Premier League fans were treated to a midweek dose of action as we played witness to Gameweek 14. There were some interesting clashes set to take place, especially on Tuesday night in the shape of Crystal Palace facing rivals Brighton for the first time since a play-off semi-final in 2013. Manchester United travelled South to Watford, knowing that failure to secure three points may well put pay to their title challenge. Spurs travelled to Leicester, while West Brom hosted Newcastle United. Wednesday saw Arsenal host Huddersfield, while Swansea travelled to Chelsea, and Southampton faced the uphill task of taking points at Eastlands. Anyway, here’s the Gameweek 14 FPL Review…
Jordan Pickford – It’s been a difficult start to life at Everton for England international ‘keeper Jordan Pickford. There were lofty expectations for the man who arrived for £30 million from Sunderland in summer, making him the most expensive British goalkeeper in history. However, and underwhelming start to the season for his new side has seen Pickford come in for some criticism from fans. However, he was a standout as his Everton side demolished West Ham 4-0 at Goodison in David Unsworth’s last game as caretaker boss, saving a penalty from Manuel Lanzini at 2-0, and giving his side a platform to run out comfortable winners.
Antonio Rudiger – German international centre-half Antonio Rudiger returned to the Chelsea side for the visit of Swansea, having failed to feature in each of the Blues’ last two Premier League matches. He turned in an impressive performance at the centre of defence as Antonio Conte’s side recorded a 1-0 win, that could have been more in truth. Having rested star-man Eden Hazard, Conte will have been delighted to see his side continue their strong form, as a goal from the afore mentioned Rudiger gave them their fifth win in their last six league games, the other being a draw at Anfield last weekend.
Ashley Williams & Jonjoe Kenny – Everton’s back four have really struggled this season, but turned in a top-notch display as they hammered a sorry West Ham side 4-0 at Goodison Park. One of the standout players for Everton in recent weeks has been young academy graduate Jonjoe Kenny, who was a key part of the England under-20s side that won the world cup in summer. He recorded an assist on the night, as fellow defender headed in brilliantly past Joe Hart late on to give the Toffees their fourth goal in a dominant display. Sam Allardyce will have been encouraged as he watched from the stand ahead of taking over from David Unsworth this week.
Mesut Ozil – Undoubtedly one of the league’s most talented players, it’s been a case of inconsistency for German international Mesut Ozil as well as his Arsenal side. He was the best player on the park as the Gunners dismantled David Wagner’s Huddersfield Town side at the Emirates on Wednesday night. He recorded two assists, while netting one himself in a truly dominant display. It may well be a case of the same old story as far as Ozil is concerned, as he once again tore through one of the so-called ‘weaker’ sides, but it remains to be seen as to whether he can continue his form into the weekend clash with Manchester United.
Ashley Young – Once the forgotten man at Old Trafford, Ashley Young has been one of the standout players for Manchester United in recent weeks, occupying the new role of left wing-back for the Red Devils. He scored a brace as he travelled to face former club Watford at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night. He first hammered in an opener from twenty yards to give United the lead, before curling in a superb freekick. Anthony Martial slotted in a third before half time. A quickfire double late on from Watford gave the Hornets hope, before Jesse Lingard ran from within his own half before slotting beyond Heurelho Gomes to make the three points safe.
Robbie Brady – Burnley climbed into a lofty sixth place in the Premier League as they recorded an impressive 2-1 away win over AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court on Wednesday night. They opened the scoring with ten minutes remaining in the first half when Chris Wood tapped in from Robbie Brady’s cross. Brady would net the second himself as he finished well on the counter attack with half an hour remaining. Bournemouth made it a nervy last ten minutes as Josh King scored what would turn out only to be a consolation goal. It’s a disappointing result for Eddie Howe’s side after somewhat of a mini-revival from the Cherries in the Premier League.
Sadio Mane & Mohamed Salah – It’s becoming a regular occurrence to see Mo Salah and Sadio Mane feature in these reviews. They were once again on top form as Liverpool recorded an impressive 3-0 win at the Bet365 Stadium over Mark Hughes’ struggling Stoke City side. While Salah started on the bench, Mane opened the scoring after fifteen minutes when he dinked in amid controversy as to whether he remained onside. Salah would come on late to great effect, doubling the Reds’ lead when he hammered in on the volley from Mane’s cross. He netted a second, and his side’s third when he slotted past Lee Grant. Mark Hughes’ thought that Simon Mignolet should have seen red for a controversial challenge on Mame Diouf at 1-0.
Wayne Rooney – Many Premier League fans will have been delighted to see Wayne Rooney roll back the years as he netted a hat-trick as Everton dismantled David Moyes’ West Ham 4-0 at Goodison. His first came from the spot, as he headed in his own rebound after Joe Hart was adjudged to have brought down Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The former Manchester United man’s second came when he met a square ball to slot into the bottom corner. Having played in a deeper midfield position for the Toffees, he scored one of the Premier League’s great goals to complete a brilliant hat-trick. As Joe Hart raced out to stop Calvert-Lewin, his clearance fell to Rooney inside his own-half, and the former England captain drilled a superb strike into the back of the net, bringing Everton fans, and their new manager to their feet.
Olivier Giroud – French international forward Olivier Giroud has severely struggled for minutes at Arsenal this season, with the match against Huddersfield being the first time he has played more than half an hour in the Premier League. He came on at half-time for France teammate Alexandre Lacazette, who had opened the scoring. Giroud netted a late brace to add gloss to the score line. First, he tapped in from six yards after excellent work from Alexis Sanchez. His second came just two minutes from time as he yet again netted from close range to finish the match for Arsene Wenger’s side, who find themselves fourth in the Premier League, after some strong home form.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)