Hello and welcome to Team of the Weekend. Here, we celebrate the best and worst of the weekend and put them all together in one weird and wonderful team. With some shock results and unbelievable goals, there’s plenty to get stuck into this week.
Jordan Pickford – Well this was a catalogue of errors wasn’t it? Pickford hasn’t been the same since the Origi incident but it was a horror show on Sunday. The old “run out and collide with a defender” cost them the lead and it was downhill from there. To me though, the biggest crime was his tackle on Dele Alli when the offside flag was up. Worthy of a red card even if the play had stopped in my view and next time he won’t be so lucky.
Virgil Van Dijk – What can you say? £70m goes a long way and Van Dijk looks like he is worth every penny. As well as being the calming influence in defence that Klopp has so sorely needed, Van Dijk now scores goals too. Is there anything he can’t do? Liverpool are Christmas number one and a real belief is growing.
Jamaal Lascelles – Newcastle offered practically nothing in an attacking sense on Saturday but can be grateful to Lascelles for the point they came away with. A home game with Fulham should have been an opportunity for 3 points but the home side found themselves hanging on in the closing stages. First, Lascelles was able to block a goal-bound Mitrovic shot after a bit of a scramble. Secondly, the jet-heeled Kamara had left everybody for dead but the skipper was able to put in a challenge in the nick of time to save further embarrassment. Not a great day for Rafa’s men.
Lewis Dunk – Possibly the stupidest red card of the weekend. Dunk was dismissed for two yellow cards, with one small problem – one of the fouls was committed by somebody else. I imagine there’ll be some sort of appeal for mistaken identity. Just so Lewis doesn’t feel left out I’ve included him to prove that everyone knows who he is.
Mesut Ozil – How can you go from not being in the 18 to being captain? I don’t know, but it certainly seemed to work. Ozil was at his creative best at times on Saturday, playing a beautifully disguised pass which led to the opener. That was followed by a surging run the likes of which we haven’t seen from the German in several years. Whether this is a flash in the pan or not, Arsenal need all the help they can get as they strive to keep up with the top four.
Andros Townsend – Well you’ll not see a better goal than this for a long time. I can’t prove that but Match of the Day clocked this hit at 67mph. I drive a 57 reg Fiesta and what this basically means is that I would be better off replacing my engine with Andros Townsend’s left foot. Goals on the volley are always spectacular and the technique was unbelievable. Palace created the story of the weekend by winning at Man City and Roy, as usual, couldn’t believe his eyes.
Nathan Redmond – Nothing says more about Southampton’s plight than Nathan Redmond’s hairline. A goal and an assist were particularly useful in getting Southampton a vital win at Huddersfield and a new manager looks like giving Redmond a new lease of life. He looks to be playing a bit further forward and it’ll be interesting to see if this is a purple patch for the Saints or the start of a recovery.
David Brooks – Bournemouth have gone off the boil in recent weeks, albeit with a tricky fixture list. In that time Brooks’ form has also tailed off but he returned with a bang on Saturday, scoring two very good but very different goals. His first was an arrow of a left-footed drive from the edge of the box and the second a looping header. I admire his honesty in just “shutting his eyes and hoping” for the headed effort. At just 21, Brooks should only get better too and he is an excellent purchase for Bournemouth.
Son Heung-Min – I feel like I write this every week but Son is in absolutely incredible form at the moment. Two goals and two assists against Everton obviously underlines that point. He’s basically in perpetual motion and causes everybody problems and when paired with Harry Kane it’s almost a throwback to the days of the little and large strike partnerships. Spurs have so many great attacking options it was only a matter of time somebody took a hiding when all hit form at the same time.
Jamie Vardy – If you believe everything you read in the newspaper (and I for one do) then Claude Puel was in real trouble on Saturday morning. Puel and Vardy were at odds and the sack loomed. Then, Leicester won at Stamford Bridge. Rinse and repeat for Puel, see you in 10 games when your job is on the line again. For Vardy though, this was a welcome goal after a stop-start season and everyone at Leicester will be hoping this signals a return to form.
Marcus Rashford – Whether you blame the keeper for this or not, the fact remains that Rashford scored a direct free kick and that guarantees his place in our team. Chief inspector Martin Keown seemed to be lost in a trance about whether this deflected or not but that matters not to us. The shackles are off and Man Utd might be relevant again. More on this later.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Eyebrows were raised when the Norwegian was given the caretaker job at Man Utd but this is as good a start as you could wish for. In all honesty, he has inherited an open goal of a job. The players are obviously better than was being shown under Mourinho and capable of so much more than just defending. That much was apparent very early on against Cardiff and they actually got better as the game went on. It’s a good set of fixtures ahead too, so expect pride to be restored and more of this to come. The big question will be who comes next, but that’s for the summer.
That’s all for this week and all that is left is for me to wish you a happy Christmas. I should be back before the year is out, there are many games, so good tidings to you all. Bye for now.