Gameweek 18 sees us creep ever closer to the Christmas period, which still leaves FPL managers on their toes as they consider rotation over such a congested time. Some sides may have paid the price for fielding weakened teams this weekend, as we saw a couple of major shocks in the Premier League on Saturday. The clash of the weekend would undoubtedly take place at Eastlands as Manchester City welcomed Spurs in what would be an entertaining clash. Sunday would see Manchester United travel to West Brom, while Bournemouth faced Liverpool at Dean Court. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates Gameweek 18 FPL Review…
Mathew Ryan – Brighton have had a mixed start to life in the Premier League, although if you had offered Chris Hughton a place in mid-table come Christmas, he would have likely taken it. They may have been left disappointed however, as they laboured to a 0-0 draw with Burnley at the AMEX on Saturday afternoon. In a tight affair, the Seagulls ‘keeper Mat Ryan was one of the stars of the show as he made a superb six saves. They may well have been disappointed not to have won the match, as Glenn Murray missed from the spot after he was brought down by James Tarkowski. Despite being in 13th position, Brighton are now just 3 points from the drop zone.
Marcos Alonso – Chelsea narrowly beat Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon thanks to a magnificent strike from Spanish wing-back Marcos Alonso. Chelsea have now won 8 of their last 10 league matches thanks to the former Bolton man’s freekick in the dying seconds of the first half. The three points sees Chelsea remain just three points from second-placed Manchester United, while boasting a better goal difference. It might have been more comfortable for the Blues, had Cesc Fabregas’ strike not been ruled out for offside by officials in the second half. Antonio Conte will be looking forward to facing Barcelona in the next round of the Champions League.
Dejan Lovren & Andrew Robertson – Liverpool bounced back from two consecutive 0-0 draws by hammering Bournemouth 4-0 at Dean Court in a match that was always relatively comfortable for the Reds. While the attack will of course claim the headlines, there were some strong performances from those at the back, as Dejan Lovren powered home a diving header to double Liverpool’s lead. Andrew Robertson also impressed, picking up an assist in the absence of Alberto Moreno. With the defence an area that Jurgen Klopp’s side are looking to strengthen, it’s up to the likes of Lovren and Robertson to stake their claim for a place next season.
Aaron Mooy – Huddersfield travelled to Vicarage Road as massive underdogs, and few would have seen the Terriers even taking a point. However, they would stun the home supporters, as well as many of their own, as they hammered four past the Hornets in a magnificent 4-1 win for David Wagner’s side. They were helped by the Hornets going down to ten men after half an hour, by which points Marco Silva’s side were already two down. Aaron Mooy turned in a magnificent performance as he netted twice, once from the spot in the win. He has impressed since making his move from Manchester City permanent in summer.
Manuel Lanzini – West Ham look a different side in recent weeks under David Moyes, and they were at their very best as they defeated Stoke City 3-0 at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday. They took the lead after just 20 minutes when Mark Noble converted from the spot after Manuel Lanzini was controversially adjudged to have been brought down. He has since been given a two-match ban for simulation. Marko Arnautovic doubled the lead against his former club late on as he volleyed in after a neat one-two with Lanzini. Diafra Sakho netted a third late on to add gloss to the score line in what was a magnificent win for the Hammers, while Mark Hughes finds himself under massive pressure.
Ilkay Gundogan & Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City romped on in the Premier League on Saturday evening as they smashed Tottenham Hotspur at Eastlands. German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring as he headed home 15 minutes in. Kevin De Bruyne doubled the advantage when he smashed past Hugo Lloris from an angle. While remaining comfortable, it would take a Raheem Sterling brace in the final ten minutes to seal the win. Pep Guardiola was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet, as Christian Eriksen bagged a consolation with what was nearly the last kick of the match. Manchester City march on, and should they avoid defeat at the weekend they will have gone half a season unbeaten.
Philippe Coutinho – Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho has taken somewhat of a backseat at Liverpool this season with the form of Mo Salah, however he has reminded the Reds faithful of his quality in recent weeks, and was in superb form against Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon. Having already hit the post from a superb freekick, Coutinho beat several men before capping a superb solo goal by drilling in at the near post. Bournemouth were second best on the day, although may have levelled when Jermain Defoe drilled against the post when one-on-one with Simon Mignolet. The Cherries sit just one point outside the relegation zone after a poor first half to the season.
Laurent Depoitre – Huddersfield were on fire as they netted four against a strong Watford side. Elias Kachunga netted the opener when he tapped in following a scramble. Aaron Mooy would then meet Colin Quaner’s cross to double the lead. Following Troy Deeney’s second red card of the season Laurent Depoitre would drill in a third. The Terriers were then reduced to ten when Jonathan Hogg was sent off against his former club. Abdoulaye Doucoure pulled a goal back with a brilliant strike, however, Aaron Mooy’s late penalty put the match beyond doubt. Marco Silva will undoubtedly be fuming with his side, as their poor form continues,
Wayne Rooney – Everton are yet to lose under new boss Sam Allardyce, and they continued the trend as they beat Swansea City 3-1 at Goodison Park on Monday night. The home support was stunned when the Swans took the lead through Leroy Fer after 35 minutes. However, Everton levelled on half time when Dominic Calvert-Lewin turned in the rebound when Wayne Rooney’s penalty was saved. They took the lead when Gylfi Sigurdsson curled home from 20 yards. Rooney would make the match safe with 15 minutes remaining when he would be successful from the spot after Jonjoe Kenny was brought down. It’s another strong performance from the Toffees, who look to be putting any relegation fears behind them.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)