Greetings and welcome to Team of the Weekend, the article where we name, fame and shame the best and worst of the Premier League from the latest round of fixtures. It is Grand National season so expect a few horse-related puns as we reach the final furlong of the season, but who are our runners and riders? The heavy favourites finally won having been lengths ahead all season whilst the rank outsiders caused a shock. Enough about horses. Let’s football.
Ben Foster – West Brom defended brilliantly, so much so that Foster didn’t have loads to do, but when he was called upon he pulled off a stunning save to keep out Romelu Lukaku’s header. He will be the best keeper in the Championship next season, assuming he stays (and Butland leaves Stoke. Work with me here).
Marcos Alonso – What a grim tackle. He’s very lucky to have got away without so much as a telling off, as Mike Dean claims not to have seen it. If such an incident can be reviewed then Alonso can expect to have three games off, including the FA Cup semi-final. He plays for Chelsea though so don’t bet on it.
Kevin Long – It’s pretty typical of Burnley that they offset the loss of influential centre-back Ben Mee by bringing in Kevin Long and it doesn’t disrupt them whatsoever. He even scored, you can’t write this stuff. Burnley look destined for Europa League football and you are lying if you say you aren’t even a little bit curious as to how that will turn out.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – What a player Liverpool have here. He’s only 19 and already has one of the sweetest right pegs in the league, as demonstrated by his pass for Salah’s goal. I was a bit annoyed that BT went mad over Salah’s clever finish – what else was he going to do? The ball from Trenty was head height at the perfect weight to be helped on up and over the goalkeeper. Anyway, that’s an argument for another day. Trent is great. It’s a shame he has Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in his position for the World Cup but he’s a Champions League semi-finalist, for goodness sake.
Davinson Sanchez – You’ve had a shitter, lad. The Spurs high line was ruthlessly exploited by a rampant Man City and poor old Davinson was left chasing shadows. Fortunately for him, Raheem Sterling needs 10 chances to score 1 but there’s a saying about a stopped clock even being right twice a day. I think that applies to Sterling. Oh yeah, Sanchez. Looks like he needs a rest in my view, but what do I know?
Wilfried Zaha – I was amazed to find this was the first time Zaha has scored twice in a Premier League game but here we are. He is the main man to the point where I don’t know why teams don’t just double or treble up on him. Let James McArthur have it, all the play goes through Zaha. He can even head the ball now and Palace themselves are heading for safety.
Tom Carroll – Did you mean that pass son? I’m pretty sure this is a mis-hit volley but it actually turned out to be the greatest outside of the foot volley pass of all time. Jordan Ayew did the rest. Tom Carroll can retire now if he meant it, he’ll spend the rest of his life trying to better it otherwise.
Tom Ince – It must be difficult having Paul Ince as a Dad. I mean, for one, it’s Paul Ince. Every time you go anywhere he has to be last in line and he goes shirtless until you enter the restaurant/cinema/bowling alley, that’s got to take its toll on you as a child. In later life, he is a terrible manager and then acts as your agent too for good measure. With all that in mind, it’s not surprising how utterly delighted Ince was to score the goal that probably ensures Huddersfield will stay up.
Mohamed Diame – I could have included any of Newcastle’s team after their latest victory but the hard-fought win over Arsenal was epitomised by Diame’s constant interceptions. Diame and Shelvey have formed an ideal partnership, where one breaks up the play and the other sprays it about and it’s that axis which has lead Newcastle to not only the top half but also safety.
Olivier Giroud – Super sub! Giroud arrived on the sunny St. Mary’s pitch with his team in a heap of trouble at 2-0 down. No matter. A trademark header to reduce the arrears and a sweet left-footed finish ensured the greatest turnaround since Juventus nearly beat Real Madrid on Wednesday. It also meant we got the always enjoyable moment when a substitute is handed Man of the Match by Alan Smith, which you’d struggle to argue with on this occasion. It’s a shame he’s signed up for a lifetime of being a substitute at Chelsea, though he must surely push Morata for a starting place now.
Jay Rodriguez – Quite a week for the West Brom forward, having been cleared of a racism charge during the week he then pops up to hand Man City the title by scoring the winner at Old Trafford. Aside from his goal, he did a great job of linking the play as West Brom looked like an altogether different team under Darren Moore. It turns out “anyone but Pardew” is quite the philosophy.
Pep Guardiola – I wanted to give this to Darren Moore for winning at Old Trafford in just his second game in charge but really we have to give it to Pep Guardiola, as not only did his Man City team steamroller one of the better teams in the division but they’ve been doing it all season and are deserved champions. Well done Pep, the real test will be to see if they can follow it up next season with European success.
That brings us to the end of another weekend recap but do join me next week where there’ll be more nonsense. Bye for now.