Nothing helps break up the working week more than midweek Premier League action. With all the teams in action, I’m here to bring a dash of Monday to your Thursday. As ever, we’re looking for the best and worst of the fixtures so let’s not hang around like Kepa and get to the point.
Willy Caballero – Poor old silly Willy. He’s been caught up in Kepa-gate, which is ironic because Kepa doesn’t catch an awful lot. The substitution that didn’t happen on Sunday was made pre-game on Wednesday night. Willy had nothing to do really, but compared to his opposite number Lloris he looked like Lev Yashin. You would assume that’s the end of the row now. Chelsea needed a result to take the pressure off and that is just what they got.
Fabian Schar – What a hit! The Swiss international has been one of the finds of the season. Newcastle have benefited from his marauding runs out from the back, none more so than on Tuesday night. There looked to be little else on when Schar took aim from 30 yards but it found the top corner with some ferocity. The Magpies are one of the form teams at the moment and are pulling away from the dreaded drop zone.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – A hat-trick of assists! His cross for the first goal was particularly impressive, meaning even Sadio Mane couldn’t misdirect his header. His perfect set-piece delivery for the fourth goal made me think about how badly he was missed against Man Utd. James Milner delivered some truly terrible set pieces that day but Trent showed him how it’s done.
Kieran Trippier – The World Cup feels like a while ago, doesn’t it? Trippier has struggled to hit the heights of his summer form. Sure, he hasn’t been an assist machine but things turned much worse against Chelsea. A breakdown in communication saw Lloris come out for the ball and Trippier pass it straight past him. Magical days. Just what Spurs needed ahead of their derby this weekend.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – A former Swansea player scoring twice against Cardiff. When it’s not going for you, things like this happen. His second goal was a particularly clean finish as Everton looked to have made the most of their several weeks off.
Mesut Ozil – Oh look, Mesut’s playing. Scoring. Assisting. He had Bournemouth on a string at times to further complicate the Ozil/Emery relationship. He’ll probably be captain on Saturday (again).
Oriol Romeu – Romeu doesn’t score very often but he is clearly a sorcerer. How did his shot worm its way through about six Fulham defenders? A well struck shot, yes, but clearly, Fulham’s defensive issues lie in the fact that objects can pass through them with minimal fuss. Southampton climbed out of the bottom three at Cardiff’s expense and I suspect it may stay that way.
Sadio Mane – The header was good but the back heel…wow. The fact it essentially goes over Ben Foster is what I can’t comprehend. No doubt many a thigh will be pulled up and down the country as enthusiastic but poor footballers attempt to replicate it at their local complex. Liverpool needed a statement victory and this definitely ticked that box.
Steve Mounie – HUDDERSFIELD WON A GAME. Mounie eventually got the goal which earns him a spot in the team. Somehow, Huddersfield have taken six points from Wolves, who are otherwise having a great season. Despite this result, I don’t think Nuno will need to worry about this fixture next season.
Alexandre Lacazette – If you score a free kick, you’re in the team. I didn’t know Lacazette had this in him but he’s scoring everything he touches at the moment so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Arsenal were as good as Bournemouth were bad.
Romelu Lukaku – The Belgian had been all but written off but he chose a great time to remind everybody just how good he can be. Two brilliantly taken goals against Crystal Palace underlined his worth. Both goals were very different but showed finesse and his predatory nature to help Man Utd keep up the pressure on the top four.
Brendan Rodgers – Welcome back. He inherits a squad that is effectively “on the turn” and there are some big decisions to be made. It’ll either be the making of him or he’ll have been driven out by Christmas. Rodgers loved possession in his time at Swansea, something Jamie Vardy will hope he has grown out of. Taking the silver medal this week is Claudio Ranieri, who suffered the “you don’t know what you’re doing” chant which saw off Claude Puel last week. Dilly ding, nearly gone.
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back on Monday to review the weekend’s action. Goodbye for now.