It was a good week for many FPL managers, as several of the league’s heavy hitters would put opponents to the sword. There were a total of 36 goals across the weekend games, averaging 3.6 per Premier League match. Saturday would see a hammering at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea took on Ronald Koeman’s Everton side, who had started the season in fine form. Manchester City also faced a Middlesbrough side that will have been nervous given their opponents’ victory against Barcelona in the week. Then, on Sunday, we would see the first North-London Derby of the season, as Arsenal faced Spurs at a packed Emirates Stadium in the first of the Premier League kick-offs. So, here’s the FPL Gameweek 11 Review.
Thibaut Courtois – The Belgian stopper had a rough time last season at Stamford Bridge, looking uncharacteristically weak in a Chelsea side that really struggled, especially in the first half of the campaign while under the management of José Mourinho. While Chelsea put Everton to the sword at the weekend, the Belgian had very little to do, making minimal saves throughout. Everton’s spells of pressure were few and far between as the Chelsea defence dealt comfortably with everything that was thrown at them. Courtois’ own performances have also improved since Antonio Conte took over in summer, with their backline looking strong in recent weeks, after a small blip in form at the start of the season.
Marcos Alonso – The second of four Chelsea players to feature is Spanish wing-back Marcos Alonso. Eyebrows were raised when Chelsea forked out a whopping £23 million for the former Real Madrid, Fiorentina and Bolton Wanderers man. It was debated whether or not the Spaniard would be able to tie down a starting spot for the Blues, and it looked like he may struggle to force his way into the team, with Cesar Azpilicueta having been one of Chelsea’s few consistent performers over the past few seasons. However, following the implementation of Conte’s new 3-4-3 formation, Alonso has impressed at left-midfield, netting against Everton at the weekend while also assisting another. The 25 year-old seems to have a lot to offer on the flank.
Michael Dawson – Hull seemed to be slipping away after a very promising start to life back in the Premier League, however they were able to rally and beat high-flyers Southampton, who may have been experiencing somewhat of a European hangover, after an impressive comeback win when Inter Milan travelled to St Mary’s on Thursday night. Things looked to be going well for the Saints when Charlie Austin put the Saints ahead just six minutes into the match. However, Hull would turn the game on its head when two goals in as many minutes put the Tigers ahead. It was Dawson who netted the winner, having spent much of this season out injured, one of the main reasons Hull were able to name only 12 senior players for their opening day victory against Leicester City.
Mike van der Hoorn – Swansea’s difficulties continued at the weekend as they were well beaten by a Manchester United side who were in desperate need of a win on Sunday, given their abysmal form of late, with José Mourinho having taken significant criticism in recent weeks. Bob Bradley has been put in charge to try and stem the tide where the Swans poor form is concerned but has yet come up short, with this 3-1 defeat adding to their woe. Mike van der Hoorn, signed in summer, has struggled to adapt to the English game, but was able to pull a goal back for the Welsh side, however ultimately it wouldn’t be enough.
Eden Hazard – Eden Hazard is in the form of his life at the moment, having scored in his last four league matches for the first time in his professional career. He was arguably the best player on the pitch as Chelsea stormed to a 5-0 victory at Stamford Bridge against Everton. The Belgian scored twice including a superb solo strike, as he strode towards the Everton defence down the right hand side before fainting inside past the fullback and slamming the ball into the bottom corner at the near post in the blink of an eye. His other goal was a fine finish, placing into the bottom corner after a good Chelsea move. Hazard has really stepped up his game this season, after several notable figures questioned his and his teammate’s attitude.
Pedro – The Spaniard had a superb game like so many of his teammates on Saturday evening, giving the Everton defence a tough time from start to finish. Having chosen to sign for Chelsea over Manchester United last summer, Pedro struggled to gain a place in the Chelsea side, let alone impress on those occasions. He scored a fine goal, before setting up two more for his side in an impressive personal performance to contribute to what many called “the perfect team performance”. Chelsea went top of the table at the time, only to be eclipsed by Liverpool’s win over Watford on Sunday. However, it seems that Antonio Conte’s side are on the rise.
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool put in one of the most dominant performances of the season as they hit Watford for six at Anfield on Sunday. Liverpool’s forward line has been brilliant this season, with Jurgen Klopp at the help really beginning to get his style across to the players, with the fast-paced style beginning to become a feature of the Reds matches. Sadio Mané netted a brace, with Firmino, Coutinho, Emre Can and Giorginio Wijnaldum making up the others for the Reds, who are beginning to look like real challengers this season. The key will be their ability to pick up wins in difficult games, such as last week when they won a tight contest at Selhurst Park against a resilient Crystal Palace side.
Robert Snodgrass – The Scotsman Snodgrass has been a key player for Hull City this season, featuring heavily in anything good the Tigers have managed to produce. He made the difference as he scored and assisted in two minutes as Hull were able to turn the tides as they found themselves 1-0 down after Charlie Austin scored a penalty after just six minutes. He swept home from a low Sam Clucas cross, before it was his free-kick that was headed in by Michael Dawson mere seconds later. It’s a vital three points for Hull, whose fans may have been struggling to see where the points will come from after a promising start to the season.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson – The Iceland international signed for Burnley from Charlton Athletic in summer following their relegation to League 1 at the end of last campaign. He has impressed in recent weeks, injecting some pace and power into Burnley’s side following the suspension of Andre Gray after the revelations regarding tweets sent six years ago. Gudmundsson was the star of the show on Saturday afternoon, as Burnley scored deep into second half injury time to sink a struggling Crystal Palace side. The win gives Burnley some breathing room as they remain clear of the dreaded drop zone.
Jermain Defoe – Sunderland recorded a long overdue first win of the season after they ran out surprise 2-1 winners at high-flying Bournemouth on Saturday. Sunderland equalised when Victor Anichebe received the ball with his back to goal, before turning and slamming in past Artur Boruc in net. Sunderland were then down to 10 after Steven Pienaar picked up his second yellow card. Sunderland would be presented with an opportunity to win it late on as Jermain Defoe stepped up from the spot to convert, rewarding the Sunderland fans who had made the long journey south.
Zlatan Ibrahimović – Zlatan Ibrahimović struck the 25,000th Premier League goal in Manchester United’s victory over Swansea City at the Liberty. The veteran swede netted a brace, with Paul Pogba scoring the other as Swansea were swept aside with ease. Pogba opened the scoring with a superb volley from 20 yards after the ball fell loose at the edge of the box. Then it was Zlatan’s turn to hit home from the edge of the box, as he feinted past a defender before slotting home past Fabianski in goal. Zlatan would double his tally when a lucky break left him with just the keeper to beat, and he dispatched with ease to give United all three points in a big win for José Mourinho’s side.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)