Gameweek 20 would see the final round of Premier League fixtures of 2018, giving many sides a chance to reflect of the past year, as well as forcing them to consider their approach to the imminent January transfer window. Brighton and Hove Albion hosted Everton while Fulham faced Huddersfield and Cardiff travelled to Leicester. The late game of the day would see a massive clash as Liverpool faced Arsenal at Anfield. The final game of the matchweek would see West Ham United travel North to face Burnley at Turf Moor. Anyway, here’s the final FPL Updates gameweek review of 2018…
Neil Etheridge – Cardiff City faced an uphill struggle as they made the journey to Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. They will be looking back on the past year as a massive success as they first cliched promotion to the Premier League, as well as finding themselves outside of the bottom three when the year came to an end. They finished off with a brilliant win over Leicester, with Neil Etheridge saving James Maddison’s penalty, only for the Bluebirds to net a late winner to stun the home crowd.
David Luiz – It’s been a tough year for Chelsea, with the Blues failing to finish in the top four last campaign, as well as struggling after a promising start to this campaign. Their inconsistency in line up selection may have been their downfall at times, both under Antonio Conte and Mauricio Sarri. David Luiz is a player that produces varied levels of performance, and divides fans. However, in their final fixture of 2018 the Brazilian turned in a solid defensive display for his side to take the points away at Crystal Palace.
Willy Boly – Few sides in English football have had a year as successful as Wolverhampton Wanderers, first storming to the Championship title, before finding themselves comfortably in mid-table at the years end. They secured the result of the week as they came from behind to beat Spurs 3-1 at Wembley. Late goals from Willy Boly, Raul Jimenez and Helder Costa sparked wild scenes among the away fans as they ended 2018 with a superb result. Nuno Santo’s exciting brand of attacking football has been a pleasure to watch at times.
Tim Ream – Fulham know that if they are to survive this season, they will have to win matches like their home clash with Huddersfield Town on Saturday afternoon. In a match of few chances the biggest one came when the home side were awarded a penalty for handball. Abdoulaye Kamara demanded he take the penalty, despite his teammates’ protests, but saw his effort saved. It looked like this would be costly as the minutes ticked down, but late on Aleksander Mitrovic strode through on goal to fire home the winner.
Paul Pogba – Manchester United have had a poor start to the season, which saw the departure of José Mourinho from the club. Since then results look to be picking up, and United were on form again, this time running out 4-1 winners over AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford. The star of the show was undoubtedly Paul Pogba, who looks revitalised under his new boss. He netted twice while also recording an assist, and it remains to be seen whether he can get back to his best in the long term. The Red Devils will be hoping to make an assault on the top four in 2019.
Mo Salah – What a year it has been for Mo Salah and Liverpool. Having broken the record for goals in a season last campaign, the Egyptian has found his goalscoring form yet again, and found the net as his side destroyed Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday evening. Liverpool look to be serious about winning their first Premier League title and know that with a considerable lead at the top it is well and truly in their hands. However, Reds fans will be all too aware that the Merseyside club have been here before and will be hoping that Jurgen Klopp’s side can hold their nerve.
Victor Camarasa – Cardiff City were very limited in terms of the money they could spend in the summer, and that makes it all the more impressive that they were able to record the signature of Spanish midfielder Victor Camarasa, and the former Betis man has been a revelation. He came up with the big moment for the Bluebirds to record victory away at Leicester City. With the seconds ticking away in second half injury time, Camarasa picked up the ball before curling home from 25 yards sparking wild scenes among the away fans.
N’Golo Kante – It’s been yet another excellent year for former Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante at Chelsea. Having been arguable the best midfielder in the league for the past couple of years he has seen himself being deployed in a slightly more advanced role by Mauricio Sarri and has started to add the odd goal to his game in the process. He netted his side’s winning goal at Selhurst Park as the Blues ran out 1-0 winners. Kante was played in by David Luiz only to fire home past the onrushing goalkeeper to see the Blues end the season in winning fashion.
David Silva – One player that seems to be improving with age is David Silva, and he is more of a fixture in the City side now than ever before. They ended the year with a win as they ran out 3-1 winners over Southampton as St. Mary’s. After the Spaniard gave City the lead they were pegged back by Pierre Hojbjerg. However, in the final five minutes of the half City netted two more goals to go in at the break with a comfortable lead, courtesy of a James Ward-Prowse own goal and a header from Sergio Aguero.
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has had a slow start to the season goal-wise but got back to form as his side welcomed Arsenal to Anfield on Saturday evening. After going a goal down to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Brazilian forward Firmino struck twice within a couple of minutes to turn it around. He would go on to complete his hat-trick from the spot while Sadio Mané and Mo Salah would also net to complete the 5-1 rout. It’s back to the drawing board for Unai Emery and Arsenal while Liverpool march on.
Marcus Rashford – One player who José Mourinho always failed to get the best out of was England forward Marcus Rashford. However, he seems to have been given a new lease of life under new management and turned in a brilliant display yet again as Manchester United dispatched AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford. The 21-year-old found the net while also assisting twice to bury Eddie Howe’s side. It’s been a good year for the Cherries overall although they have seen their form dip in recent weeks.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)