Burn FM’s lead football correspondent, Sam Bernard, is back- making outlandish comments about James Collins’ appearance, the Jonny Evans fan club and giving tips on how to excite Manchester United fans. As well as all that he’s given his top premier league performers from 2016’s first weekend of premier league football.
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech (Arsenal)
This season is really turning out really well for Arsenal who see themselves sitting pretty at the top of the table. Arsenal look like, after many years of hurt, they might finally reclaim the much-coveted Premier League trophy. A large part of their success has been the acquisition of the experienced stopper, Petr Cech from rivals, Chelsea. Arsenal did not play well against Newcastle, and in all honestly probably didn’t deserve to win. The fact they did was largely down to the excellent performance of their keeper, who was called upon numerous times to halt the Newcastle attack. Cech is undoubtedly a world-class keeper, but he brings something more than just his shot-stopping abilities, and that his experience. Cech knows what it takes to win and his calm mentality is seemingly infectious. Abramovic must be ruing his decision to allow Cech to sign for a rival, after the Czech put in another top performance for the Gunners.
Defender – Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)
Having a player of Cech’s calibre in between the sticks can give defenders so much confidence. Laurent Koscielny would most definitely support this. The Frenchman now has the confidence that his keeper will deal with anything behind him, so he only has to focus on what is happening in front of him. Hence, we are seeing Koscielny’s best form in an Arsenal shirt. He must look forward every season to playing Newcastle as he secured another clean sheet and another goal. He has now scored three goals against the Magpies, his highest tally against any team.
Defender – James Collins (West Ham)
James Collins is a man sculpted by the Gods. The Welsh man-mountain was too much for Benteke who barely featured in a match where Klopp would have been analysing his every breath. West Ham outplayed Liverpool and fully deserved their three points. Liverpool have some very creative players amongst their ranks, but they were snuffed out by the imperious Hammer’s defence led by the commanding James Collins, who had a comfortable day keeping Liverpool’s £32 million man firmly in his back pocket.
Defender – Jonny Evans (West Brom)
West Brom fans knew exactly what they were getting when Tony Pulis unveiled the former Manchester United man to the Albion faithful. They expected him to add stability at the back and to see the Northern Irish man put everything on the line in very committed performances. They would not have expected Jonny Evans to be popping up at the other the pitch and scoring a last-minute winner against an inform Stoke City side – in fact I don’t even think the most committed of the Jonny Evans fan club would have predicted that. Evans has so far proved to be a very shrewd signing for Tony Pulis.
Defender – Branislav Ivanoic (Chelsea)
In a week when Chelsea looked back to their best, it is of no surprise that the previously stalwart Chelsea defender was, like his team, back to his best. It must be remembered that Palace are a very, very tricky side to play against and their abundance of pace and trickery makes life near impossible for any defender. Yet Ivanovic was resolute to all that Palace could throw at him and played a big part in stopping the likes of Zaha. Maybe if the mercurial Bolasie had been fit, Palace may have had more joy, but take nothing away from Chelsea they looked very good.
Midfield – Alex Tettey (Norwich)
Alex Tettey has had a Christmas to remember. He scored the winner against Manchester United with a thundering toe-poke and he did it again, this time against a Southampton that has looked out of sorts this season. Tettey’s winner moved Norwich to six points clear of safety and its starting to look like Norwich will be a Premier League team once more next season. Norwich’s problem is clear – they do not have any prolific strikers, but as long as the likes of Tettey keep chipping in they’ll be just fine.
Midfield – Oscar (Chelsea)
I don’t know what went on behind the scenes at Chelsea on but Oscar clearly wasn’t playing for his manager. Now that Jose Mourinho has departed, a massive weight has been lifted off the Brazilian’s shoulders. He was a creative force throughout the whole game and helped himself to goal, as well as an assist, in Chelsea’s 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Midfield – Willian (Chelsea)
Unlike many of the ‘professionals’ at Chelsea Football Club, Willian has remained above the nonsense and has justified his wages throughout the whole season, regardless of the man in charge. Many at the club have decided to perform only now Mourinho has taken the blow for it. Once more Willian was magnificent as he helped Chelsea destroy Crystal Palace. Guus Hiddink has been tasked with steadying the ship at Chelsea and this result suggests it’s working.
Midfield – Dele Alli (Tottenham)
Spurs look the real deal this season and top four looks a real possibility. The fact that people are talking about them as title contenders is a real testament to Pochettino and, especially, the impressive English youngsters he has nurtured. After watching Dele Alli play this season it’s easy to forget that he is only 19 – he’s still a kid, yet he’s dictating play and scoring fabulous goals. These performances are indicative of a seasoned pro…not a kid! But its testament to how special this man, and as a follow Englishman I couldn’t wish him more luck in his development.
Striker – Jermain Defoe (Sunderland)
If there’s one player you shouldn’t be gifting chances to in the last ten years of Premier League history it is Jermain Defoe. His right foot is like a sniper, deadly accurate. At risk of using a cliché, Aston Villa were the architects of their own downfall and their kamikaze defending was always going to be punished by the predatory instincts of Defoe.
Striker – Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Anthony Martial has been quite quiet recently, which perhaps is down to the Louis van Gaal playing the striker on the wing. He looked creative, dangerous and dynamic against Swansea and his powerful runs into the box did the seemingly impossible…excite the Manchester United fans. For too long the United faithful have been forced to watch a dire style of football but against Swansea they were finally treated the football they deserve to watch, after all they are paying enormous sums of money to do so. Hopefully LvG will learn that Martial is his most effective playing up top, and not out on the wing.