Team of the Weekend

Greetings and welcome to our Premier League Team of the Weekend. As always, we have looked back over the weekend’s action and find the best, worst and damn right weird from the games gone by. Who made the cut? Let’s find out.

Goalkeeper

Joe Hart – What a busy Joseph. Wolves absolutely battered the Burnley goal on Sunday lunchtime and it would have been a cricket score had it not been for former England keeper, Hart. He’s had plenty of stick, and rightly so, but his performance on Sunday showed he is still very adept at keeping shots out – and let’s face it, he won’t be required to pass out from the back much at Turf Moor.

Defenders

Sal Bamba – Just seeing Sal Bamba in the Premier League is a mystery, but seeing him score at Stamford Bridge is just a bit weird. Then he gave away a pen with a needless tackle and the world is right again. He is to Premier League defending what Neil Warnock is to Premier League management.

Chris Smalling – I don’t want to talk about Smalling karate kicking his goal in. I want to talk about his ridiculous hair. Well done for bringing Coolio back into our lives. On the one hand it stops people talking about his woeful defending (though there was nothing too shambolic on Saturday) but given that all eyes have been on that defence this season, surely you’d want to make yourself less noticeable? Maybe that’s just me. I’m not a natural showman like Chris Smalling.

Matt Doherty – It is very much the year of the wing-back and Wolves have a pair of them who spend most of their time in the opposition’s final third. Doherty provided the assist for Raul Jimenez but was a constant threat down the right hand side and was deservedly given man of the match in Wolves’ 1-0 win.

Midfielders

Gini Wijnaldum – His. First. Away. Premier. League. Goal. It took him over 3 seasons but finally Wijnaldum netted away from home. It barely reached the goal, but that doesn’t matter. Little steps. Liverpool could have had half a dozen on Saturday though, they continue to impress.

Leroy Sane – It’s amazing how things can turn around isn’t it? Sane was getting pelters about firstly his fitness, then his performances as a sub until finally he was dropped all together. But then, the arrival of his first child seems to have yielded an understanding in Pep, so with Sane restored to the lineup he scored within a matter of minutes. Happy Leroy. Happy Pep.

Ryan Fraser – I find Fraser is very underrated so any opportunity to shout about his achievements, I’m going to take it. He took his goal very well and then provided 2 assists to send Bournemouth on their way to a handsome 4-2 win over a very poor Leicester side. If nothing else, Scotland have a very good left hand side in Robertson and Fraser.

Grant Xhaka – I’ve given Granit Xhaka so much stick writing this column I guess it was kind of inevitable he would ping a free kick in the top corner at St James’ on Saturday. It was down at my end of the ground too annoyingly, a beautiful free kick. That automatically secures his spot in the team and I’ll begrudgingly say well done. But next time you do something stupid Granit, I will be all over it.

Andriy Yarmolenko – West Ham finally got their act together against a below-par Everton and it was largely thanks to two first half goals from this man. The Ukranian has struggled to make an impact, like so many of his colleagues, since joining the Hammers but he was in ruthless form here, his second goal a particular highlight as he cut in onto his left foot and curled a shot wonderfully beyond Pickford. The question now of course will be if he can back it up but there were some green shoots of recovery for Pellegrini’s men.

Forwards

Eden Hazard – Hat-trick! Chelsea’s Belgian superstar is in the form of his life right now and his three goals against Cardiff sent his team top of the league. The first goal was the only one worth talking about, though you have to say Giroud’s presence will probably double Hazard’s goal tally for the season. A deflected effort and a penalty rounded off Hazard’s day – there’s plenty more to come.

Wilfried Zaha – Yet again a wonderful solo goal saw Zaha secure Palace the points. But the main talking point was Zaha’s outburst about having the shit kicked out of him every week. Apparently, referees not sending off players for fouling Zaha causes him to lose his head and return fire. Look out for Zaha winning a penalty thanks to a dive next weekend.

Manager

Eddie Howe – It’s been a while since we all gushed over Eddie Howe but Bournemouth have become a pretty adept attacking team to the point where you almost always expect them to do well at home. After dishing out a good thrashing of Leicester, we’ll forgive them their last few minutes of sloppiness that made a thrashing a decent win, but it’s all rosey in the Bournemouth garden right now.

That’s all for this week, but I’ll be back next week with more of the same. Toodles!