With another weekend of Premier League football behind us, its time once again to pick out the heroes and villains from the action
Hero: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Where oh where would Arsenal be without this man? The fact they are currently only ninth in the table despite Aubameyang’s goal-scoring heroics tells you all you need to know about the Gunners dismal league campaign.
The former Borussia Dortmund man was on hand yet again on Sunday to save Arsenal’s necks in an entertaining 3-2 win over Everton. His first was an excellent, composed finish past Pickford into the far corner, while his second was a beauty of a header after a Pepe ball in.
Aubameyang now sits atop the Premier League goal scoring charts with 17 for the season so far, his well-taken brace enough to see off a constantly improving Everton side on Sunday.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 23, 2020
Villain: Giovanni Lo Celso
It takes an awful lot for Premier League match officials to hold their hands up and say they got something blatantly wrong. In all fairness, the lovely goal snatchers at Stockley Park would have been busy holding their hands up virtually for every game this season if they were to admit fault more often.
However, Giovanni Lo Celso’s stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta is one of those that gets worse the more you look at it, which makes the folks at VAR HQ’s decision to not dish out a straight red even more baffling. What are they watching over there?
Lo Celso’s tackle/blatant stamp was filthy and dangerous and none of us want to see that if we’re being honest. Nasty stuff.
VAR officials at Stockley Park have admitted they made a mistake over the decision to not send off Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea…👀
Frank Lampard says the way the incident was handled is "just not good enough". ❌ pic.twitter.com/izLaL2LD64
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 22, 2020
Hero: Diogo Jota
Not content with scoring a tidy hat-trick on Thursday night for Wolves, Diogo Jota dusted himself off to bag two more on Sunday against basement boys Norwich City.
His first was a tidy finish after a smart turn, his second was a poacher’s effort, as he stayed alive to the chance and was first to tuck home a headed ball back across the face of goal.
The Portugal international is on fire at the moment!
Diogo Jota has now scored 10 goals across all competitions this season for Wolves (excl. EL qualifiers).
Picking up where he left off on Thursday. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/P05clWRvX7
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 23, 2020
Villain: Kevin De Bruyne
There have been plenty of moments of sheer brilliance in Kevin De Bruyne’s Premier League highlight’s reel that have left grown men making squeaky noises of delight, neutral or not. The Belgian pass master has nothing to prove to anyone in this league but even that does not condone his antics against Leicester City on Saturday night.
Facing up to a James Maddison free-kick on the edge of the box, the 29-year-old threw his arms theatrically to protect his sweet kisser rather than simply heading the ball away or taking one for the team. With ball striking him blatantly on the arm, Leicester players went into meltdown as they were denied what looked a clear handball. As it was, De Bruyne got away with one but that sort of caper is pretty lousy all-round if we’re being honest, just head the bloody ball lad!
Hero: Olivier Giroud
The old warhorse was given the nod for Chelsea in their London derby with Spurs on Saturday. Given Chelsea’s abject form over the past few weeks, this was a must-win match and their 2-1 victory came largely in part to the veteran’s influence at Stamford Bridge.
Despite playing just 22 minutes of football since late November, the 33-year-old was primed and ready to apply an instinctive finish to break the deadlock on Saturday. His goal gave the home side control and took the France international to 10 goals in his 14 starts for Chelsea.
It begs the question, should he have been playing more regularly this season?
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 22, 2020
Villain: Ezri Konsa
The 22-year-old Aston Villa full-back may still be finding his feet in this team but he will have learned a valuable lesson in not switching off and doing the basics. Konsa simply allowed Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo to squeeze in a dangerous ball across the face of goal on Saturday at St Mary’s.
It looked as though the danger was gone and perhaps that’s why Konsa was caught napping and allowed the Mali international winger to nip and square a ball to Shane Long for the game’s opener.
It was sloppy defending which cannot be condoned when you’re in a relegation dogfight.