the second leg of their tie with Liverpool but chose to leave out top scorer Aguero. The hosts went ahead early on but were incensed by a decision to disallow a Leroy Sane goal and Guardiola made his feelings clear to the officials at half-time and was sent to the stands. City’s attacking line-up were exposed by first Mo Salah and then Roberto Firmino and the ‘best team the Premier League has ever seen’ were dumped out by Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.