Gameweek 26 would see a spread-out round of Premier League action as we return from the newly implemented winter break designed to give players and bosses some time to relax ahead of a hectic end to the season. Notable clashes included Liverpool’s trip to strugglers Norwich City, before Aston Villa hosted Spurs at Villa Park. The gameweek would end off with a massive clash between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, as both sides look to make a late charge towards a Champions League spot for next season. Anyway, here’s the FPL Updates gameweek review…
Pepe Reina – Eyebrows were raised as Aston Villa opted to bring Pepe Reina back to England in January, but his performances thus far have been excellent. He was unlucky against Spurs at the weekend as his saved spot kick fell back to Heung Min-Son, who scrambled in the rebound. He will be fuming that a last-minute defensive error let Spurs in to steal a late win in a close contest. However, there’s positives to take for the midlands club.
Harry Maguire & Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Manchester United secured a brilliant result on Monday evening as they travelled to London to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Red Devils went ahead when Aaron Wan-Bissaka picked out the head of Anthony Martial to flick home. As the game wore on it became cagey until Harry Maguire thumped home a header from a corner, while Chelsea will be annoyed that he was still on the pitch after kicking out at Michy Batshuayi early on.
Jonny Evans – Wolves hosted Leicester in a clash between two of the Premier League’s more impressive sides this season. A close game was to be expected, and at the end there was nothing to separate these two, who will have at least a Europa League place in their sites come may. Wolves were disappointed to see a goal ruled out by VAR, before Raul Jimenez spurned the chance of the game in second half stoppage time.
Nicolas Pepe – We are starting to see why Arsenal spent in excess of £70 million to bring Lille man Nicolas Pepe to the Emirates in summer. He has been in decent form in recent weeks and found the net against Newcastle United at the weekend when he slotted home from Bukayo Saka’s cut back. He also assisted goals for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The result marks the Gunners’ second win under new boss Mikel Arteta.
Richarlison – Having signed for big money from Watford at the start of last season, Richarlison had his doubters as he arrived at Goodison Park. However, his ability to find the back of the net is hard to question, and Everton were forced to rebuff advances from Barcelona in January for the Brazil international. He starred as Everton ran out 3-1 winners against Crystal Palace on their own turf two weeks ago.
Heung Min-Son – South Korea international Heung Min-Son tends to be at the forefront of most positive things at Spurs these days, which will mean his injury sustained scoring a late winner at Aston Villa hits José Mourinho hard. Deep into injury time, Villa defender Bjorn Engels saw the ball slip under his foot, allowing Son to run through before coolly slotting past Pepe Reina and join rapturous celebrations with the travelling Spurs faithful.
Kevin De Bruyne – Undoubtedly one of the Premier League’s best players, Kevin De Bruyne has proved time and again just how important he is to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side these days. The reigning champions faced West Ham at the Etihad on Wednesday night, and ran out 2-0 winners against David Moyes’ strugglers. He set up Rodri’s opener, before netting a second himself to make the points safe.
Ashley Westwood – Burnley have had a mixed bag of a season but find themselves comfortable in mid table. One of their unsung heroes in former Crewe Alexandra and Aston Villa man Ashley Westwood, whose passing range and composure on the ball are a real asset. He has enjoyed a strong patch of form in recent weeks and built on his goal against Leicester with another away in their 2-1 win over Southampton last week.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Former Sheffield United man Dominic Calvert-Lewin has begun to stake his claim for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming European Championships in the summer. He netted yet again two weeks ago as Everton overcame Crystal Palace 3-1 at Goodison Park. His work off the ball is as important as his goals though, as he leads the line with strength and intelligence beyond his years.
Matej Vydra – Having enjoyed strong spells at Watford and Derby County in the Championship, Matej Vydra has found first team football hard to come by since signing for Burnley last season. He knew that having had a chance to come on against Southampton he had to take it. It’s fair to say he did to devastating effect as he worked a yard of space on the edge of the area before thundering in what would turn out to be the winner.
Written by Ryan Nevin (@RNevin7)