Gameweek 21 would see the first round of Premier League fixtures of the new year, with some sides looking to build on a strong start, while others were trying to change their fortunes as they look nervously over their shoulder. It all kicked off with Everton hosting Leicester City before Arsenal faced Fulham and Spurs travelled to Cardiff. The following day would see Bournemouth host Watford, while Wolves hosted Crystal Palace. The week ended with a massive clash between Manchester City and Liverpool. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek 21 review…
Angus Gunn – It was a special new year for Southampton ‘keeper Angus Gunn, who made his Premier League debut as the Saints travelled to Stamford Bridge to face a Chelsea side whose season looks to have fizzled out somewhat. Gunn, son of Brian, enjoyed a superb performance as he denied to Blues on several occasions, much to the frustration of Eden Hazard and co.After a terrible start to the season the South Coasters look to be picking up some results of late, and they will be looking for more of the same to secure survival.
Ricardo Pereira – Leicester City would have a tough clash to kickoff the new year as they had to travel to face Everton at Goodison Park. In a tight contest with relatively few chances, it would be a mistake punished through supreme quality that would prove decisive. It was Michael Keane’s unfortunate first touch that gifted the ball to Ricardo Pereira, who swept it through to Jamie Vardy, who controlled and drilled into the bottom corner to the delight of the away faithful. It’s a disappointing start to the year for Marco Silva and Everton.
Patrick van Aanholt – Crystal Palace secured a superb result on Wednesday as they travelled to the midlands to face a Wolves side that have made a strong start to life back in the top flight. The Eagles would take the lead when Patrick van Aanholt’s drilled cross was brilliantly controlled and finished by Jordan Ayew, who netted his first goal for the club. They would have the chance to kill the game off in injury time when Wilfried Zaha was brought down by Ryan Bennett. Luka Milivojevic duly converted to send the Londoners home happy.
Shane Duffy – Most Premier League fans would have said that Brighton and Hove Albion have been far from their best this season, however the Seagulls find themselves ten points clear of the drop zone with less than half the season remaining. One thing that nobody would question is their grit and determination, and despite blowing a two-goal lead at West Ham on Wednesday Chris Hughton’s side held on to take a point away from home. Shane Duffy found himself on the scoresheet in an impressive display.
Heung Min-Son – Spurs ended 2018 in some form and seemed to continue that as they faced Cardiff City on new years day. Harry Kane opened the scoring, meaning he has now scored against every Premier League side he has ever faced. They doubled the lead after just twelve minutes through Christian Eriksen, and they were out of sight at the half hour as Heung-Min Son netted to kill off any challenge from the home side. Son will soon go to the Asian Cup with South Korea, a big loss to Spurs at the moment.
Ryan Fraser – AFC Bournemouth have been in somewhat of a slump after a flying start to the season but kicked off the new year with a home clash to Watford. What followed was a superb contest in which both sides attacked. The match would be 3-3 by half time in stunning fashion as the match ebbed and flowed. Ryan Fraser continued his superb form and the Scotland international may be attracting the interest of some big sides having entered the January transfer window. Eddie Howe will be keen to hold onto one of his prized assets.
Ken Sema – While not a headline signing at Vicarage Road, Swedish winger Ken Sema is starting to make his mark with the Hertfordshire club.Having impressed for Ostersunds in last years Europa League, including goals against Arsenal in the knockout stages, Watford beat several clubs to his signature. After failing to feature regularly he was awarded a start against AFC Bournemouth, and repaid Javi Gracia’s faith when he cut inside to hammer home on the half volley, doubling his side’s lead in the process.
Granit Xhaka – Arsenal kicked off the new year with a home clash to struggling Fulham. They took the lead in the first half as Granit Xhaka netted. When Alex Lacazette doubled the advantage just prior to the hour, and home fans could be forgiven for thinking they would cruise to the win. However,Fulham pulled a goal back through Aboukakar Kamara to rattle some nerves.However, two late Gunners goals from Aaron Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would see Unai Emery’s side run out 4-1 winners on the day.
Troy Deeney – Watford captain Troy Deeney is a cult figure at the club, and he was in form as his side managed a 3-3 draw away at AFC Bournemouth on Wednesday. Deeney himself opened the scoring when he headed home early on.After racing into a two-goal lead it looked to be plain sailing for the Hornets, however, the Cherries would haul themselves level. Despite Watford retaking the lead, they would be pegged back again as Ryan Fraser slotted home into the bottom corner to see the game end all square.
Marko Arnautovic – All to often the match-winner for West Ham United, Marko Arnautovic would come to the rescue to salvage a point when the Hammers found themselves two goals down to Brighton and Hove Albion at the London Stadium on Wednesday. With the home crowd beginning to turn on their side, Arnautovic battled his way through to squeeze home under David Button.Just two minutes later they were level when Michail Antonio cut back for the Austrian to finish brilliantly, to the delight of the crowd.
Marcus Rashford – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has started brilliantly as Manchester United interim manager, with four wins from four in the Premier League. One player who seems to be benefiting massively from a more attacking system is Marcus Rashford, and the England international found the net yet again as the Red Devils dispatched Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring for United when Martin Dubravka spilled Rashford’s freekick, before Rashford himself slotted home to end the match as acontest.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)