Another weekend of Premier League action draws to a close, with Liverpool edging further clear in their quest to end their 30-year title drought thanks to their win over Spurs and Leicester’s defeat to an in-form Southampton.
As always, here are The Football Faithful‘s heroes and villains from the weekend’s top-flight football.
Hero: Danny Ings
This is proving to be very much the season of Southampton‘s Danny Ings. 14 goals by mid-January is tidy by anyone’s standards. Yeah, there may well be more fashionable names out there in this league, but Ings is certainly a talented striker and while Southampton have him fit and firing, they will always have a route to three points.
His match-winner against Leicester was superbly taken and moves the Saints up to 12th place, level on points with Arsenal. Not too shabby at all.
Not that you're counting, @IngsDanny 😉 pic.twitter.com/lYBCltCPHl
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 11, 2020
Villain: Tim Krul
When you are bottom of the league and hard up for any sort of luck, you need your experienced heads to step up and help from time to time. Clearly Tim Krul didn’t get this memo as the former Newcastle Keeper duly lunged way off his line in some mad dash to win a ball he was never going to win against Manchester United‘s Brandon Williams on Saturday.
The Netherland’s international clumsily brought down the youngster for the most clear-cut penalty that you’re likely to see. It left the Canaries 2-0 down at Old Trafford and with a mountain to climb.
Hero: Marcus Rashford
In that aforementioned mismatch at Old Trafford, Norwich City were subjected to the prolific prowess of Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford. The England international is on a hot streak and was in no mood to slow down against the Canaries as he tormented their brittle defence during a fine afternoon’s work.
The 22-year-old bagged two more goals to take him to 19 for the season in all competitions, second only to Man City’s Raheem Sterling.
With Harry Kane out until April, he could become England’s most important forward on current form.
after 200 senior appearances:
Cristiano Ronaldo – 47 goals & 41 assists.
Thierry Henry – 50 goals & 11 assists.
Marcus Rashford – 64 goals & 31 assists. 🇾🇪 pic.twitter.com/ZlOp9jH9Ij
— UTFR 🇾🇪 (@ManUtd_HQ) January 12, 2020
Villain: Nick Pope
It wasn’t a great weekend for Burnley to be honest. Well beaten away at Chelsea, four points above the drop zone after 22 matches and their normally solid goalie, Nick Pope, making a real mess of a tame header from Tammy Abraham.
Okay, so Ben Mee (and for reasons unbeknown to anyone but Ben Mee) decided to try and block his own goalkeeper off as a Reece James ball dropped dangerously in the six-yard box. However you’d expect a decent keeper at any level to be saving that or at least getting something on it.
It was pretty dire stuff from the England international and left Burnley with far too much to do in West London.
Hero: Sergio Aguero
It has been a while since Man City‘s Sergio Aguero has made it onto our world-famous heroes list but he is deservedly restored to his rightful place this weekend after a masterclass in elite finishing during a 6-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.
The Argentine’s superb hat-trick saw him surpass Thierry Henry as the Premier Leagues all-time leading foreign goalscorer, and eclipsed Alan Shearer’s long-standing record of 11 hat-tricks, while his 177th top-flight goal also drew him level with Frank Lampard in the all-time goal scoring charts.
Three legends of the English game equalled or eclipsed in just one sentence, not bad eh?
Sergio Aguero moves ahead of Thierry Henry in the Premier League all-time goalscoring charts ⬆️⬆️⬆️
Frank Lampard, you're next.#AVLMCI pic.twitter.com/WAKaweW0Kf
— Goal (@goal) January 12, 2020
Villain: Danny Drinkwater
In fairness, this could be pretty much any Aston Villa player from this weekend, but Drinkwater takes the gong for personifying the lack of ambition, willing and general half-hearted pressing from the home side.
The experienced Drinkwater should be the man marshalling the midfield, barking orders and throwing himself into tackles. Instead, he looked disinterested for two of the City’s first-half goals and was at the centre of a generally passive, standoffish Villa midfield.
Danny Drinkwater was dribbled past 6 times on his Aston Villa debut.
Miles off the pace. 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/vNcKzBbXm4
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 12, 2020
Yes, he has missed a lot of football but you need to be showing better effort against top-class opposition. Villa fans should ask for their money back after this shambolic display.
Read – Carragher uses Man Utd example to highlight Liverpool’s ‘fantastic’ recruitment and to ‘credit’ Jurgen Klopp
See also – Tweets of the Week: Southampton’s revenge, Tinder breaking transfer news, and the REAL Premier League table