Gameweek 22 would see Premier League sides make moves in the transfer market as they contested yet another round of fixtures at the back end of a busy time of year. It kicked off with West Ham United travelling to face high-flying Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Friday night. The following day notable fixtures would include Arsenal’s trip to Crystal Palace as well as Spurs’ home clash with leaders Liverpool. Aston Villa faced a stern test on Sunday as they welcomed Manchester City. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review.
Alisson – Liverpool can sense a first Premier League title in the distance as they begin to run away at the top of the league, with both Leicester City and Manchester City dropping points over the festive period. They knew they were in for a tough test in North London as they faced José Mourinho’s Spurs. The Reds dominated early and deservedly took the lead through Roberto Firmino, although Spurs were wasteful in the end, missing a multitude of chances to come away with a point.
Lucas Digne – Brighton and Hove Albion have been quite impressive of late in the Premier League, but knew they were in for a tough game as they arrived at Goodison Park to replace Everton, now under the management of Carlo Ancelotti. In a tight game it was decided by a moment of brilliance from Everton’s Brazilian star, as Richarlison wiggled in the box before digging out a fine finish into the corner past Mat Ryan in the Seagulls goal.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James – Frank Lampard was looking for his youngsters to bounce back at Stamford Bridge after a retched run of form in recent weeks for the Blues. He got his wish as they put three past Burnley without reply to ease their fears of falling out of the top four places. The goals would come from two youngsters in Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham, with Italian playmaker Jorginho netting the other.
Brandon Williams – Manchester United have introduced young wing-back Brandon Williams into the side in recent months, and the academy product seems to be finding his feet very quickly. He enjoyed a wonderful game against Norwich City on Saturday, although did miss a sitter for his second goal of the season. His attacking ability adds a different dynamic for United, who need to find some consistency after a poor start to the season.
Riyad Mahrez – In a strange start to the season for Manchester City, Riyad Mahrez has really stood out in his second full season with the club under the management of Pep Guardiola. He tore Aston Villa apart down the right-hand side as the midlands side conceded six to the reigning champions. They did net a consolation when Ilkay Gundogan dangled a leg in the area which saw Anwar El Ghazi net a consolation late on in the day.
Abdoulaye Doucouré – What a job Nigel Pearson is doing at Watford. Having only recorded a single league win prior to his appointment in December, he has now taken 13 points from a possible 15. The Hornets netted three in their relegation six pointer with AFC Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon, which sees the Hertfordshire side leave the relegation zone for the first time this season. The Vicarage Road faithful have cause for optimism.
Juan Mata – A veteran of the Premier League these days, many were surprised when Manchester United opted to renew the contract of former Chelsea man Juan Mata in summer. He always puts in a performance when required and was impressive going forward against a Norwich side that never really looked up for the fight on the day. They announced their second signing of the window this week and will hope their Bundesliga reinforcements will help them survive come May.
Leander Dendoncker – Wolverhampton Wanderers’ form looks to have dipped in recent weeks after a really good patch, and they got off to the worst possible start against Newcastle United when Miguel Almiron netted his second goal for the club to put the away side in front. Wolves go behind a lot in the Premier League, but normally find a way back into games, and did so again when Leander Dendoncker equalised for the midlands side.
Sergio Aguero – What more can you say about Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero. His hat-trick against Aston Villa on Sunday saw him become the highest goal-scoring player from overseas in Premier League history, an astonishing feat given the time frame in which he has plied his trade in England. The league hasn’t seen many better than Aguero, and many would put him right up there with the likes of Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer.
Marcus Rashford – England international Marcus Rashford is really starting to lead from the front for Manchester United this season, and he was at the double as the Red Devils beat Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. His levels of consistency this season are much improved and he’s really staking his claim to be in Gareth Southgate’s starting eleven come the European Championships in summer this year.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)