Gameweek 22 would kick-off on New Year’s Day, as Bournemouth travelled to face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex. Liverpool faced a difficult trip to face Sean Dyche’s Burnley at Turf Moor. Stoke City hosted Newcastle United knowing that anything less than a win may spell the end for Potters boss Mark Hughes. Everton faced Manchester United at Goodison later that evening, looking to stop neighbours City from pulling any further clear. Arsenal faced Chelsea at the Emirates, while there was another London derby as West Ham faced Spurs at Wembley. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates Gameweek 22 FPL Review…
Karl Darlow – Newcastle United travelled to the Bet365 Stadium looking to halt a slide down the table. In what was always going to be a gritty affair, Karl Darlow was one of the standout performers in goal for the Magpies. Having struggled for a place in the side this season, given the form of Rob Elliot, the former Nottingham Forest man pulled off a string of impressive save. These would prove vital in the end, as his side netted a late winner to sink the Potters. It would mean a nervous week for Mark Hughes in the Stoke dugout.
Ragnar Klavan – Jurgen Klopp decided to rest a number of key players as his Liverpool side travelled to face a Burnley side renowned for their strong home form. The missing Philippe Coutinho sparked rumours over his future, which would turn out to be true as he completed a move to Barcelona for £145 million. They took the lead through Sadio Mané, before Johann Berg Gudmundsson looked to have snatched a point when he levelled two minutes from time. However, Ragnar Klavan would head home four minutes into injury time to spark scenes in the away end and take a great three points.
Steve Cook – Bournemouth twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw away at the Amex against Brighton and Hove Albion in the first Premier League match of the year. They were behind after just five minutes when Anthony Knockaert slotted in from Jose Izquierdo’s pass. Bournemouth levelled when Steve Cook headed in after half an hour. Izquierdo was provider yet again, as Glenn Murray slammed home for the Seagulls. However, it wasn’t to be for Chris Hughton’s side, as Calum Wilson prodded home after a scramble in the penalty area.
Kieran Trippier – Spurs would be one of two sides who would feature twice during this gameweek. First up was a trip to Wales to face Swansea City at the Liberty stadium. Mauricio Pochettino made the brave decision to rest top goal scorer Harry Kane in favour of former-Swans frontman Fernando Llorente. The Spaniard vindicated his decision as he put one over his club after just twelve minutes. Swansea did put the pressure on late, with Mike Van der Hoorn striking the woodwork from close range. However, Dele Alli made the points safe with a minute remaining as he finished his own rebound after a swift counter attack.
Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton – It was a good day for the Foxes at the King Power as Leicester City beat Huddersfield Town comfortably. David Wagner’s Town side did hold the home side until ten minutes into the second period, when Riyad Mahrez would break the deadlock after some good play from Marc Albrighton. Islam Slimani dinked in a second after he went one-on-one with Terriers ‘keeper Jonas Lossl. The aforementioned Albrighton rounded off a great victory when he fired home from a Demarai Gray cross.
Paul Pogba – French midfielder Paul Pogba turned in a performance of the highest order as his Manchester United side put in a thoroughly professional performance on the way to recording a good 2-0 win at Goodison Park against Sam Allardyce’s new-look Everton side. In a relatively tight affair, it would be Anthony Martial to break the deadlock as he received the ball from Paul Pogba on the edge of the Toffees area, before picking his spot and curling beyond the despairing Jordan Pickford. Jesse Lingard would kill the game when he picked up the ball before driving at the defence and curling into the top corner from all of twenty yards.
Heung-Min Son – Spurs’ second match of the gameweek would come at Wembley, as they faced a strong Spurs side, this time featuring record-breaking Harry Kane. Declan Rice started at the heart of the defence for the Hammers, and did a real job on the England forward. In a game that Spurs dominated, it would be David Moyes’ side that took the lead when Pedro Obiang drilled into the top corner from twenty-five yards. As time ticked down, Heung-Min Son levelled as he showed Obiang that he too could score from range, firing a rasping effort in from a similar distance.
Kevin De Bruyne – It wouldn’t be a review without a Manchester City midfielder or two, and this week it’s the turn of Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne. Pep Guardiola’s side hosted Watford this week, with the hosts starting as strong favourites. They looked like living up to that tag when they took the lead after less than a minute, with Raheem Sterling giving them the lead. Christian Kabasele put through his own net after thirteen minutes, and Hornets fans would have been concerned. Sergio Aguero would wait until the hour to put the match beyond doubt. However, there was time for Andre Gray to pull back a consolation goal for the visitors.
Andy Carroll – West Ham were looking to continue their decent recent home form under David Moyes as they hosted West Bromwich Albion at the London Stadium in their first of two matches. They started poorly, and the home faithful were stunned when James McClean gave the Baggies the lead on the half hour. It would take until the hour for the Hammers to get going, when Aaron Cresswell crossed for Andy Carroll to thunder home a powerful header. As time ticked down, the England international would win it four minutes into injury time as he got on the end of Marko Arnautovic’s cross to spark scenes among the home crowd.
Ayoze Perez – It’s been difficult for Spanish forward Ayoze Perez to establish himself in the Newcastle side under Rafa Benitez this season, with the arrival of Joselu. He came up with the big moment as the Magpies stole a massive win at the Bet365 Stadium against struggling Stoke City. Having rested players in the previous match against Chelsea, Mark Hughes was under pressure to get a win, but his side were sunk when Perez prodded home from Jacob Murphy’s cross with fifteen minutes remaining. The result wouldn’t see Hughes sacked. However, after an FA Cup loss away at Coventry City the Welshman would receive his P45.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)