Gameweek 18 would see the final round of Premier League matches prior to Christmas, and it began with Liverpool travelling to Wolves on Friday night. Arsenal hosted Burnley the following day before Brighton made the short journey to Bournemouth. Chelsea faced Leicester at Stamford Bridge, meanwhile Southampton looked for all three points against Huddersfield Town. Manchester City looked to put the pressure on Liverpool with a home win against Crystal Palace. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review…
Ben Foster – Watford have made a superb start to the season under Javi Gracia and continued that as they travelled to West Ham on Saturday afternoon. The Hammers began as strong favourites after some strong form in recent weeks, and in a game with many chances they were stunned as Watford were awarded a penalty, which was converted by Troy Deeney. Ben Foster stood out in an end-to-end match, making many saves to deny the homes side an equaliser. However, the Hornets killed it off late on as Gerard Deulofeu netted a second.
Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool travelled to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday night looking to retain top spot at Christmas, which would make the Reds strong statistical favourites to go and and claim the Premier League title. They opened the scoring early when Fabinho crossed brilliantly for Mo Salah to finish. While the top side rode their luck at times, it wasn’t to be for Nuno Santo’s side, and the Reds made it two when a ball into the box found an unmarked Virgil van Dijk to pass home calmly into the corner.
Paul Dummett – Newcastle United have been much better in recent weeks after a horrendous start to the season. They would have been hoping to record a comfortable home victory after the visit of bottom side Fulham but would have to settle for a point in a match that offered little for fans of either side. Fulham will take a good away point after poor form in recent weeks. The Magpies backline has improved a lot in recent weeks and fan-favourite Paul Dummett was excellent as his side recorded yet another shutout.
Tim Ream – Claudio Ranieri has had a mixed start to his time as Fulham manager, and with January approaching it will be interesting for spectators to see if there will be any activity at Craven Cottage following a £100 million spend during summer. They will be aware of the risks of relegation following a big spending, as many sides currently occupying the lower leagues have suffered due to existing beyond their means. There’s plenty of time for the Cottagers to save themselves, although they need to start picking up points soon.
Heung-Min Son – Spurs have been in great form recently and continued that as they made the long journey to Everton on Sunday afternoon. However, they got off to the worst possible start when Theo Walcott finished early on to give the Toffees the lead. They were unlucky not to be two up when Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw his goal disallowed for a push on Davinson Sanchez. So, they were understandably annoyed when Spurs equalised with Heung-Min Son finishing brilliantly from an angle, silencing the home faithful…
Jesse Lingard & Paul Pogba – Manchester United began life under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Saturday evening as they travelled to face a Cardiff side that have shown they are no pushovers in recent weeks. However, United led early when Marcus Rashford smashed home a freekick. They doubled the advantage through Ander Herrera before Victor Camarasa pulled one back. A third from Anthony Martial put the game out of reach of the Bluebirds before Jesse Lingard netted a brace to add gloss to the scoreline.
David Brooks – After a stunning start to the season AFC Bournemouth’s form had fallen off in recent weeks before they hosted Brighton and Hove Albion at Dean Court. David Brooks opened the scoring when he smashed home from the edge of the area. Lewis Dunk was dismissed with fifteen minutes remaining, and Brooks netted his and his side’s second when he flew through on goal before lobbing the ball over Mat Ryan. Dunk will feel partially responsible with the goal coming just moments after his dismissal.
Nathan Redmond – Southampton look revitalised under new management and travelled to Huddersfield looking to continue their revival. They took the lead through Nathan Redmond after just fifteen minutes before Danny Ings doubled the advantage. Philip Billing pulled a goal back in the week where he was linked with a move to Watford. However, Michael Obafemi became Saints’ youngest ever Premier League scorer as he swivelled to slot into the corner late on to kill the game off. It was a big moment for the eighteen-year-old, who has already been capped for the Republic of Ireland senior side.
Harry Kane – With the scores tied at 1-1, a quickfire double may have seen Spurs home and dry with goals from Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Christian Eriksen then scored brilliantly from range early in the second half. However, Everton made a game of it when Gylfi Sigurdsson struck home after some good work from Richarlison. The comeback never materialised though, and Spurs scored two more late on courtesy of each of Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son netting their second goals of the match. It’s a big performance from Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal hosted Burnley in the first match of the gameweek as the Clarets made the long journey to North London. They opened the scoring early on through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he converted from Sead Kolasinac’s cross. The Gabonese international was on hand to net a second shortly into the second half. However, they wouldn’t have it all their own way as Ashley Barnes pulled a goal back. Alex Iwobi made the points safe in injury time and saw the Gunners back to winning ways in the Premier League.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)