Hello! Welcome to Team of the Weekend. Once again we’ve scoured the weekend’s Premier League action to find the best and worst of the performers. Even with a reduced fixture list there was no shortage of incidents. This is restricted to Premier League games, much to the relief of a certain goalkeeper I imagine.
Tom Heaton – England’s number one? On current form you would have to say he’s England’s best shot-stopper. He doesn’t have the guile with his feet that Jordan Pickford can offer but he has been a main reason why Burnley have pulled themselves away from the bottom 3 at are unbeaten in the league in 2019. He pulled off some wonderful saves once again as Burnley took the points against Tottenham.
Daryl Janmaat – Somebody find Daryl Janmaat, we have a present for him. His “luckiest boy in England” medal needs to be awarded. Don’t be duped by his new short back and sides haircut, he got away with giving away the most blatant of penalties on Friday night. What’s worse is, it made me agree with Neil Warnock. I hate that.
Danny Rose – I’m all for stealing a couple of yards from a throw-in but Danny Rose, take a bow. To take a throw-in on the run and claim about 10 yards in the process is truly impressive. I’m surprised Mike Dean didn’t make a point of it but the odds are he was sniffing his linesman or something at the time. Anyway, it’s a throw-in assist for Rose which is on every fullback’s bucket list.
Tommy Smith – You horrendous man. Newcastle spent a lot of money on Miguel Almiron and Smith made a great attempt at ending his home debut with a terrible tackle. Thankfully, Kevin Friend found it in his heart to give Smith a red card. This was the first red card in a Premier League game against Newcastle for 155 games. That’s, ludicrous.
Luke Shaw – This game was awful. You can try and dress it up as some sort of intense tactical battle but it wasn’t. Liverpool had so little quality in the final third and only some of it was their own making. Luke Shaw was superb against Mo Salah and thoroughly deserved his man of the match award. Now, let’s never speak of this game or what time it kicked off ever again.
Michail Antonio – Bit of a mixed bag this one. On the one hand, his header was from about 14 yards. Those are some strong neck muscles. We need to talk about the celebration though. At least Antonio acknowledged it was cringe-worthy, only to reprise it with Neville and Carragher afterwards. Nobody needs to see that.
Miguel Almiron – Amazing isn’t it? Spend some decent money and you get a player who makes a difference. Newcastle’s win was made all the more routine thanks to the Smith red card but the fact there was a player worth trying to kick made all the difference. His speed and creativity should bode well for his future on Tyneside. He can expect more kicking from Burnley on Tuesday.
Wilfried Zaha – Leicester are a strange old team aren’t they? They huffed and puffed against Crystal Palace but ultimately just played into their hands. Now that Batshuayi is able to take the scoring burden it’s actually given Zaha more chances to score. His first goal was a tidy finish on the volley, though totally unmarked. Scoring twice and not taking a dive earns him a spot in our team this week.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Whilst the Mesut Ozil debate continues, another much-maligned playmaker has started to cement his place in the Arsenal lineup. He played a part in both of Arsenal’s goals on Sunday as they helped themselves to a routine three points against Southampton.
Javier Hernandez – If you’ve ever looked up the translation of Chicharito you’ll know it means little pea. This week though he is Cheaterito as he slyly used a hand to put West Ham level against Fulham. I know he’s a goal poacher and all but I don’t know how he has the nerve to celebrate a goal like this. He must know we’re all going to see it back and see what a naughty little pea he is.
Gerard Deulofeu – Hat-trick! Deulofeu is unplayable on his day but unfortunately, those days are rather rare. However, when you defend as poorly as Cardiff did on Friday it must have felt like Christmas for the Barcelona reject. Three very different but excellent finishes meant he took home the match ball and he still had time to return a favour and set Troy Deeney up for another. Quite the night and who knows, if Barcelona played against Bamba and Equile Manga then he might have been good there too.
Claude Puel – Well done, Claude. Your incompetence has deprived Roy Hodgson of this slot. Roy became the oldest man to take charge of a Premier League game this weekend. Ironically, his opponent has been sacked. Puel has been on a slippery slope for a while as Leicester’s home form, in particular, has been inconsistent. The only surprise really is the timing of the decision. Will Leicester appoint an interim and get a new permanent manager in the summer or do they have somebody lined up now?
That’s all for this week but there are midweek games so I’ll be back on Thursday with that. Have a pleasant week and remember, come off when the manager subs you.