Gameweek 24 would see a spectacular week of Premier League action, with no fewer than 34 goals being scored across the weekend’s 10 matches. It was a week for underdogs as Hull faced Liverpool at the KCOM Stadium, Swansea travelled to Manchester City and crosstown rivals United faced Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Then there was the long journey for Middlesbrough fans as they made the trip down to London to face Spurs at White Hart Lane. There was also the mouth-watering prospect of Arsenal facing Antonio Conte’s title favourites Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates Gameweek 24 Review…
Mannone – Sunderland travelled to Crystal Palace for a vital relegation six-pointer, which would see Palace boss Sam Allardyce face his former club, whom he guided to safety in superb style prior to his short stint as England boss over summer. Palace were in desperate need of a win to ease their relegation fears, while Sunderland were looking to secure survival a bit earlier than they usually do, this season. What was to follow stunned fans across the country, and none more so than the Palace faithful, who viciously booed their side as they left the field at the end of the match. With the talent in the Palace squad, few would expect to see them applying their trade in the Championship next season. However, after a 4-0 home loss they may just be getting that sinking feeling…
Lamine Koné – In one of the season’s greatest capitulations, Crystal Palace found themselves 4-0 down at half-time when they faced fellow relegation-rivals Sunderland at Selhurst Park. They found themselves a goal down after just ten minutes, when Lamine Koné saw the ball land at his feet with him on his back. He managed to volley home sweetly in stupendous fashion past several Palace defenders and Wayne Hennessey in the Palace net. The Palace fans were beginning to feel like they’d seen it all before, as they looked on course to continue their horrific form to continue. However, just as they seemed set to hold out until half time, Didier Ndong drove at the Palace backline, before curling past Hennessey sweetly into the bottom right corner off the upright. Palace were left cursing again, but Sunderland were nowhere near finished…
Andrea Ranocchia – Marco Silva’s Hull City side continued their magical form as they ran out 2-0 winners over a dejected Liverpool side at the KCOM on Saturday afternoon. They had several new signings on show after they were the busiest Premier League club in the January window, and they were in fine form as former Sunderland midfielder Alfred N’Diaye gave the Tigers the lead after fellow recruit Andrea Ranocchia’s header down. The Ivorian midfielder pounced after a mistake from Simon Mignolet, as the Reds goalkeeping woes continue. Then it was Oumar Niasse’s turn, as he made the points safe, after Ranocchia’s through ball saw the on-loan Everton man run through and finish calmly, in turn sealing a priceless victory for his side. It means another poor result for Klopp’s Liverpool, though, as their chances of a top four finish take yet another hit.
Antonio Valencia – Manchester United travelled to the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon to face struggling Champions Leicester City, however, it may be Champion-ship next season if they continue in this fashion. They seem set to have the worst ever title-follow-up season after they crashed 3-0 at home to José Mourinho’s Red Devils. They now hover precariously, just one single point above the dreaded drop-zone. In a particularly hard-hitting interview, Kasper Schmeichel admitted that if they keep on like this “we will be relegated…” They face a journey to the Liberty Stadium next week to face a Swansea side knowing that they will most likely need a win if they are to avoid sliding into the relegation zone. They were on the wrong end of a dreadful ten minute spell that saw them capitulate at the hands on United.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has really come into his own in recent weeks, and was in fine form as his side made light work of relegation candidates Leicester City at the King Power on Sunday. He would open the scoring as half-time approached when he raced onto a Smalling flick-on to slot past the onrushing Kasper Schmeichel. They would find themselves two down just two minutes later, when the Antonio Valencia’s pull-back found Zlatan Ibrahimović, who slid home past the Dane in goal. They would see the game killed off just into the second half, when Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata played a neat one-two for Mata to slide in despite looking offside. Replays showed that Foxes skipper Wes Morgan had played the Spaniard onside. It’s a bitterly disappointing result for the Foxes, who were making a good go of the match prior to a poor ten-minute spell. Mourinho’s men march on.
Pedro Obiang – West Ham travelled to St. Mary’s to face a Southampton side who may well be focusing on a forthcoming Capital One Cup final. However, West Ham made light work of the Saints, running out 3-1 winners on Saturday afternoon. Southampton signed Italian forward Manolo Gabbiadini for £17 million on deadline day, and he made an instant impact, as he slammed in off the crossbar to give the Saints the lead. However, the Hammers hit back with Andy Carroll levelling as he slid the ball past Fraser Forster into the bottom corner. They would complete the turnaround as Pedro Obiang then drilled into the bottom left corner from range after a corner was cleared. The points were made safe when Mark Noble’s free kick found its way through into the net, courtesy of a large touch from Steven Davis. It’s been a superb turnaround for the Hammers, whom many tipped to struggle after a tough start to the campaign.
Josh King – There was a thriller at Goodison Park on Saturday, as we saw nine goals between Everton and Bournemouth. In what seemed to be headed towards a comfortable win for the Toffees, Bournemouth clawed their way back to 3-2, before a late floury from Everton meant that they would run out 6-3 winners on the day. Despite finding himself on the losing side, Josh King proved to be one of the bright sparks as he netted twice. His first came when, at 3-0 down, he was able to latch onto a lovely lofted pass from Jack Wilshere to nick past the onrushing Joel Robles in the Everton net. He would add to his and his side’s tally when he toed home from mere yards out from Ryan Fraser’s cross across the six-yard box. Despite a superb display from Norway international, King, it wasn’t enough for his side to take something from the match.
Ross Barkley – One of the standout performers at Goodison on Saturday was Everton youth academy product Ross Barkley. He scored one as well as setting up another to ensure a brilliant win for his side, and was heavily involved in the six goals they put past Bournemouth. First, the Everton man backheeled the ball through for Romelu Lukaku to net Everton’s fifth, before rounding off the scoring himself to compound a miserable afternoon for AFC Bournemouth. Having rounded the keeper, Barkley raised his hands in celebration before sliding the ball home, much to the delight of the Everton faithful. The gesture just shows the confidence that the young man is playing with at the moment, and his side were good value for the three points and their six goals.
Romelu Lukaku – What an afternoon it was for Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku on Saturdau, as he netted four and set up another in his side’s 6-3 drubbing of Bournemouth on Saturday. His first came just under a minute in, when he received the ball from James McCarthy, before cutting inside and drilling into the net past Artur Boruc, to send Goodison into raptures. His second would come courtesy of a blind back pass from Simon Francis, which saw the Belgian dink delightfully over the onrushing Boruc. The Belgian went on to complete his treble when he started and finished a move, slotting in on the volley from Seamus Coleman’s inviting cross. He would get the cherry on top when Barkley brilliantly backheeled the Belgian through, before muscling off a defender and firing low past the keeper. Artur Boruc will be sick of the site of Lukaku, but the Everton fans won’t and he has now netted 16 times, making him the Premier League’s most prolific marksman.
Jermain Defoe – It wouldn’t be a weekend without a Jermain Defoe goal in the Premier League, and he netted a quick-fire brace in first half injury time to see his side go into the brake 4-0 up away at Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. His first came a minute into first-half added time when a deft pass inside from Adnan Januzaj was met with a neat first touch from Defoe before he hammered the ball into the bottom corner past Wayne Hennessey through the legs of a Palace defender. It would be the same combination just moments later, as Defoe raced onto a ball from deep, before spinning James Tomkins and slamming in at the near-post on the turn. This was met with widespread boos from the Palace faithful, and one fan even taking it upon himself to confront Damien Delaney on the pitch before being arrested. As the sides went down the tunnel, stewards had to hold back to fans, who were noticeably furious with their sides abomination of a display.
Gabriel Jesus – Featuring for a second consecutive week is one of the Premier League’s latest imports Gabriel Jesus, who seems to have secured a starting birth for Manchester City over Sergio Aguero, at least for the time being, following some superb performances. He scored a brace, including a stoppage time winner as his side edged past Swansea City at Eastlands on Sunday afternoon. His first came when a cross into the box bobbled loose, only for the Brazilian teenager to prod home superbly past Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea net. Swansea would equalise when Gylfi Sigurdsson picked up the ball from Luciano Narsingh, before taking aim and drilling past Willy Caballero in the City net. As the clock ticked down it looked like the Swans had secured a superb point in their survival fight. However, step forward young Gabriel Jesus, who powered a header towards goal deep into injury time, only to see his effort repelled by Fabianski. However, the Brazilian reacted quickest, slotting home the rebound to the delight of the City faithful to snatch the win. It was a sickening blow for Swansea, but a vital three points for Manchester City.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)