Hello and welcome to Team of the Weekend. There were pivotal games at both ends of the table and some big scorelines to boot. As ever, we’re looking for the best and worst of the weekend’s performers with a manager to look after them. Let’s get to it.
Hugo Lloris – It’s been a while but finally we have a penalty saver. I’ve had to scrap around looking for actual reasons to pick goalkeepers but Lloris gains automatic entry for keeping our Jamie Vardy’s spot kick. It was 1-0 at the time so this went a long way to winning Spurs the game. Their title hunt is alive and well.
Sol Bamba – It’s hardly a surprise that Bamba scored from a corner, but he makes Team of the Weekend because of his celebration. There’s something about a small middle-aged steward trying to stop Bamba getting in the crowd. You won’t win that fight.
Kurt Zouma – Who gets sent off after the final whistle these days? Such a stupid way to get sent off and now he’ll miss a game for not shutting up after full-time. Really poor from a player who should know better. Everton are in free-fall.
Saed Kolasinac – Arsenal’s win at Huddersfield will be known as the full Kolasinac. An assist and an own goal, we really saw both sides to Arsenal’s Bosnian full-back. To be quite fair, the own-goal was harsh as it was almost certainly going to be a goal anyway.
Anthony Martial – Paul Pogba will get the headlines for his brace, but Martial was magnificent. Granted, Fulham are atrocious defensively, but you can only beat what is in front of you. As it turned out, Martial did beat everyone in front of him. His slaloming run was crisply finished with one of those lovely curling efforts that Thierry Henry used to be so fond of. Either way, Man Utd enjoyed a stroll in the park/cottage and now it’s all eyes on the PSG game.
James McArthur – Top finish, Les. He did all the hard work including sitting the goalkeeper down. Surely he must score? Nope, silly James managed to miss. This summed Crystal Palace up really. So many chances, so few converted.
Gini Wijnaldum – Liverpool’s rocky form in recent weeks has been blamed on nerves. To me though the absence of Wijnaldum has been understated. He knits things together for Liverpool and his goal on Saturday was a joy. The front three, of course, all played well but Wijnaldum’s little chipped finish was as good as any goal at Anfield this season. The Dutchman’s return to fitness can only be good news for Klopp as Liverpool go in search of their maiden Premier League title.
Jeff Hendrick – It’s incredible that Jeff Hendrick is a Premier League footballer despite having no arms. What? If that isn’t a handball, I can only assume he has no arms. The most ludicrous decision of the weekend compounded by Burnley going up the other end and getting a penalty of their own. That was also a penalty.
Chris Wood – Burnley did a bit of a job on Brighton on Saturday evening. This was the Burnley of last season. Resolute defensively and clinical up front. Chris Wood got two of the goals with a couple of excellent finishes. But Wood makes the team for an incident you may have missed. Ashley Barnes was taken down by Matt Ryan and faced with an open goal to complete a Premier League hat-trick, Wood scuffed his shot a mile wide. Then the penalty was awarded. No wonder he didn’t take the penalty. I doubt he cares, Burnley are finding form at the right time.
Jamie Vardy – What is going on at Leicester? No strikers named in the starting 11 then Vardy is introduced when his manager needs him. It’s a big ask for your first touch to be a penalty, I think I’d want to be a little warmed up first. Anyway, his eventful afternoon saw the penalty saved but he did net a consolation late on. He’s so alive in and around the box it seems mad that Puel can’t adapt to play to his strengths. One of him or Puel will not be at Leicester come June. I’ll let you decide who will leave.
Sergio Aguero – There is an argument to just copy and paste what I wrote last week. Another hat-trick for Aguero and the Man City freight train has gone into overdrive. He even had time to miss an open goal in the early minutes but his first goal was a thing of beauty. It’s rare to see Aguero score from outside the area but he is obviously capable, it’s just most of his best work is done in the penalty area. Poor old Jesus will have to play at Newport now.
Maurizio Sarri – Sales of cigarettes in the Chelsea area were reported to be at an all-time high on Sunday night. Sarri found out the hard way why so few teams go toe-to-toe with Man City and the evidence is that it was 4-0 after 20 minutes. Everything is wrong at Chelsea. Sarri will have to change his tactics or Chelsea will be playing Europa League football next season. It doesn’t work with the current set of players and there’s a fair amount of stubbornness in persisting with tactics that have seen you lose your last two away matches by an aggregate 10-0.
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next weekend to try and cobble together a team from the FA Cup fixtures. Until then, goodbye for now.
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