My my, our Premier League cups doth overflow. The scheduling geniuses decided the busiest month of the fixture list needed random midweek action and who are we to argue? As ever, I’m here to pick the team of this round of fixtures. Some will be good, some will be bad, some will be darn right hilarious. There’ll be a manager too. In a round of games without a single clean sheet (for the first time in eight years), there must be so much quality to choose from. Right?
Lukasz Fabianski – We’ve had to wait a while but finally a goalkeeper has made this easy for me and saved a penalty. Not the best penalty but it still needed saving and Fabianski was more than up to the task. He’s been very impressive for West Ham having been over-employed at Swansea in recent seasons. He also saved David De Gea’s blushes after his error against Arsenal.
Shane Duffy – Idiot. What more can I say? He’ll have three matches to think about what he’s done.
Marcos Rojo – I forgot he was even at Man Utd, to be honest. After needlessly giving the ball away the Argentine raced back and…put the ball in his own goal. I hope Rojo likes playing in the FA Cup because I fear that’s all he will be reduced to now.
Federico Fernandez – What a block! Fernandez has been quietly brilliant for Newcastle since joining on deadline day from Swansea. Given how poor Swansea were defensively last season I don’t think anybody really expected much but he’s been excellent. His block from point blank range to deny Gylfi Sigurdsson shows just how good he can be.
Leroy Sane – He’s just in the form of his life. Again. All those early season problems have been eradicated and his goal against Watford was calmness personified – a chest beyond Ben Foster who up to that point had saved everything. Pep was able to rest most of his charges ahead of the weekend’s trip to Stamford Bridge and that is a scary prospect indeed.
James Milner – This was a really impressive result for Liverpool given they changed more than half the team. Milner though has become Mr Reliable, whether he is starting or not he brings a measure of calm to a sometimes crazy Liverpool team. His finish from the edge of the box was accurate rather than flashy and that really sums up James Milner.
Morgan Gibbs-White – Wolves haven’t been good recently and it would have been easy for Nuno to just throw in the old pros and let them sort it out. Instead, Gibbs-White has been given his chance and he is taking it with both hands. He picked up an assist with a great ball to Jimenez but was generally impressive throughout. I’d go as far as to say he is the greatest double barrelled name to play for Wolves since Sylvain Ebanks-Blake. High praise indeed.
Heung-Min Son – I included Son a few weeks ago for his performance against Chelsea but he was in excellent form again at Wembley as Spurs made light work of Southampton. After a slow start to the season (for obvious reasons), he’s really found his form now and Tottenham look in great shape once again after the setback last weekend.
Jack Cork – Well done for scoring the worst goal of this round of games. Offside? Probably. In the keeper’s hands? Yep. Does any of that matter? Apparently not. Burnley still couldn’t find the win though and they remain in a lot of trouble. Silver medal in this category goes to Doucoure, his goal was also terrible.
Lucas Perez – Crikey, I forgot Perez was even a thing but here he is scoring two Premier League goals. With Arnautovic departing with a hamstring injury it looks like West Ham will need to use all of their striking options this Christmas and Perez’s return from the unknown couldn’t be better timed.
Callum Wilson – I’ve spent most of this season asking if Wilson will get a chance with England and now that he has I’m like a proud Dad. His form hasn’t dropped off since getting his cap (and goal) and after his goal at Man City on Saturday he followed up with the opener against Huddersfield on Tuesday. Look out, Harry.
Roy Hodgson – Brighton vs Crystal Palace is a rivalry rather than a derby but nevertheless Palace fans will be seething after this result. Sure, they were 1-0 down when Duffy was sent off which should have galvanised Hodgson’s men but instead, they soon found themselves 3-0 down. Against 11 men it’s a disaster but against 10 it’s unforgivable. Playing devil’s advocate, does Hodgson have a job for life or is he in a spot of trouble as his side continue to struggle in the lower echelons of the table?
That’s all for this special midweek edition but I’ll be back on Monday to review the more conventional fixture list. Toodles!