Week 12 means the return of Premier League football and no more international football until March. Thank Christ. With the teams back in the UK injuries evaporated (Kane, Alli, Sterling…?) and managers began to fear for their jobs…
Back to the Premier League after a week of international football and it’s business as usual. Pogba was back in action on Saturday as United cruised to a bruising 4-1 victory. The blue side of Manchester countered with a win at Leicester.
Chelsea and Liverpool both won keeping their top four dreams alive. Elsewhere, Watford stomped on David Moyes’ first day out at the Hammers. Arsenal put Spurs to the sword in the south. In the north, Burnley took seventh place. Three guesses who were this week’s mighty minnows?
Game of the Week: Manchester United 4 Newcastle 1.
It was the return of the MVP’s as Pogba and Ibrahimovic were named in Mourinho’s matchday squad. Turns out the Red’s had seriously missed the French midfielder.
After a Lindelof mistake led to Dwight Gayle giving Newcastle the lead it was Pogba who brought his team back. Martial converted Pogba’s wonderfully chipped cross and a dummy turned the Newcastle defence inside out.
Newcastle were buried in the second half as Pogba, Lukaku, and Smalling got on the scoresheet. Jose and co are back on track.
Losers of the Week: Tottenham.
Tut, tut, tut. Many eyebrows were raised when an unfit Harry Kane was rushed back for the North London derby. When you’ve spent millions of pounds on Llorente, then why not put some trust in him?
On the other hand, Arsenal put on their best performance of the season. They pressed as a team. Passed like the Gunners of old and the front three of Lacazette, Ozil and Sanchez looked like world beaters.
Pochettino will have to put his faith in other players in the future.
Controversial Calamity: Red?
Kompany and Carroll. Two people who got away with actual murder this weekend.
The Belgium centre-back denied Jamie Vardy a clear-cut goalscoring opportunity with a late challenge whilst West Ham’s Andy Carroll kicked out twice against Watford players. Remember Beckham ‘kicking out’ at the ’98 World Cup? Carroll did that twice and escaped a red.
Mighty Minnows: Burnley, Burnley, Burnley.
The Clarets 2-0 win over Swansea was their third in a row in the top flight. Their best run since the 70’s.
It was ex-Swan’s player Jack Cork who opened the scoring. The Englishmen arrived late in the box to head home a beautifully weighted Robbie Brady cross. John Barnes doubled the Clarets lead with a long-range effort.
Sean Dyche may be heavily linked with other managerial jobs but with Burnley a point off a Champions League spot – why would he leave? Up the Clarets, leave Sean Dyche alone, peace.