Sam Bernard is back! He takes a look at who the standout performers where in a week where the stuttering Wayne Rooney snatched three-points at the home of arch-rivals Liverpool. The Blue half of Merseyside will also feel sorry for themselves as the officials, collectively, somehow failed to rule Terry’s 97th minute winner offside when it appeared blindingly obvious to everyone else. An impressive victory over Crystal Palace allowed Manchester City to maintain their title push.
Goalkeeper – David de Gea (Manchester United)
De Gea’s performance against Liverpool was nothing short of sensational, confirming that he is indeed one of the best keepers in the world. He showed why having a world-class goalkeeper can be the difference between winning and losing in these tight-affairs. Can’s thunderous shot looked destined to arrow into the back of the net and required an outstanding athletic save from the Spaniard to keep it out. This galvanised the United squad who duly went up the other and, perhaps, found their undeserved winner. United fans across the globe will be sighing a huge sigh of relief that Real Madrid have been handed a transfer ban, as they realise how important David is to their team.
Defender – Leighton Baines (Everton)
I can’t be the only one who has missed his rampaging runs down the left from the ever stylish Baines, the first pick in many a fantasy football team. Baines’ performance against Chelsea suggested that he was back to his best and it must have made Roy Hodgson very, very happy. With Luke Shaw injured for the foreseeable future Baines will, undoubtedly, be England’s first choice left-back for the European Championship in France come the summer. Baines was a constant nuisance for the Chelsea defence and his marauding runs down the left flank led to Terry inadvertently guiding the ball into the back of the net, as well as setting up Mirallas to finish smartly.
Defender – Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth)
I suspect many did put Daniels down to have one of the performances of the weekend on Friday, but he was imperious in a very important game over fellow-promotees and relegation-rivals Norwich – a real six-pointer. Bournemouth came on top and comfortably so. Charlie Daniels helped himself to a goal and an assist in a victory that will give Bournemouth a great deal of confidence that they can avoid the drop.
Defender – Jose Fonte (Southampton)
The Saints skipper helped a resurgent Southampton nullify the Baggies attack, so much so that they failed to register a single shot on goal. The Saints look to be a in a healthy place right now following some positive results and the signing of Charlie Austin. If Fonte arrives on with these dominant performances Southampton will soon climb up the table to where they belong.
Defender – Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool)
Sakho’s performance warranted not being on the losing side of this game. He made a simply outstanding tackle on the edge of his own box when everyone seemed to be calling for a penalty. Sakho, for the most part, was equal to Manchester United’s attacking threat. Liverpool deserved to win this game and the fact they didn’t was an outrage.
Defender – Ashley Williams (Swansea)
The combination of Deeney and Ighalo this season for Watford has caused teams far better than Swansea a whole host of problems. But due to the heroics at the back of the Swans’ captain Watford were restricted to pot shots from distance, that was all too comfortable for Fabianksi. Watford never looked like scoring in a game that has now moved the sole Premier League Welsh club out of the bottom three. With the arrival of Francesco Guidolin as the new boss things are starting to look better for Swansea. I’m comfortable in predicting that Swansea will be in the Premier League next season. Williams scored the winner with a powerful header that whistled past Gomes into the back of the net.
Midfielder – Jonjo Shevley (Newcastle)
We have known, since his Liverpool days, that Jonjo possesses extraordinary talents; it just feels sometimes that he lets this go to waste and that’s a real shame. However, he has started a new chapter in his career in Tyneside, in which feels like a very sensible move for all parties involved. Newcastle desperately needed a creative spark in the centre of midfield, with someone that could bring the ball forward to utilise the attacking strengths of Mitrovic and Wijnaldum. For all of Anita’s and Colback’s hard work and workrate, they are simply a class below Shelvey. His ball for Daryl Janmaat to cross for Wijalndum to score was simply Gerrard-esque, obviously Shelvey must have been paying close attention in his time in Merseyside. He did appear to take West Ham’s Enner Valencia out of the game following an off-the-ball collision, but Newcastle fans won’t mind this as it shows he possesses some fight in him, something they have been crying out for all season.
Midfielder – James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
In just 30 minutes of football against a very ordinary West Brom side, Ward-Prowse doubled his career tally. He has previously only scored twice in 114 matches. We have known for a while now that he has a certain knack when it comes to set-pieces and his first goal was a beautifully taken free-kick. His second-goal also came from a set-piece following a confident penalty. Southampton look to be getting their season back on track and confidence will be high following the capture of Charlie Austin for a measly £4 million.
Midfielder – Kevin Mirallas (Everton)
I feel Mirallas has been somewhat overshadowed a bit this season by the excellent performances of Lukaku and the progression of Barkley, yet he still posseses huge talent, rapid pace and an eye for goal and this was all on show at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Everton deserved to win this game and I would go as far to say that they were robbed of the three-points by a questionable decision to play on well past the allocated injury time and then, criminally, failing to call Terry offside when he was a yard or two past the last defender. Mirallas scored a neat goal and forced fellow-Belgian Courtious to make some fine saves. Mirallas could have easily scored a hattrick in the game and made the highly-rated Zouma look nothing short of average.
Midfielder – Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
The Dane was heralded as the next big star in world football while he was captain of Ajax. Since signing for the North London club he was not quite hit those heights but he has shown glimpses of his irrefutable talents, albeit far too inconsistently for him to be labeled as world class. Spurs were average against a struggling Sunderland but fortunately they had the capacity to produce a touch of class through the ability of Christian Erikson. On this occasion he got two goals, with the help of a deflection (s), which played a big part in Spurs’ victory. Can Spurs get top four? I think so. Can they challenge for the title? No.
Attacker – Sergio Aguero (Manchester City
City overran Palace completely this weekend and Sergio Aguero was the thorn in the side of the usually solid pairing of Scott Dann and Damien Delaney. Aguero had his two goals spoon-fed to him by his teammates in reality, but he showed is unquestionable talent by being in the right place at the right time. Aguero’s talents are such that he somehow stands out in a team full of superstars. With Aguero in the team City look so much better and if Pellegrini wants to win the league in, perhaps, his swan-song year, he better cross every part of his body that Aguero stays fit for the rest of the season.