Team of the Weekend

Hello! Welcome along to Team of the Weekend. As ever we’re looking for the best and worst of the weekend gone by and a manager to keep them under control. The Premier League went goal crazy on Saturday so there was plenty to pick through. Let’s get to it.

Goalkeeper

Julian Speroni – This was a less than vintage goalkeeping display. Then again, he is 39 and has been at Palace for nearly 15 years. Maybe we can let him off? Liverpool might look back on him as the reason they win the title, though that would be quite narrow-minded.

Defenders

Fabian Schar – It’s not very often that a centre half scores after a marauding run. There was little danger when Schar received the ball on halfway but a turn of pace and some brute strength soon saw him in the box. Add to that a lovely curling finish on his weaker foot and Newcastle’s day was up and running. For good measure, he groined (it’s a verb) in a second from a corner. Newcastle don’t score many so if the centre halves want to weigh in, that’d be really useful.

Laurent Koscielny – Can anybody explain his hair, first and foremost? No? Maybe it explains why he didn’t head the ball for his goal. Instead, it glanced off his shoulder at an inexplicable angle and took Arsenal to a well-earned win over Chelsea. A big moment for the captain after that big injury lay off, if he maintains this level it’s no wonder Arsenal aren’t trying to sign Gary Cahill any more.

Lucas Digne – We’ve enjoyed the attacking exploits of Digne recently but there are some things in football you have to appreciate. One of those things in the 25-yard own goal. It was, of course, a tackle that a Southampton attacker couldn’t have placed better if they tried but still.

Midfielders

Diogo Jota – Hat-trick! It’s hard to believe it took Jota so long to get his first Premier League goal but since notching late last year he now can’t stop. This hat-trick was well earned in a very entertaining game. To complete the hat-trick in injury time to win the game is a pretty nice way to round things off… except for Leicester of course.

Paul Pogba – The run-up is back! Father of the year 2019 (probably) won and converted his own penalty after offering a shortened version of his ridiculous run-up. The thing is, nobody cares about these things anymore because he’s playing well, the team are winning and everybody on the red side of Manchester is happy. Roy Keane sits silently seething at home.

Mo Salah – Good and bad this week from Salah. He scored two of the worst goals of his career but they might prove to be the most important. The first was described as a clever finish but I’m not having it. We used to call that a spoon when I was a lad. Anyway, the second was from all of 1cm after Julian Speroni remembered he had Liverpool to win the league in his acca. That’s the good bit. The bad bit is he’s our diver of the week. This is becoming a nasty habit and it’s totally unnecessary. It’s only a matter of time before a strong referee catches on and it’s a sideshow Liverpool don’t need right now.

Raheem Sterling – How is that not a penalty? How is a small man scoring a diving header? These are my two questions and I don’t have answers to either.

Forwards

Andy Carroll – Miss of the Day? Week? Month? Season? The big man has had his detractors over the years and with Arnautovic out of the picture, this was his chance to cement his place in the team. Instead, he blazed over from 4 yards. And I mean blazed. Nowhere near. Oh, Andy. Stick to heading.

Callum Wilson – Eyebrows were raised when Bournemouth slapped a £50m price tag on Wilson. So much so that Chelsea opted to loan Gonzalo Higuain instead. Wilson obviously doesn’t care about all of that though. His sweetly struck half volley was a reminder that he may well be worth many millions but he’s all Bournemouth’s. The battle for 7th is well and truly on.

Fernando Llorente – The whole “replacing Harry Kane” thing hasn’t really got off to a good start, has it? The own goal was sort of unfortunate but some of the headed chances he missed were nothing short of poor. I’d say he has to improve or he’ll be out but the reality is Spurs are dropping like flies so he might be safe by default at this rate. Maybe try putting one in the right end next week, ok?

Manager

Maurizio Sarri – Blaming the players always goes well. Sarri-ball has not been well received by the neutrals or indeed the Chelsea players. Jorginho passing the ball square for 90 minutes has limited appeal, who knew? Sarri, of course, does not blame the tactics and instead accused his players of being unmotivated. A couple of bad results in the coming weeks could be interesting, especially if that top 4 spot comes under threat.

That’s all for this week. The FA Cup returns next weekend so there’ll be more on that later in the week. Toodles for now.