Gameweek 12 brought the long-awaited return of Premier League football after an interesting international break. Gareth Southgate’s England side breezed past a Scotland side that put up little resistance, before blowing a two-goal lead at Wembley against Spain. Revelations regarding Wayne Rooney also surfaced, with Rooney himself hitting out at the English media after he was reported to have been drinking at a wedding at the Grove at 5 o’clock in the morning. Nonetheless, it was back to bread and butter for the Premier League clubs, with Manchester United taking on Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday’s early kick-off.
Here is the FPL Updates gameweek 12 review:
Jordan Pickford – Sunderland have looked a different side in the past two gameweeks, picking up six points in the process. They ran out 3-0 winners against a Hull City side that look fairly doomed to relegation. One contributing factor to their recent success has been England under-21 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who has featured since the back-end of last season. He was even called into the England senior squad over the last fortnight. His performances this season have not gone unnoticed with several big clubs reportedly interested, with Ronald Koeman’s Everton reportedly preparing a hefty bid for the 22 year-old.
Nathan Aké – Bournemouth travelled up to Stoke on Saturday, looking for redemption after an extremely disappointing defeat at home to Sunderland in the previous gameweek. Stoke, being one of the league’s form sides themselves, wouldn’t roll over though. Bournemouth made the better start, with Callum Wilson being denied the most blatant of penalties, when he was hacked down by Ryan Shawcross in the area when through on goal. Nonetheless, he was denied, but Bournemouth would score as Nathan Aké netted his first Premier League goal as he nodded in. Stoke would spurn a superb chance to equalize, after Bojan failed to convert from the spot after being awarded a penalty.
Allan-Roméo Nyom – West Brom faced Burnley on Monday night, looking to build on a superb three points picked up away at Leicester City. They started brilliantly, finding themselves 3-0 up at half-time. They would go on to net a fourth in the second half, sending Burnley back North dejected, and disappointing the small number of fans who made the journey down to the midlands. One player who has impressed in the past few weeks is full-back Allan Nyom, who signed in the summer following a fairly successful first season in English football with Watford. His ability to get up and down the pitch repeatedly makes him a real asset, with him also being able to play on both flanks.
Patrick van Aanholt – A real fan-favourite at Sunderland is none other than Dutch left-back Patrick van Aanholt, whose goal scoring ability and blistering pace make him very-well suited to the fast-paced nature of the Premier League. He assisted once again in Sunderland’s heavy 3-0 win over Hull City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. The Black Cats have looked lethal over the past couple of matches, netting five goals and conceding just the one across the two. In van Aanholt, Sunderland have one of the league’s most skilful full-backs, with superb technical ability combined with strong athleticism making him very dangerous.
Yaya Touré – It’s been a long time since Yaya Touré has featured in one of these reviews, mainly due to his inability to get into the Manchester City side under Pep Guardiola. This comes after the player’s agent made comments regarding Guardiola’s treatment of players, prompting Guardiola to freeze the Ivorian out of his plans until he received an offer from the agent. Touré showed Premier League fans just what they had been missing at the weekend, with two goals to sink Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. The player, who is an African player of the year nominee, has struggled over the past season or two, a massive drop-off in form from the world class player that arrived several years ago from Pep Guardiola’s Barca side.
Matt Phillips – Matt Phillips is beginning to show the form that lead West Brom to chase the Scotland international for two years. Having been at QPR for two-and-a-half years, the powerful winger had shown glimpses of quality. In his last Premier League campaign with the Rs, Phillips’ superb end-of-season run saw QPR mount an attempt at survival, only for this to be unsuccessful. Then, in January of last season, West Brom parted with £5.5 million to bring in the winger. He netted for the second consecutive match at the weekend, while also picking up an assist in a superb display. This could be a good season for Phillips and the Baggies.
Etienne Capoue – The French midfielder once again features in the gameweek review, having netted against champions Leicester City just 33 seconds into the match. Watford scored a second shortly after, with summer signing Roberto Pereyra curling home superbly to double the Hornets lead just ten minutes later. However, Leicester were back in it just two minutes later as Jamie Vardy was tripped in the penalty area, only for Riyad Mahrez to convert the penalty with ease. Despite massive spells of pressure, Leicester were unable to make their late dominance tell, with Watford holding firm to ensure a great three points.
Juan Mata – The Spanish magician was in good form for Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime, as he put the Red Devils in front against Arsenal at Old Trafford, slotting in with just twenty minutes remaining. However, just as José Mourinho looked set to end his side’s poor form, they were pegged back. With just a minute left in normal time, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stood the ball up to the back post, where substitute Olivier Giroud rose highest to slam home a header, sending the Gunners fans into raptures. It’s more disappointment for Manchester United, whose shaky form continues under Mourinho.
Victor Anichebe – Sunderland have looked a different team since they’ve introduced Victor Anichebe into the starting line-up. The Nigerian forward has three in two matches for Sunderland, with his superb hold up play and link-up with Jermain Defoe making him a nightmare for even the best of Premier League defences. Having signed on a free transfer in the summer, the forward is looking to have been an astute piece of business from David Moyes, who had Anichebe at Everton for several years early in his career. Sunderland do look to be on the up, hoping to survive yet another Premier League campaign.
Harry Kane – If you’d have spoken to West Ham fans in the 88th minute of their match at White Hart Lane against Spurs at the weekend, they’d have told you they were heading home happy with a superb three points away at Spurs. However, Spurs hero Harry Kane tapped into an open net before Heung Min-Son was brutally brought down by Nordtveit to give Harry Kane a chance to win it in injury time. Of course, the Spurs man converted with ease to seal a dramatic comeback, and a big three points for Spurs.
Jermain Defoe – A whopping fourth Sunderland player to feature in this review, Jermain Defoe also claims a place in the dream team. The veteran forward scored and assisted another as Sunderland put Hull City to the sword in a 3-0 win that leaves the Tigers in a precarious position at the foot of the table, having taken just ten points from the twelve matches they’ve played so far. Sunderland will need to beat the sides around them if they are to survive yet again. They will need to pick up some early points this season, as a late season run of form may not be able to save them this time around.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)