Hero – Salomon Rondon
The Venezuelan will be the toast of Tyneside following Newcastle‘s 2-1 victory of Bournemouth on Saturday. The former West Brom man was in terrific form for The Magpies, in what was only his fifth start this season. He’s never going to win you trophies and titles, but in Rondon, Benitez can call on a man who at least looks as though he can lead a line with the quality required in the Premier League.
Villain – Dale Stephens
A real horror tackle from Dale Stephens on Saturday saw Cardiff’s Gregg Cunningham lucky to avoid a serious injury. The Brighton midfielder lunged in with his foot high and body out of control in the first half of their 2-1 defeat to the Bluebirds. Cunningham has suffered two leg breaks already in his career, so it was with some relief that he avoided injury. Brighton were left to rue Stephens’s dismissal as they were left short and caught out with a late winner in the Welsh Capital.
Hero – Jordan Pickford
Pickford just needs to grow a goatee beard and a ponytail and he’d be the reboot of 2010 David Seaman. England’s number one was in fine form at The Bridge as he made four really vital saves for his team. His flying acrobatics to keep out Morata and Alonso were excellent and he looks a real asset to Everton at the moment.
Villain – Bernard
From a hero in goal to a muppet in midfield. Everton were lucky to have eleven men on the pitch as Benard avoided a red card after a severe case of handbags with a man nearly twice his size, Antonio Rudiger, in the first half. The Brazilian clearly wasn’t watching his side’s recent away game at Bournemouth when his compatriot, Richarlison, was sent off for a similarly daft faux headbutt. It’s a really stupid and spineless way to be dismissed and Silva will want to see more maturity from his men in future games.
Hero – Sol Bamba
He’s done it again! Cardiff’s best stand-in goalkeeper and weekly regular on this feature was making headlines at the other end of the pitch this weekend. After some penalty area pinball, Sol Bamba smashed home his side’s winner from about six centimetres out before ripping his shirt off in wild celebrations with the home fans and players. He also gets bonus points for avoiding a booking after telling the confused ref that he’d left his shirt on during the celebrations. Oh,and he was offside for the goal too. Full house.
Villain – Simon Hooper
It’s always a cheap shot to put in a referee as a villain, but Simon Hooper just cannot get away from it this weekend. In charge of just his fourth Premier League game on Saturday, this ref could be back at a Sunday League game near you very shortly after his monumental cock-up at St Mary’s.
First, he missed a blatant penalty on Nathaniel Chalobah for Watford, before disallowing Charlie Austin’s goal for alleged offside on Maya Yoshida. The Japanese international was deemed to be interfering with play despite him being nowhere Austin’s strike nor seriously impeding Ben Foster’s view. It was really dire stuff from Hooper, who in fairness, needed more help from his assistants. None of them will be on Charlie Austin’s Christmas card list this year, although his post-match rant was pretty epic.