Gameweek 25 would see us into February and Premier League managers will be looking at their squads either happy or wishing they had bolstered the ranks in the past January transfer window. There were some big matches at the top with Liverpool facing West Ham, and Manchester City would face both Arsenal and Everton due to FA Cup commitments. At the bottom, Cardiff hosted AFC Bournemouth, while Huddersfield Town knew they are running out of time to pick up points as they faced Chelsea. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review…
David De Gea – Ever the man to turn in a big performance, David De Gea continued his fine form for Manchester United as he made a string of saves to ensure that the Red Devils took all three points home after facing Leicester City on Sunday. United broke the deadlock early on when Paul Pogba fed Marcus Rashford, who on his 100th Premier League appearance slammed home what would turn out to be the winner. De Gea made a string on late stops, much to the delight of the travelling support, as United’s strong form continues.
Aymeric Laporte – Manchester City kicked off the week with a game against Arsenal at the Etihad on Sunday and looked comfortable when Sergio Aguero headed home after some terrible defending. However, the crowd were stunned when Laurent Koscielny equalised, before Aguero was on the end of a superb passing move between Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling. The latter slid across for the Argentine to tap home. He would complete the hat-trick in controversial fashion as Sterling’s low ball appeared to go in off Aguero’s hand.
Jeffrey Schlupp – Crystal Palace are never ones to lie down, and always seem to find victories from somewhere to secure survival. They did so yet again as they defeated a poor Fulham side 2-0 at Selhurst Park. They opened the scoring when Luka Milivojevic converted from the spot as he so often does. They would have to wait for a second but when new-signing Michy Batshuayi saw his effort saved Jeff Schlupp was there to net the rebound, sparking great scenes among the Eagles faithful. It’s back to the drawing board for Claudio Ranieri and Fulham.
David Luiz – So often criticised David Luiz has turned in some strong performances in recent weeks. Often lamented for his lack of concentration at the back, it may be the attacking flair that sets him apart from most players in his position. He was yet again in form as Chelsea hammered a sorry Huddersfield Town side 5-0 at Stamford Bridge. While the attacking players shone it was an excellent rear-guard performance from Luiz, whose inconsistency so often frustrates Blues fans. Sarri seems to be getting the players back on side.
Eden Hazard – Nobody would question who Chelsea’s man these days is, and Belgian wizard Eden Hazard really makes the team tick. He was yet again on fire as Chelsea dismantled Huddersfield Town at the Bridge. His first goal would come from the penalty spot as the Belgian sent Jonas Lossl the wrong way early on. His second would come much later when he ran onto a brilliant Ross Barkley pass to round the afore mentioned Lossl and slot home neatly into the unguarded net. When Hazard is on form, so are Chelsea.
Nathan Redmond – One man who seems inspired by Southampton’s recent change in management is former Birmingham and Norwich winger Nathan Redmond. Now playing in a more advanced role, the former England youth international has been in superb form, and he netted a stunning goal for the Saints to take the lead at Burnley, beating a few before drilling home into the corner from range. However, they will be disappointed not to hold on, and were pegged back when Ashley Barnes levelled from the spot with time ticking away.
Andre Gomes – This season has been strange for Everton, with so much promise not really materialising under Marco Silva. They were defeated at home to Wolves 3-1 on Saturday, before losing out 2-0 to title chasing Manchester City just four days later. The home crowd voiced their dismay at the first result, and pressure continues to mount on Silva, who joined the club in summer following spells at Hull City and Watford. He will know that he may receive his P45 if results don’t start to improve.
Luka Milivojevic – A reliable player at Selhurst Park, the Crystal Palace fans have really taken to Serbia international Luka Milivojevic in the past couple of seasons. A tough tackler and frequent goalscorer the former Olympiakos man seems to have adapted brilliantly to life in the Premier League and continued his good form when he opened the scoring from the spot as the Eagles defeated strugglers Fulham at home on Saturday. Roy Hodgson will be grateful of what may turn out to be a massive three points in the battle for the drop.
Sergio Aguero – Arguably the star man in the Premier League this week was Sergio Aguero, who netted a hat-trick in his side’s clash with Arsenal. City went on to secure a 3-1 victory before facing Everton on Wednesday night. They opened the scoring through French defender Aymeric Laporte, before Gabriel Jesus made the points safe in injury time to sent Pep Guardiola’s side top of the Premier League. It looks like the title race may well go down to the wire this term, with neutrals excited at the prospect of late drama.
Bobby Reid – It was an emotional afternoon at Cardiff City on Saturday, as the Bluebirds paid tribute to Argentine forward Emiliano Sala. Having recently signed for the Welsh side, his teammates put on a brilliant display, and recorded a vital 2-0 win to ease their relegation fears against AFC Bournemouth. Bobby Reid would net a brace, giving Neil Warnock’s side victory, and the former Sheffield United and QPR boss shed a tear as he departed the field at full time. Cardiff won’t go down without a fight, and their manager has the attitude to match.
Gonzalo Higuain – After enduring somewhat of a horror debut for Chelsea since his loan move from Italian giants Juventus, Gonzalo Higuain opened his account for the Blues, hammering into the roof of the net from a tight angle early on against Huddersfield Town. In an encouraging display all round by the Londoners, Higuain would strike again as he bent home a brilliant curling effort in the second half. The home fans were delighted to see their January acquisition in such form and will hope he can help fire their side to a top four place.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)