Hello! Seasonal greetings to you all. An unusual “bonus” for you as I’m here to review the best and worst of the Boxing Day action. With nine Premier League matches to look at, there was no shortage of incidents to discuss. So let’s great straight into it.
David De Gea – For all the talk about Man Utd‘s renewed attacking vigour, it is worth remembering that at 1-0, De Gea pulled off an outstanding save. He’s been so important to United in recent seasons playing behind a mix of woeful centre-halves and if the team are going to attack, the chances are he will be busier too. What a save this was though and it laid the foundation for the Pogba show, which we’ll come on to.
Lucas Digne – Boxing Day or not, the usual rules apply. If you score a direct free kick, you’re in. As it turns out, Digne also powered in a second goal from well outside the area to round off a rather successful day for the creative full-back. When Everton realised they need a replacement for Bainesly Harriott (serving up the goals) they have seemingly found the French equivalent – no, not Michelle Roux junior. But Digne has all the qualities Baines brought to the team for so many years.
Kyle Walker-Peters – After the rise of Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker is struggling to claim he is the best English right-back at the moment. Now that Kyle Walker-Peters has registered a hat-trick of assists it is very possible that Kyle Walker can’t even claim to be the best Kyle Walker now. I look forward to his unnecessarily early promotion to the England squad in 2019.
Dejan Lovren – You know things are going for you when Lovren is scoring screamers. First up, yes, it’s an extraordinarily poor header from Lascelles but take nothing away from the finish. The crispest half volley since Gary Lineker was playing. Liverpool have had a rather fine Christmas so far.
Ricardo Perreira – Fullbacks had a whale of a time on Boxing Day. Leicester gave as good as they got against Man City for large periods in the game so you couldn’t be totally surprised when they went ahead. What may have been a shock was that Ricardo Perreira thundered the ball beyond Ederson but my, what a hit. He’s a classy player and will be the toast of Liverpool after this goal.
Paul Pogba – Well, look who has started playing again. With that nasty Jose gone away and lovely Ole here to tell Paul what a good boy he is he’s now scored two and assisted two. Boxing Day was the day of goals for Pogba and a stubborn Huddersfield were eventually brushed aside. His second goal was particularly impressive and if this is the real Paul Pogba, it’s going to be an interesting end to the season for Manchester United who may yet launch an assault on the top five.
Ryan Sessegnon – Impact! After coming off the bench in the second half, Fulham got a lot better as he proved to be a catalyst for change. He took his goal well even if it only just crossed the line but Claudio Ranieri will be disappointed his side only took a point. Sessegnon is only 18 so Boxing Day drinking (should) be a relatively new thing to him but he’ll soon get used to it if Fulham spend future years in the bottom three.
Fabian Delph – Is it just me or does Delph throw in one of these ludicrous tackles at least once a match? I’m all for players going in hard but this seemed tinged with frustration. Despite playing the ball, the follow through is dangerous and it’s a certain red. With Mendy out that gives Pep a headache he doesn’t really need right now. That Liverpool game in the new year is going to be crucial. Bring it on.
Roberto Pereyra – I couldn’t even say Pereyra had a particularly good game but when anybody pulls off the “corner to the edge of the box” routine, I’m sold. He’s usually the spark for Watford and this goal could have led to greater things…but it didn’t.
Eden Hazard – The reason it didn’t lead to greater things is entirely down to this man. Hazard carried Chelsea to three points with a vintage display and giving Ben Foster a torrid time in the process. After rounding him for the first goal, Hazard tempted the former England goalkeeper from his line where he completely wiped out the Belgian. Two goals, the first being his 100th for Chelsea, leading the Blues to a vital three points to keep them fourth.
Jurgen Locadia – I’ve been very critical of Locadia in the past as he has made next to no impact on Brighton since joining last January. Credit where it’s due though, he took his goal against Arsenal extremely well, dancing round Leno and slotting in Brighton’s equaliser. With Glenn Murray seemingly indestructible and Andone doing well recently it seemed Locadia was down the pecking order but perhaps this is the start of better times for him.
Mauricio Pochettino – 6-2 on Sunday, 5-0 on Wednesday…Tottenham have never been in better form than they are right now. Man City’s recent demise means that Spurs are now Liverpool’s closest challengers and they are very worthy of that position. Pochettino has instilled a brand of attacking play that means any one of about six outfield players could be on the end of their several sweeping moves. Nothing sums this up more than Walker-Peters playing with such confidence and freedom having been a bit-part player so far this season. All of this has come on the back of speculation about his future with Man Utd lurking but frankly why would you leave Tottenham at the moment?
That’s all from me today but I’ll be back on Monday to review the weekend action as usual. Bye for now.