Gameweek 23 saw Premier League sides well into the second half of the season, as the transfer window continues on. Many bosses may be looking to their owners asking for that one signing that could make or break that season, whether that’s at the top or bottom end of the league table. There was a big clash in the race for that fourth Champions League place on Saturday night as Arsenal welcomed Chelsea to the Emirates with both sides in great need of a victory. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review…
Ben Foster – Not for the first time this season Watford stopper Ben Foster features in the review. He was in fine form yet again as Watford could only manage a point at home to Burnley in a game that was hardly a thriller. In a game of few chances the Clarets were unable to find a way past the former Manchester United man. The only time they were able to do so they turned to see the linesman had raised his flag, likely wrongly, much to the dismay of former Watford boss Sean Dyche, who was stood in the away dugout at Vicarage Road.
Fabian Schar & Jamaal Lascelles – After a poor start to the season things seem to be looking up somewhat for Newcastle United and Rafa Bentiez, as the Magpies look to secure survival yet again in the Premier League. They edged an extra time win over Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup in midweek but were forced to turn their attentions to a massive clash with Cardiff City. They would run out 3-0 winners as Fabian Schar netted an impressive brace, with Ayoze Perez adding a third to seal a relatively comfortable win for the North-East side.
Danilo – Manchester City know that they have very little margin for error as they look to remain hot on the heels of league leaders Liverpool. This could be made all the more difficult as Pep Guardiola’s side compete on four fronts, including a semi-final of the league cup. However, they visited the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday to face struggling Huddersfield Town, and made light work of the Terriers, running out comfortable 3-0 winners on the day. Boss Guardiola will be all too aware that any further slips may prove vital as City look to secure consecutive Premier League titles.
Laurent Koscielny & Sokratis Papastathopoulos – Arsenal faced Chelsea in a vital clash at the Emirates on Saturday evening as three sides battle it out for that crucial fourth Champions League place. After a strong start to the season Arsenal will be concerned by their recent form, however they were much the better side as they ran out 2-0 winners against the Blues. They opened the scoring when Alexandre Lacazette controlled and finished superbly, before Laurent Koscielny stooped to head home a second from Sokratis’ cross.
Diogo Jota – Wolverhampton Wanderers were involved in the game of the week as they won a thrilling clash with Leicester City 4-3 in injury time. After leading 2-0 they were pegged back by the Foxes, and the same happened again as they looked to have snatched a point with just two minutes remaining. However, a wonderful ball from Ruben Neves set Raul Jimenez away, and the Mexican squared for Diogo Jota to slot home the winner with just seconds remaining, sparking wild scenes among the home bench, which saw manager Nuno Santo sent to the stands.
Mohamed Salah – It’s fair to say that Egyptian forward Mo Salah is up and running in front of goal this season and was in fine form yet again as Liverpool received a scare at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Reds were behind twice but fought back relatively late on to take all three points, holding Manchester City at arm’s length in the process. The turning point came when a howler from veteran keeper Julian Speroni allowed the Reds to equalise before they went on to secure the win, with a late Palace goal proving to be of little consolation.
Leroy Sané – It’s a real battle for a place in the Manchester City midfield and Leroy Sané has really staked his claim in recent weeks with some excellent performances for the defending champions. He got himself on the scoresheet as well as picking up an assist as his side kept the pressure on Liverpool at the top. It’s a new experience for this City side, as they look to keep the pace with Jurgen Klopp’s men, although you may start to wonder how many opportunities Pep Guardiola’s side will have to make up ground on them.
James Ward-Prowse – After being frozen out under Mark Hughes, James Ward-Prowse has performed brilliantly under new management and was in form as Southampton continued their revival with a 2-1 home win over Everton at St. Mary’s on Saturday. Ward-Prowse opened the scoring when he drove from midfield before rifling home a stunning effort from range. A horror own-goal from Lucas Digne would mean that Gylfi Sigurdsson’s effort would prove to be consolation for the Toffees, who continue to perform inconsistently under Marco Silva.
Callum Wilson – AFC Bournemouth hosted West Ham United at Dean Court on Saturday in a contest with no real favourite. In a cagey affair the Hammers would miss a glorious chance when Andy Carroll skied the ball from under the bar when it looked easier to score. They would be punished when Callum Wilson netted for the Cherries, and the Londoners’ misery would be compounded when Joshua King struck a second to kill off hopes of a Clarets comeback. It’s back to the drawing board for Manuel Pellegrini while Eddie Howe will be delighted.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)