Gameweek 17 would comprise of a full round of Premier League fixtures in midweek, an exciting prospect for football fans everywhere. Tuesday night would see Burnley host Stoke City at Turf Moor, Watford travel to face Crystal Palace and Chelsea face Huddersfield in Yorkshire. The following day would see seven more clashes, such as West Ham versus Arsenal in a London derby and Manchester United against Bournemouth at Old Trafford. As we enter the festive period the games come thick and fast, so many teams had to rotate, at the peril of many an FPL manager. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates Gameweek 17 FPL Review…
Nick Pope – Burnley have made Turf Moor somewhat of a fortress since returning to the Premier League a few years ago, Sean Dyche’s side has always been built upon solid defensive foundations, and clean sheets have been a feature of their strong home form. One revelation this season has been the form of backup goalkeeper Nick Pope, who has shocked fans with some magnificent performances. He was on form yet again as his side left it late to beat Stoke City 1-0. Pope made a wonderful seven saves, and his side made them count when Ashley Barnes struck a minute from time to seal a second consecutive 1-0 home win.
Serge Aurier – It hasn’t been the easiest of starts to life in the Premier League for Serge Aurier since signing for Spurs from PSG for more than £20 million in summer. Having faced a battle to even get in the side, given the form of Kieran Trippier, it was important that the Ivory Coast international impressed on occasions. He did so on Wednesday as his Spurs side ran out 2-0 winners as they hosted Brighton at Wembley. It was Aurier who opened the scoring when his looped cross found its way into the far corner, beating Mat Ryan. Heung-Min Son made the points safe late on when he stooped to head home from Christian Eriksen’s freekick.
Ragnar Klavan – On the back of derby day disappointment Liverpool were looking to bounce back with a win as they faced struggling West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. They yet again turned in a mediocre performance, and even manager Jurgen Klopp admitted come full time that his side could have no complaints, and hadn’t done enough for the three points. It’s a brilliant point for Alan Pardew, as he seeks to keep the Baggies in the Premier League. They may have gone into the break ahead, as Hal Robson-Kanu curled onto the crossbar from the edge of the box. Liverpool struggled to create, and it’s an impressive shutout for Albion.
Daryl Janmaat – Watford were looking to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat at the hands of former manager Sean Dyche at Burnley at the weekend. They travelled to a somewhat resurgent Crystal Palace, for whom only a late missed penalty denied them all three points against Bournemouth on Saturday. Daryl Janmaat gave the Hornets the lead after just three minutes, and it looked like they may have been returning to form. However, the match would turn on eighty-seven minutes as Tom Cleverley was shown a second yellow card and given his marching orders by the referee. It was then a case of holding on for Watford…
Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal travelled to face a buoyant West Ham after they were victorious against Champions Chelsea at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday. This time it was Arsenal, and the Hammers will have smelled blood after seeing the Gunners labour to a late point at St. Mary’s against Southampton. What followed won’t go down in the memories as a classic, but represented a solid point for David Moyes’ side, who look to banish thoughts of relegation. West Ham might even have won it when Javier Hernandez hit the woodwork late on, but both sides are forced to settle for what may be decent point.
Willian & Tiemoue Bakayoko – Chelsea were on form as they beat Huddesfield Town 3-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium on Tuesday night. The Blues opened the scoring when Jonas Lossl was punished by Tiemoue Bakayoko after slipping when making a clearance. They doubled the advantage before half time when Willian headed home. They made the points safe in the second period when Willian set up Pedro to hammer home a third. It was a comfortable match for the Blues in truth, although Laurent Depoitre was able to pull a consolation goal back for the hosts two minutes into second half injury time.
David Silva & Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City have been the irresistible force in the Premier League this season, having only failed to win once: in August against Everton as they drew 1-1. Their main men were on form as Pep Guardiola made changes for their meeting with Swansea City at the Liberty stadium. David Silva opened the scoring after half an hour, before Kevin De Bruyne added a second shortly after. Silva netted his second in the second half, before Sergio Aguero got in on the act just five minutes from time. It sees City retain their 11-point lead at the top, with many claiming that the title race is over already.
James McArthur – Palace found themselves staring down the barrel at defeat as they entered the last minute of the ninety a goal down at home to ten-man Watford. However, what happened next would showcase the new-found resilience within the Palace side under Roy Hodgson. As the ball came into the box Bakary Sako was able to bundle home a dramatic equaliser. They weren’t done there, as the ball was flashed across the box and met James McArthur, who swept home deep into injury time to snatch a precious three points for the Eagles, and take them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season.
Shinji Okazaki – Leicester City have been given a new lease of life under new boss Claude Puel, and look to be back to their counter-attacking best. This was evident on Wednesday night as they dismantled Southampton 4-1 at St. Mary’s. Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki and Andy King saw the Foxes race into a 3-0 half time lead. Southampton looked for a way back into the game, and may have found one when Maya Yoshida pulled a goal back for the hosts. However, Okazaki’s second and Leicester’s fourth would end any hopes of a Saints comeback. Leicester look to be getting their confidence back after a poor start to the season.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)