Gameweek 13 would bring a thrilling weekend of Premier League action with no shortage of goals and late drama, particularly at the bottom of the table. Saturday would play host to six matches, including Manchester City’s visit to Burnley, Swansea play host to Crystal Palace and Spurs making the short journey to the in-form Chelsea. On Sunday, we would be treated to four more matches, starting with Stoke’s visit to Watford. Then Arsenal would host Bournemouth, followed by Southampton’s match against Everton. In the meantime, West Ham would travel to face a struggling Manchester United side in desperate need of three points after a good win against Feyenoord in midweek.
Without further ado, here is the FPL Updates gameweek 13 review.
Lee Grant – Sunday’s midday kick-off saw struggling Stoke City travel to face a Watford side that had made a decent start to the season under the management of Walter Mazzarri. However, the form book was turned upside down as Stoke turned in a resilient performance to head back North with all three points, picking up a crucial 1-0 win at Vicarage Road. It was Charlie Adam who would capitalize on poor marking to score what would turn out to be the winner. However, it wasn’t without controversy, with Adam admitting to a push on his marker in a post-match interview. It would also go down as a Heurelho Gomes own goal, as the ball rebounded onto the keeper off the post, with the Brazilian unable to react quick enough to keep it out at close range. Despite late Watford pressure, Stoke held firm as the Hornets began to throw on forwards. It’s a vital three points for the Potteries, with this being their first victory not against a member of the bottom three.
Gareth McAuley – No stranger to finding the net, few will be surprised to hear that Gareth McAuley yet again found himself on the score sheet as West Brom and Hull City grinded out a 1-1 draw at the KCOM Stadium. In a game of relatively few chances, the result would be decided by a couple of set pieces. Matt Phillips continued his good form of late, as he whipped in a teasing corner, only for McAuley to head in unmarked. West Brom had been in decent form recently, but were unable to take all three points against a Hull City side that know that if they’re to stay up they must make their home a fortress. West Brom will be disappointed not to have been able to build on their impressive trouncing of Burnley last Monday night, but there were good moments for the Baggies, nonetheless.
Michael Dawson – The former Spurs centre-half has now scored two in his last three league matches, a tally which took him 208 games to chalk up most recently. Hull are beginning to show a resilience at home which they know they’ll need if they are to mount a serious charge for survival. There is quality in the side, however. One needn’t look further than winger Robert Snodgrass, who has been the Tigers’ stand out man this campaign. It was from a good delivery from the Scot that Dawson was able to turn home late on, via Dieumerci Mbokani, of course. Having beaten Southampton in their last home match, we are beginning to see that there are points to be won at the KCOM for Hull.
Bruno Martins Indi – It has taken time for the Dutch defender to adapt to the English game, having signed for the Potteries on loan from FC Porto in summer after his nation failed to qualify for the most recent European Championships. However, his improvement has coincided massively with that of the side as a whole, with Stoke’s recent form picking up immensely following an abysmal start to the season. When his side took on Watford on Sunday, he would have his work cut out, playing against first Troy Deeney, who alone cuts a scary figure for opposition centre-backs. Later on, Watford would introduce not only Odion Ighalo, but Italian forward Stefano Okaka Chuka, signed in summer from Anderlecht. Stoke’s defence held firm as ball after ball was thrown into the box late on, including a superb defensive header from Martins Indi to prevent the ball finding Troy Deeney at the back post in injury time. It’s an impressive display from Stoke, who fared well even in the absence of Joe Allen.
Leroy Fer – Swansea and Crystal Palace played out a nine-goal thriller at the Liberty on Saturday afternoon, in which a flurry of late goals would leave Alan Pardew’s side lamenting their defending from set pieces, not for the first time this season. Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer would be one of the stand out men as Bob Bradley grabbed his first win as Swansea boss, netting twice in two second half minutes to turn the tide in the Swans’ favour. First the former QPR and Norwich man reacted quickest when Yohan Cabaye cleared off the line, squeezing the ball in at the far post. Then, he would net again when Jordi Amat’s header fell kindly for Fer at the back post, where he would fire in. It seemed that Swansea would cruise home after this, but there was a lot more to come.
Alexis Sanchez – No stranger to this review, Alexis Sanchez turned in yet another superb performance as Arsenal negotiated their way past a potential banana skin fixture as they saw off a strong performance from Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon. Sanchez opened the scoring when he latched onto a loose back pass from Steve Cook, before squaring up to the stand-in Adam Federici and slotting past the Australian. However, the Gunners wouldn’t have it all their own way as Bournemouth equalised when Callum Wilson was brought down, only to get up and convert from the spot. Theo Walcott restored the Arsenal lead with a tidy header from a Monreal cross, before Sanchez finished the contest, tapping in after some good work from Olivier Giroud down the right flank. Bournemouth were left with a bitter taste in their mouth, however, as Nacho Monreal appeared to handle in the area with the score at 2-1, but ultimately Arsenal would run out deserved winners.
Wilfried Zaha – Another stand out man in the story of the Liberty was Palace’s electric wide man Wilfried Zaha, who would open the scoring on the day. When the Ivorian squared up his full-back, Neil Taylor, on 19 minutes, he would twist and turn before unleashing a fierce drive past Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea net. He would have another say in this epic, as he cut inside to cross on 82 minutes. Having whipped in a teasing cross, Jack Cork was unfortunate enough to divert the ball goal-ward in bizarre fashion to level the match up at 3-3 with just 8 minutes remaining.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Arguably Swansea’s star player, Gylfi Sigurdsson is never one to shy away from the big moments, and he certainly had his part to play as his side stole a late win against Crystal Palace. Sigurdsson’s first contribution would be to level the game up at 1-1 just 36 minutes in. Having won a free-kick 20 yards from goal, there was only one man who would step forward to hit it, and how he hit it. The Icelander curled the ball past the wall and into the corner on the keeper’s side to the delight of the Swans faithful. His next notable moment would come late on, when the ball would fall loose at the edge of the penalty area with his side 4-3 down in the closing stages. His sweet strike would be turned in to take what his side would have seen as a good point under the circumstances.
Fernando Llorente – With an hour gone in the contest at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea found themselves lacking a cutting edge up front, with Gylfi Sigurdsson doing his best to operate as a false 9. After 65 minutes, Bob Bradley would turn to the Spaniard Llorente, as he looked to take all three points. Scoring two goals immediately afterwards meant the Swans seemed to have sealed the points until three late Palace goals saw Bradley’s side 4-3 down as they entered second half injury time. Step forward Llorente, who first diverted in Gylfi Sigurdsson’s effort on 91 minutes, before he would have a chance to snatch the most unlikely of wins deep into stoppage time. As the ball broke loose in the penalty area, Llorente was on hand to slide the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper to send the Liberty into raptures. It could be a real turning point for Bradley’s side, who had found themselves somewhat adrift of safety in 19th place.
Alvaro Negredo – Former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo had struggled this campaign, having returned to England with newly-promoted Middlesbrough. The Spaniard had failed to find the net since he did so on his debut in August against Stoke City. However, as ‘Boro travelled to struggling champions Leicester City, they knew there were points up for grabs. Negredo stunned the Foxes, as he met a drilled pass from Gaston Ramirez on the edge of the penalty area, from which he managed to dig the ball out from under his feet, finding the top corner in the process. After Riyad Mahrez equalised, the game seemed to be swinging in Leicester’s favour. Negredo wasn’t finished though, as he powered through onto Adam Foreshaw’s ball through, only to volley home superbly with the angle against him. Ultimately, it wasn’t to be for Aitor Karanka’s ‘Boro side, as Islam Slimani would convert a penalty late in added time to leave the ‘Boro management devastated.
Sergio Aguero – After a difficult spell for both City and Aguero, Guardiola’s side seem to be getting back to winning ways, with a 2-1 victory at Turf Moor against Burnley meaning a second consecutive Premier League win. Things looked bad for City to begin with, after veteran ‘keeper Paul Robinson’s long kick was headed down by Nicolas Otamendi, only for Dean Marney to return the ball with interest, as he fired a volley past Claudio Bravo from 25 yards, to the delight of the Clarets’ fans. However, two opportunistic finishes from Argentine Aguero would condemn Burnley to a spirited defeat. First, Aguero reacted fastest as a set piece bobbled in the area, to prod in at the back post. His second would come when a mix-up in the Burnley defence presented Fernandinho with a chance to square the ball to Aguero, who got in front of his marker to tap into the empty net. It wasn’t to be for Burnley, who had several chances late on as they pumped the ball into the City area, but ultimately City will see this as a crucial win.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)