As another weekend of Premier League action passes us by, it’s time to take stock and decide which players were a help or a hindrance to their sides over the weekend.
Hero: Raul Jimenez
The Mexican is on fire at the moment as he continues to inspire Wolves to huge success since their return to the top flight last season. The 28-year-old was at his brilliant best against Southampton after the Black Country club staged a dramatic, and fully deserved comeback on the south coast.
The brace from the former Benfica striker means he is now Wolves’ all-time leading Premier League goalscorer and has contributed more goals and assists in all competitions this season than any other player in the division. Not too shabby at all.
Raul Jimenez vs Southampton
— Talking Wolves (@TalkingWolves) January 18, 2020
Villain: Steve Cook
While we’re always up for defenders throwing their bodies on the line for the cause, we’re pretty sure that Eddie Howe will not have been encouraging his centre-backs to make worldie saves in the box.
As impressive as Steve Cook’s save was against Ondrej Duda, it was more than just a bit stupid from the Bournemouth veteran and left the Cherries a goal down after Teemu Pukki powered home his spot-kick and with just 10 men.
A highly comical moment, though not so much for 19th place Bournemouth.
No player has a better save % in the Premier League this season than Steve Cook (100%).
What a save! 🧤 pic.twitter.com/fF2IzcUCzo
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 18, 2020
Hero: Jack Grealish
When you’ve just been walloped 6-1 at home and are sitting uncomfortably in the relegation zone, you need someone, somewhere on the pitch to lift you. For Aston Villa, they had their Roy of the Rovers in the middle of the park to salvage things away at Brighton.
Facing another defeat on the road, and with just 15 minutes to go, Grealish took control of a Douglas Luiz pass with real quality before lashing the ball into the back of the net to rescue a precious point. It was Grealish’s ninth goal of the season as he looks to keep his boyhood club in the top flight this season.
He is in dire need of some help from his teammates if Villa are to beat the drop though.
I don’t have a scooby what u just said but thanks for the assist bro 🥳😘
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) January 19, 2020
It was a painful end to the game for Manchester City‘s Brazilian veteran Fernandinho on Saturday. The 34-year-old tumbled the ball into the back of his own net in the final minute of the 90, gifting Crystal Palace a big point and further damaging the defence of their title.
The stand-in centre-half has struggled to fill the void in the back four at times this season, but in fairness to the Brazil international, if he hadn’t tried to clear Wilfried Zaha’s cut back, he would have left an ocean of space for Connor Wickham to tap home; dammed if you do, damned if you don’t!
When you’ve just caught a ball with one minute remaining on the clock, facing your biggest rivals at home with a slender 1-0 lead, you’d forgive any keeper for dropping down, scooping up and tacking an age with the kick out. Liverpool‘s Alisson had other ideas though.
Given this exact circumstance on Sunday against Manchester United, and spotting Mo Salah in acres of space, the Brazilian perfectly thundered a ball down the field to the Egyptian who duly slotted home in front of The Kop to kill the game and help the Reds move 16 points clear of City.
It was the first time a Liverpool keeper has assisted a Premier League goal since 2010, though that is hardly surprising considering Simon Mignolet, Loris Karius and Brad Jones have been on the clubs books for most of that decade.
Alisson ran the length of the pitch to celebrate with Mo Salah 🤝 pic.twitter.com/Fgw5a8i1ck
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 19, 2020
Villain: Jamie Vardy
You’d put your house on Jamie Vardy converting a penalty this season, given the Leicester forwards explosive form under Brendan Rodgers.
On a freezing afternoon in Lancashire and with the game in the balance, Vardy had the chance to restore his side’s lead after the excellent Harvey Barnes was brought down by Burnley’s Ben Mee for a clear penalty.
Uncharacteristically, Vardy chose to go all Michael Owen with this spot-kick and struck a tame effort at a perfect height for Nick Pope to save. It was a surprising cock-up from the usually prolific striker, and it ultimately cost his side dearly as the Clarets bagged a late winner.