We’re back in action with Team of the Weekend, our weekly roundup where we pick out the best and worst of the weekend’s protagonists. They will, of course, need a manager to keep them in check and they’re lined up in a 3-4-3 because that’s modern football for you. Who made the cut?
Lukasz Fabianski – The rules remain; you save a pen you’re in the team. Fabianski was a very busy boy on Sunday as his Swansea colleagues decided to not bother trying to stop a rampant Man City team, so much so Bernardo Silva was able to tap in the rebound unopposed. If it wasn’t for Fabianski it could have been 10. Jack Butland was a close second but he didn’t save a pen, so tough.
Jonny Evans – BOOOOO! It’s been quite the fall from grace for Jonny Evans, going from being West Brom’s biggest asset to being booed onto the field by his own fans. Presumably, the West Brom faithful hold Evans responsible for such events as taxi gate and not-giving-a-fuck-itis which has certainly swept the Hawthorns this season. I dread to think what they’d do to Gareth Barry, but he’s still down the pub.
Nacho Monreal – The Nacho man was at it again on Sunday, he’s certainly found his goalscoring form this season as he steered a volley home from a corner. Monreal is probably vulnerable to any new manager but he’s rarely let Arsene Wenger down and he certainly got them started on Sunday.
Benjamin Mendy – It was just great to see the likable Mendy back on the pitch after a long layoff. Delph has done quite well as a makeshift left back but I am curious to see how what difference an out and out left back would have made to Man City. I guess we will find out next season now he’s fit again. Welcome back.
Mo Salah – Yet another goal for Salah but his inclusion is for winning PFA player of the year. An accolade he certainly deserves even if Harry Kane will try and claim every goal between now and the end of the season to deny him the Golden Boot. Roma await.
Wilfried Zaha – A strange Saturday for Zaha, though in many ways quite familiar. Getting booked for diving, arguably being denied a legitimate penalty and avoiding a red card. Oh, and trying to fight Adrian Mariappa. See you again next weekend for more of the same.
Ander Herrera – It’s been a bit of a comeback for Herrera, after seemingly falling out of favour he’s played a few key games recently. Popping up with the winner in the FA Cup semi-final will obviously help, but his all-round performance was good and he seems to allow Pogba off the leash a bit. Still an annoying little man though.
Kevin De Bruyne – What a goal! It may also be the only time I ever agree with Jamie Redknapp, but he rightly pointed out that goals are really scored like that anymore. It’s all knuckleball this or outside of the boot that. A good old fashioned Steven Gerrard raker. Still only second in PFA player of the year which shows just how strong the league has been this year.
Ashley Barnes – Two goals in 4 days for Barnes, who has been a key figure in Burnley all but securing Europa League football next season. Good grief. His goal on Thursday was outstanding, diverting a shot from a teammate completely by chance into the opposite corner of the goal. When it’s going for you…Anyway, Burnley’s point at Stoke probably condemned the Potters to Championship football next season but I suppose you never know.
Olivier Giroud – Olivier Giroud loves two things in life. Scoring against Southampton is one, winning the FA Cup is the other. Therefore combining the two was only ever going to end one way, though quite how a man of Giroud’s build was able to waltz around flailing defenders I don’t know. Credit where it’s due though, it’s yet another FA Cup final for Giroud.
Shane Long – Southampton were hanging tough against Chelsea but only trailing by that singular Giroud goal. A rare piece of good play saw Charlie Austin throw in a dummy and Shane Long was through on goal. Long steadied himself, showed composure to sit Caballero down and then boot the ball 20 yards too far. I think he’d want that one back you know.
Arsene Wenger – It could only be Arsene. His 22 year stay at Arsenal is going to come to an end and we may never see a manager stay as long or even half as long in a job as Wenger has. Will it be a case of the grass not always being greener? I think it is the right time for a change, Arsenal are nowhere near the top 4 and regardless of whether they win the Europa League, they are clearly regressing. It’s going to be an interesting summer.
That’s all for this week but I’ll be back next Monday with more.