Gameweek 19 would see Premier League clubs hit the halfway mark of the league season, and on boxing day no less. Topflight sides would have a chance to reflect over Christmas on their performance so far this season, with some having performed magnificently, while others know they need to up their game for the second half of the campaign. Notable clashes included Liverpool’s clash with Leicester, before Manchester City travelled to Wolves on Friday night. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review…
Tom Heaton – Aston Villa have struggled upon their return to the Premier League and knew that their home clash with Norwich City at Villa Park was pretty much a must win for all involved in the Midlands. In a tight clash Norwich looked to be creating the better chances, however it was a moment of brilliance from two of the Clarets star men that won it. Jack Grealish jinked in and out on the edge of the penalty area, before he teed up Conor Hourihane to whip into the top corner in style. It’s a huge three points for Dean Smith’s side.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – Few players have improved as much in the past couple of seasons as Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has become a world class full back in the minds of many under the management of Jurgen Klopp, and he was the standout performance as Liverpool stormed to victory against Leicester City. The England international’s goalscoring ability combined with his phenomenal eye for a pass makes him an unstoppable force in attack. He faces questions over his defensive ability, though, and will be looking to improve there over the remainder of the season.
Djibril Sidibé – From Liverpool we move to Everton as summer signing Djibril Sidibé takes a place in the review. Having signed from AS Monaco in summer, the wing-back took a while to get a chance in the Toffees side, however he hasn’t looked back. He delivered a pinpoint cross for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to head home against Burnley on Thursday, giving Carlo Ancelotti his first win in his first game as Everton boss, having taken the job following the sacking of Marco Silva a few weeks ago on Merseyside.
Adam Webster – After an impressive start to the season, Brighton and Hove Albion fell to an unfortunate defeat away at José Mourinho’s Spurs on Thursday afternoon. Having gone in front courtesy of summer signing Adam Webster’s third goal of the season the Seagulls were piling on the pressure and threatened to add more. However, a Harry Kane equaliser following a wonderful Dele Alli finish saw the South coast side head home empty handed much to the disappointment of boss Graham Potter, who has impressed since joining from Swansea in summer.
Anthony Martial – In a season to forget so far, Manchester United fans will be looking to their vibrant young attackers to come up with the goods this season. With Marcus Rashford’s impressive start to the season, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial weren’t to be forgotten, with the former getting on the scoresheet with a thunderbolt against Newcastle United. The latter would net twice as he once again reminded fans of his goalscoring ability. Red Devils fans will be looking for a much better second half of the campaign.
Adama Traoré – Speaking of improved players, Adama Traoré is another who looks unrecognisable from the player we saw at Aston Villa and then Middlesbrough in recent seasons. He was the standout performer for Wolves as they came from two goals down to upstage Manchester City on Friday night. The Spaniard Traoré has shown fans this season that he does have a strong end product, having faced criticism on his ability to make the right decision in the final third in the past, and Wolves are all to happy to be the beneficiaries of his brilliant form.
Oliver Norwood – Sheffield United’s midfield has been the driving force behind their phenomenal start to the Premier League season after securing promotion from the Championship last campaign. Oliver Norwood’s passing ability combined with his superb vision has seen him win plaudits from fans and pundits alike this season, and he kept his composure from the penalty spot to fire past Ben Foster in order to secure a point at home to Watford. The Hornets will be pleased with their point as they look much improved under Nigel Pearson.
Raheem Sterling – England star Raheem Sterling has really stepped into somewhat of a leadership role under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, and despite his side’s relatively poor performance in the first half of the season he has continued to impress. He was at the double against Wolves on Friday night as his side fell to a defeat that is likely the final nail in the coffin for City’s title chances. Liverpool sit well clear at the top with a game in hand, which sees many backing the Anfield side to win their first Premier League title.
Jordan Ayew – Somewhat of a cult hero at Crystal Palace these days, Jordan Ayew leads the line brilliantly for the Eagles, often making unselfish runs throughout the ninety minutes. His side found themselves a goal down at home to West Ham United on Thursday, before Cheikhou Kouyate levelled the scores for the South Londoners. As the time ticked down it looked to be headed for a draw, before Jordan Ayew twisted and turned through three men before dinking the ball over Roberto to net a late winner and spark wild scenes at Selhurst Park.
Roberto Firmino – Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino is always a popular figure at Anfield and has continued to impress in his withdrawn false nine role that he has become famous for among the Reds faithful. He came up with winners in both matches at the club world cup which saw Liverpool crowned World Champions after a year that could see Jurgen Klopp write his name in the Anfield history books, with a Premier League title looking likely to follow a Champions League win last season in some style.
Raul Jimenez – Wolves looked to be staring down the barrel against Manchester City on Friday, with the midlands side finding themselves two down against ten men after Ederson was dismissed for the away side. Adama Traoré pulled one back for Nuno Santo’s side before Raul Jimenez levelled after some great work from the afore mentioned Traoré. In what was a grand stand finish, Matt Doherty cut inside to slide home a late winner on his weaker left side, sparking pandemonium among the Wolves faithful.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)