Hello and happy bank holiday to you. Team of the Weekend is here again as the Premier League starts to feel familiar again. With Saturday a bit of a blood bath, could we find any positives? There were certainly some negatives, even with Mourinho not in action. Let’s try and break it down.
Alisson Becker – Mark my words, at some point this season Alisson will get caught on the ball and it’ll cost a goal. Until then though all we can do is marvel at the man’s confidence, dinking the ball over a Brighton tackle before trying to dummy Glenn Murray unsuccessfully. It’s usually exciting at Anfield but when this was the highlight it suggests Brighton played quite well.
Willy Boly – Wolves were excellent against Man City on Saturday lunchtime and dare I say it, they have perhaps set the tone for the way to play against Pep’s style of football. Their goal came from Willy Boly, a man with a silly name, but more silly was the fact that this goal stood. It’s a clear handball. It’s even possibly offside if there’s a flick on. But how the officials missed the handball, I have no idea. Still, a goal’s a goal.
Adam Smith – Quite the afternoon for Adam Smith. First he has Richarlison’s head gently pressed against his, then he gets sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. Is it ever an obvious goal scoring opportunity when Theo Walcott has the ball? Ignore the fact he already had one goal by this point.
Ryan Bertrand – Such a mighty wallop. It’s impossible not to include Bertand after his sweetly hit left foot shot rocketed into the roof of the net against Leicester. Southampton though…Mark Hughes seems to think everything is okay which we’ll come on to later, but I really don’t think it will be.
Jose Holebas – Great goal but did he mean it? As he cut onto his weaker right foot I’m calling this a cross rather than a rasping right foot drive. Only Jose will know though. Watford won’t care, they are absolutely flying at the moment.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – In Black & White last week I wrote that the Premier League should bring in a ban for diving. Well, Pierre Hojbjerg obviously agrees as he made the stupid decision to take a dive whilst on a yellow card. I can only assume he hates the EFL Cup and really fancies a midweek off. I’m not sure what was more pathetic, the dive or Mark Hughes’ pathetic attempt to excuse it.
Harry Arter – I think I hate Harry Arter. He’s always been a nuisance, getting in the refs ear, little niggly fouls, that sort of thing. But now he’s playing for a team managed by the king of the shithouses he seems to have turned it up a notch. Fresh from last week‘s “kick him in the knee” against Newcastle, this week he managed to get into a fight with Jonathan Hogg. Arter took a yellow card, Hogg took an early bath. Everything’s come up Arter. His comeuppance is coming. I’ll be watching Harry. Poised. Ready to laugh.
James Milner – Liverpool bumbled their way to a 1-0 win over Brighton and Milner’s inclusion in this team really sums it up. Very scrappy, lots of effort, not the greatest quality. What I do find incredible is the stat that came to my attention after Milner converted a penalty against Palace on Monday night – he’s never lost a Premier League game when he has scored. Considering he has played for Newcastle and Aston Villa, that’s remarkable.
Jean Michael Seri – One of Fulham’s many signings began the process of paying back his fee with one of the goals of the weekend. People in the know seem to suggest Seri will turn out to be one of the signings of the season and with a goal like this it is hard to disagree.
Marko Arnautovic – Arnautovic is single handedly carrying West Ham at times, even giving them the lead at the Emirates on Saturday before coming off injured. If that happens to be something that rules him out for any great period of time there’ll be serious problems for Pellegrini to deal with, but my one takeaway from his goal on Saturday was: how strong are his calf muscles?! Minimal backlift yet it thundered into the bottom corner. Maybe I should get out more.
Aleksandar Mitrovic – When Mitrovic isn’t picking fights with anything that moves, he is a very useful striker. Two goals and an assist during Fulham’s 4-2 win over Burnley went some way to underlining his credentials, leaving me sweating over a comment where I claimed he wouldn’t get more than 12 goals this season. That’s 3 and it’s not even September yet. Mitro’s on fire!
Javi Gracia – Okay okay, I was wrong. I underestimated Javi Gracia. Watford have won 3 out of 3 and have generally played very well in the process. Well done Javi, I still don’t know who you are.
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next week to do it all again. Bye for now!