Gameweek 21 would see the first round of Premier League action of a new decade as we enter 2020. Some Premier League side’s will be looking to enjoy more of the same after a brilliant start to the season while others will see the new year as an opportunity for change and improvements in several aspects. It kicked off with a clash between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion on the south coast. Other notable clashed include Manchester City’s matchup with Everton before Arsenal took on Manchester United. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review…
Bernd Leno – German international Bernd Leno has had a mixed start to the season. While impressing as a shot stopper the former Bayer Leverkusen man has also made a fair amount of errors so far. Last time out against Chelsea it was his missed punch that saw the Blues draw level in a game where Arsenal dominated. He was beaten again in the final minutes when Tammy Abraham squeezed the ball between his legs to win it. Leno found himself in much better form this time out against Manchester United.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – Arsenal went into their clash with Manchester United desperate to take a win after their abysmal record against the top six has continued into this season. Manchester United on the other hand tend to take results against their rivals, so it was somewhat of a surprise when Nicolas Pepe gave the Gunners the lead in the first half. Sokratis found a second for Arsenal, now under the management of former midfielder Mikel Arteta, which gave the Gunners the best possible start to the new year.
Andrew Robertson – Liverpool look set to claim their first Premier League title at the end of the season as their gap on their rivals continues to grow. They started the year with a match against Sheffield United. They opened the scoring when Sadio Mané put the hosts in front, much to the delight of the Anfield faithful, who will be starting to dream after years of hurt. Mo Salah also found the net as he so often does to make the points safe. Jurgen Klopp has been playing their performances down but it looks set to be a wonderful year for his Reds.
Jack Stephens – Southampton look to have turned a corner somewhat under Ralph Hasenhuttl after a terrible start to the season and fancied their chances as they came up against Spurs at St. Mary’s on new years day. On the day the match was decided by a single goal from one of the league’s in form strikers, and it wasn’t Harry Kane. Danny Ings found the net after he was found by Jack Stephens. It turned out to be the winner, much to the delight of Saints fans who seem more optimistic these days.
Ryan Fredericks – West Ham United have endured an abysmal start to the season, which saw boss Manuel Pellegrini dismissed in order to rehire former manager David Moyes, much to the disappointment of many a Hammers fan. One of their standout performers in a resounding win over AFC Bournemouth was former Fulham and Spurs fullback Ryan Fredericks, whose attacking play was appreciated by the home faithful given how flat they’ve been at times throughout this campaign. He staked his claim for the regular starting place over Pablo Zabaleta.
Cesar Azpilicueta – Chelsea travelled to face Brighton and Hove Albion in their first match of the decade under manager Frank Lampard, having struggled for form during the festive period. They took the lead through an unlikely scorer when captain Cesar Azpilicueta put the Blues in front. As they fought to cling on it became apparent that Brighton would pile on the pressure, and they go their reward late when Alireza Jahanbakhsh netted a stunning bicycle kick to score his second in as many games, to the delight of the home fans.
Mark Noble – You won’t find many more popular players around West Ham than their long-term captain Mark Noble, who but for two short loan spells has spent the entirety of his career with the London side. He was in fine form as his side dismantled fellow strugglers AFC Bournemouth 4-0 on the day, even managing to net a brace. Hammers fans will be pleased to see big money striker Sebastien Haller find the net as well as Felipe Anderson, whose stats don’t always back up the performances he puts in.
Ayoze Perez – One of the surprise stories of the first half of the season has been the performances of Leicester City under former Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers. The Foxes faced Newcastle United as St. James’ Park in their first match of the new year and turned in a strong performance despite some small rotation in their starting eleven. Goals from Ayoze Perez, Hamza Choudhury and James Maddison saw the Foxes run out 3-0 winners on the day against a side that have started to find some form on their own patch of late.
Jack Grealish – Aston Villa fans seem to understand that they will likely be embroiled in a relegation battle come the end of the season but will be delighted with the performances of captain Jack Grealish. He was in fine form yet again as his side recorded a big 2-1 win away at Burnley. Chris Wood netted for the Clarets but goals from Grealish as well as summer signing Wesley saw the midlands side take a massive three points home. Burnley are notoriously difficult to beat at Turf Moor and Dean Smith will be pleased with his side’s performance
Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City faced a resurgent Everton side after the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti in recent weeks. They put in a decent display, but City had a bit too much for the Merseysiders in the end. Gabriel Jesus netted a brace as he looks to prove he can take over from Sergio Aguero in Pep Guardiola’s side. City are in danger of seeing their season fizzle out after a poor start to the league season. They may begin to focus on their Champions League campaign as they look to secure Europe’s elite prize.
Gerard Deulofeu – Watford look a different side under Nigel Pearson since the former Leicester boss replaced Quique Flores in the past month. They recorded a stunning home win over high-flying Wolverhampton Wanderers. Abdoulaye Doucouré and Gerard Deulofeu came up with the goals for the Hornets before Pedro Neto netted his first Premier League goal after being harshly denied at Anfield last time out by a questionable VAR offside call. The win gives Watford a real chance at survival after looking dead and buried just weeks ago.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)