Welcome along to Team of the Weekend. We’ve assessed the most poignant performers of the weekend’s games and made a team of headline-makers. As ever, some are better than others. It was a weekend of scrappy results mixed in with the odd bit of quality but here’s our 11.
Hugo Lloris – On a weekend where two goalkeepers pulled off penalty saves, I’ve opted to put Lloris between the sticks. His save in the last knockings of the North London derby secured Spurs a point they barely deserved. Lloris has been under fire recently for…well, basically not saving anything. This should put him back in the good books for a while.
Phil Bardsley – I’m always astounded when I find out that not only is Phil Bardsley still a Premier League player but he starts regularly too. It was less of a surprise to see him putting past his own ‘keeper to set Palace on their way to an excellent away win.
Yan Valery – Ignore the fact that De Gea possibly should have saved this. A fantastic strike from the young right-back and a wonderful way to get your first goal. No doubt Liverpool are already preparing their bid for Southampton’s latest graduate.
Issa Diop – Whilst all the focus will be on Declan Rice for scoring, Diop and his partner Angelo Ogbonna were imperious against Newcastle. Any glimmer of an opening for the Magpies was immediately shut down by brave blocks and strong defending. These two with Rice in front of them is a very strong base from which to build and West Ham have every chance of finishing in the top 8.
Andreas Pereira – What a goal! Man Utd struggled towards three points on Saturday but Pereira’s goal was hit with swerve and venom from about 25 yards. It is a bit like the Man Utd of old where even if they aren’t playing well, somebody steps up when it matters. Pereira has had to be patient in waiting for an opportunity but he is grasping it with both hands at the moment.
James Ward-Prowse – You know the rules by now. Scoring a direct free-kick guarantees you selection in Team of the Weekend. I’m not saying this because it was at Old Trafford but this was Beckham-esque.
Wilfried Zaha – His goal was described by Ian Wright as “twisting blood.” He had the Burnley defence on a string all afternoon and deserved his goal. I feel like we say this about Palace every year but they should really be better than they are.
Jorginho – Everything he does is a pass, so I think it’s only fair we give him credit when it works. His finish was passed into the corner from the edge of the box to give Chelsea the win in a feverish game at Fulham.
Romelu Lukaku – Back-to-back appearances for the big Belgian in our team. If he keeps scoring braces then it’ll not be the last time either. Two excellent finishes got Man Utd out of jail a little bit. If he can perform miracles in Paris then he’ll be forgiven forever.
Raul Jimenez – Wolves’ Mexican forward is having a season to remember. The first goal, scored by Diogo Jota, was put on a plate by Jimenez who would get his own goal shortly afterwards. That first goal though was the result of some beautiful passing and had it been scored by one of the more fancied clubs, we’d not hear the end of it.
Gonzalo Higuain – That’s more like it. Whilst he doesn’t have searing pace, he does have that predatory instinct which has brought him so many goals over his career to date. His near-post dash was enough to get him the half-yard he needed to convert Azpilicueta’s cross and set his side on the way to three points. He looks to have got the pace of the league now and he’ll only improve from here.
Jurgen Klopp – The wind, Jurgen. The wind? Really? Klopp has taken Liverpool to the top of the table but with that 10-point lead now eroded, the manager needs to come again. Instead, he is blaming the elements for Liverpool’s lack of fluidity, which has been evident throughout 2019. It seems obvious that the midfield-trio is not working but how does he put it right? The title is no longer in their own hands and maybe it is time for some home truths rather than excuses.
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next Monday with more shenanigans. Bye for now!