Gameweek 20 saw the boxing day round of fixtures take place, with several superb matches taking place. The first clash of the weekend would see Spurs face Southampton at Wembley, with a record in sight for Harry Kane. We would see a thriller at Dean Court as West Ham travelled south to face Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side. Manchester United welcomed Burnley to Old Trafford knowing that anything less than a win would see the title race all but finished. Manchester City travelled to Newcastle looking to retain their unbeaten record in the Premier League this season. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates Gameweek 20 FPL Review…
Jordan Pickford – Everton look a different side under new manager Sam Allardyce, as he remains unbeaten since taking over as Toffees boss. They travelled to a struggling West Brom on boxing day, with Alan Pardew having yet to record a victory in the opposing dugout. It would be fair to say it wasn’t a classic at the Hawthorns, as both sides laboured to a 0-0 draw on the day. The result sees the Baggies extend the most unwanted of runs, as they find themselves winless in their last 18 Premier League matches. They missed the better chances, on a day where Jay Rodriguez may have won it late for Albion.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool were at their brilliant best as they hammered Swansea City at Anfield on Tuesday evening. Making a somewhat rare start at right-back was Liverpool youth product Trent Alexander-Arnold, who turned in a performance of the highest order, including netting his first Premier League goal. At 2-0, the youngster chased a clearance all the way into the area before hammering in off the crossbar for the Reds’ third. It was a big day for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well, who scored his first Liverpool goal to seal the rout. The victory sees Liverpool retain fourth place in the Premier League.
Marcos Alonso & Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea continued their strong run of form as they recorded a comfortable 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge over Brighton & Hove Albion. They went into the break level, however, as they missed several strong chances. It would take less than a minute of the second period for the Blues to take the lead, as Alvaro Morata headed in Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross. The game was made safe when Marcos Alonso doubled the lead on the hour. The goal came as he headed home, after seeing two efforts saved by Seagulls ‘keeper Mat Ryan seconds earlier. It’s a good win for the Blues, while Chris Hughton’s Brighton side certainly gave a good account of themselves.
Marko Arnautovic – West Ham featured in a classic on Boxing Day as they played out a thriller at Dean Court against Bournemouth. After going a goal up through James Collins, the Hammers saw the game turned on its head as Dan Gosling and Nathan Aké netted for the hosts. It looked like the Cherries would take all three points, until a late brace from Austrian winger Marko Arnautovic looked to have won it for the Hammers. However, there was controversy deep into injury time as Bournemouth equalised when Callum Wilson bundled in with his arm in a seemingly offside position. Despite the flag going up, the referee overruled his linesman, to the anger of the Hammers faithful.
Dele Alli & Heung-Min Son – Spurs recorded a big win at Wembley on Boxing Day as they hammered a poor Southampton side 5-2. Southampton started with Shane Long up front, who had failed to score in nearly fifty matches for the Saints. Spurs main men were all on form, with each of Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane finding the net. It was a great win for Spurs, who keep the pressure on the likes of Liverpool in the top four. They look to be getting their confidence back, and will surely be looking forward to their Champions League round of 16 clash with Juventus. There would also be a special piece of history up for grabs for Harry Kane…
Jesse Lingard – There’s been somewhat of an unexpected hero at Old Trafford in recent weeks, with Manchester United youth product Jesse Lingard finding a magnificent spell of form for the Red Devils of late. However, his side found themselves two goals down to Burnley at half time on Boxing Day, after goals from Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour. Jose Mourinho introduced Lingard from the bench to profound effect, as he netted just ten minutes into the second period. As the minutes ticked by, Burnley looked set for a magnificent victory, until Lingard drilled home his second into the bottom corner to salvage a point for the Red Devils. Jose Mourinho was disappointed with the result, but will be forced to settle for the solitary point.
Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal struggled to a 3-2 win at Selhurst Park last night as they beat Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side. Arsenal opened the scoring when Shkodran Mustafi turned in the rebound when Alexandre Lacazette’s shot was saved. Palace levelled when Andros Townsend met Wilfried Zaha’s low cross. Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal the lead again as he smashed in at the near post, before he netted again just three minutes later. He got on the end of Jack Wilshere’s brilliant pass, before poking past Julian Speroni. A late James Tomkins goal made it a nervy finish for the Gunners, but in the end they held on for a big three points.
Harry Kane – It was a massive day for Spurs and England striker Harry Kane, as he entered his sides match against Southampton level with Alan Shearer for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year. He wasted no time in breaking the record as he scored after just twenty minutes, as he headed home. His second came just before half time when the England international slotted into an empty net after a cross from Son. The hat-trick arrived when he dinked over Fraser Forster to kill the match off. It ends a magnificent year for Kane, who scored more than Lionel Messi in 2017. Many are suggesting the Spurs forward be nominated for the Ballon D’Or.
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool’s forwards were at their best as they hammered Swansea City 5-0 at Anfield. Roberto Firmino’s form has been nothing short of superb in recent weeks, and he was at the forefront of things for Jurgen Klopp’s side yet again. He netted a brace in what was an impressive all-round performance. It comes the week that Liverpool announced the signing of Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk for a world record fee for a defender, in the region of £75 million. Fans were delighted with the signing after the Reds failed to secure his services during the summer transfer window.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)