Gameweek 17 would see a full program of Premier League action, as we race to the end of another exciting decade in English football. It all kicked off with Liverpool hosting the league’s bottom side in Watford at Anfield. Chelsea faced AFC Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge that afternoon, while Leicester faced Norwich City. On Sunday Manchester United took on Everton at Old Trafford before Arsenal welcomed Manchester City. The weekend ended with a derby between Crystal Palace and Brighton at Selhurst Park. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review…
Aaron Ramsdale – AFC Bournemouth had been a mixed bag this season in terms of form, being patchy to say the least. The Cherries will claim they have been unlucky at times this season and they’d probably be correct. However, they secured the result of the weekend as they secured a priceless 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. Dan Gosling scored the winner when he displayed predatory instincts to lob the ball over Kepa in the Chelsea net, sparking wild celebrations after a VAR consultation.
John Lundstram – One of Sheffield United’s standouts and an FPL favourite, John Lundstram has delighted many with his performances in midfield for the Blades, even netting the odd goal along the way. Chris Wilder’s side find themselves comfortably in midtable after a start to the season few predicted following their return to the topflight after over a decade. Their progressive style of play famed for its tendency to see their outside centre-halves overlap the wing backs has seemingly caught many off guard.
Jan Vertonghen – Spurs are well and truly under way in the José Mourinho era, and recorded a superb win away at Wolves, for whom many thought the North Londoners to be slight underdogs. What unfolded was a very tight contest which was decided in second half injury time. Wolves had equalised after Lucas Moura’s opener, and both sides seemed like they would have to settle for a point, however Jan Vertonghen got on the end of a late corner to steer the ball past Rui Patricio from some range.
Fabian Balbuena – West Ham’s defence hasn’t exactly been on form this season, with the East Londoners really struggling after a bright start to the season. They knew that they needed to take all three points when they travelled to the South Coast to face fellow strugglers Southampton. In what was being dubbed a six pointer the contest was decided by a single goal from big-money summer signing Sebastien Haller, who drilled home late in the first half. It was a big goal for the Frenchman, who has struggled for service in recent weeks.
Kevin De Bruyne & Raheem Sterling – Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne turned in an absolute masterclass as Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates. After just two minutes he put City in front when he thundered home a half volley past Bernd Leno. He assisted the second shortly after when he crossed for Raheem Sterling to tap in at the back post. He then drilled in from range into the bottom corner. Arsenal wondered what they were witnessing when a stunning save from Leno denied De Bruyne a stunning hat-trick.
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool were firm favourites to beat a Watford side who have won just once in the league this season and used the clash as an opportunity to rest a few key players. It looked like that decision may come back to bite Jurgen Klopp as the Hornets created a host of chances and were understandably irritated when Mo Salah put the home side in front. Watford, now under the management of Nigel Pearson, had more chances to equalise. However, Salah would finish brilliantly to seal the 2-0 win.
John Fleck – Sheffield United faced Aston Villa in a battle between two newly-promoted sides on Saturday afternoon. It was a chance for two sets of fans to compare and see who has really adapted to life back in the top flight. Apparently, the answer was Sheffield United, who played some brilliant football on the day. One man who perhaps goes under the radar to fans of other sides is former Glasgow Rangers and Coventry City man John Fleck, who hit a brace on the day to send Chris Wilder’s side home with three points.
Adama Traore – Former Barcelona youngster Adama Traore has always shown tremendous amounts of ability, with many questioning his end product and ability to produce when it really matters. He looks a different player for Wolves this season, though, and has been nearly impossible to deal with. 24 of the 26 full backs to face the Spaniard this season have been booked, a stat that shows just how difficult it is to deal with the former Villa and Middlesbrough man. He hit a wonderful equaliser as Wolves fell to a late defeat against Spurs.
Chris Wood – Having struggled with injuries since signing from Leeds United a couple of seasons ago, New Zealand international Chris Wood has been in fine form of late, and he notched again as Burnley secured a 1-0 home win against Newcastle United at Turf Moor. The Magpies had been in decent form themselves, so Sean Dyche was delighted to see his side run out victors on the day. The Clarets have impressed yet again this season on a limited budget, which shows the job Dyche continues to do.
Teemu Pukki – It has been a while since Norwich City frontman Teemu Pukki has featured, after struggling to find the net since the early weeks of the season. It’s not just Pukki though, the Canaries have struggled as a team, and few gave them a chance against second placed Leicester City. However, the Foxes were stunned when the Finland international saw them fall behind. Jamie Vardy thought he had levelled the scores, only to find that a Tim Krul own goal will see his fine run end. It’s a fine point for Norwich.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)