Welcome! The Premier League almost took a back seat this Easter weekend as the soaring temperatures became the main topic of discussion. Could anybody shine brighter than the sun and make it into team of the weekend? As ever we’re looking for zeroes as well as heroes so without further introductions, let’s get into it.
Mat Ryan – Brighton have had a rough time recently. Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wolves means they have now not scored in six games. They did, however, pick up a vital point and that was largely down to goalkeeper Mat Ryan. It annoys me that he only uses one T in Mat but I’ll overlook that and congratulate him for not conceding against Wolves this season despite facing 47 shots.
Josh Simpson – That was the most blatant penalty ever conceded. A wild swipe missed the ball and connected only with Aleksandar Mitrovic. Defending seems to be optional for Bournemouth players at the best of times. It’s good to see they are bringing through youth players who keep to these core values.
Lucas Digne – I could have picked any of Everton’s team from Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing of Man Utd. An exceptional performance from everyone in blue but I’ve opted for Digne thanks to his great goal. I think I’ve joked before that Everton have managed to find the perfect replacement for Leighton Baines. His left foot can best be described as ‘cultured’ and his finish showed great technique.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka – I was outraged that Wan-Bissaka didn’t make the shortlist for PFA young player of the year. It annoys me even more than Sterling and Bernardo Silva are on both lists, but that’s a rant for another day. Anyway, by way of a consolation prize I’ve include Wan-Bissaka in my team for this weekend. He’s had a great season and will be attracting a lot of interest, I’ve no doubt.
Shkodran Mustafi – To say Mustafi is a bit erratic is an understatement. He has performed at the highest level so we know he is capable. However, moments of foolishness such as his defending for Zaha’s goal on Sunday mean he will always be under the microscope. Arsenal spoil a good result in Naples with a disaster in front of their own fans.
Phil Foden – Not a bad time to get your first league goal for your club. Man City have had a testing week without actually losing a match. Tottenham are one of the few teams to go toe to toe with City and it nearly worked. Foden’s early goal, a diving header of all things, proved to be the difference. The “Stockport Iniesta” looks the real deal and we may be seeing him celebrate for 15 years to come.
Gerard Deulofeu – A return to fitness and a return to goals. The mercurial Deulofeu hadn’t been seen since he rescued Watford’s FA Cup hopes. He had Huddersfield on a string on Saturday though and his two goals earned Watford the points. That gave them a march on their faltering rivals into seventh place and we might yet see the Hornets on a European tour.
Michail Antonio – Did you notice West Ham now have claret around their pitch? Antonio did. I swear Antonio has scored this same headed goal a dozen times. West Ham and Leicester managed to cancel each other out in the race for seventh. A compromise that satisfies nobody.
Gini Wijnaldum – When Wijnaldum is scoring away from home, you know it must be your day. Didn’t he take it well though? A corner routine that had obviously been worked on resulted in the Dutchman being free on the front post to smash home a vital goal.
Ayoze Perez – Hat-trick! Rumour has it that Perez was so upset at being overlooked for last week’s team he took it upon himself to make himself an automatic selection. His first goal was particularly well taken. A slaloming run and a shot through the defender’s legs added to the desire for the second and instinct for the third. The Spaniard has gone up a level since the arrival of Almiron as the creative burden is now shared. With Newcastle safe, planning for next season can begin…
Christian Benteke – Benteke netted his first goal for a year in Palace’s win over Arsenal. he has been injured for much of that time but it’s nice to see him back amongst the goals. He has been preferred to Batshuayi in recent weeks and he has justified his manager’s decision with the opening goal. The question is, will he ever get back to the form he showed at Aston Villa?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – It is not very often Manchester United lose 4-0 in the Premier League. To lose to a team like Everton by this margin, who played very well but are not among the title contenders, must set alarm bells ringing. Solskjaer was given a huge pat on the back for the job he has done since December but all of that good work is in danger of evaporating. Mourinho was sacked for not getting a tune out of this squad and obviously, the players will be the ones to go this time. Other than playing for the club previously though, there is no evidence Solskjaer will be able to take the club to where they want to be. A huge few weeks ahead as the offer of Champions League football will be a big factor in the next chapter for the club.
That’s all for this Easter weekend. I’ll be back next week to see if we are any closer to finding a champion. Goodbye for now!