It’s the time of the week when we take a look at who was a help and who was a hindrance to their teams during the latest round of Premier League action.
Hero: Jordan Henderson
Much maligned, Jordan Henderson retains a huge cohort of fierce, loyal supporters at Liverpool. The former Sunderland man is certainly a player with limitations, but what he does do, he does superbly.
The Red’s captain came off the bench at Southampton with his title chasing teammates level, but on the ropes and under the cosh.
Henderson came on, barking orders and fighting for the ball in the middle of the park. His influence and shrewd work on the ball helped Liverpool find enough quality to get the win on Friday night. He also got his first goal 65 games to cap a wonderful cameo. His three-in-one celebration was pretty epic too!
Villain: Asmir Begovic
Veteran shot-stopper Asmir Begovic, had a weekend to forget at the Vitality Stadium. The Bosnian saw his side go ahead early on against Burnley, only to hand them an equaliser almost immediately when he failed to get anything on a routine ball into the box. The ball looped past him and fell to Chris Wood who couldn’t miss from such close quarters.
The brain farts didn’t stop their either. The former Chelsea man should have done much better to keep out Ashley Barnes’s 56-minute effort, although in fairness he was abandoned by his entire defensive unit as they tried in vain to claim a throw-in on the right-hand side. Play to the whistle lads!
Hero: Jamie Vardy
The England international and Leicester City Rock star had endured a roller coaster of a season. Against Huddersfield on Saturday, he looked as though he had been smashing the energy drinks as he took the game to beleaguered an utterly relegated hosts.
A brace and an all-action performance took Vardy’s goal haul to 15 for the season as he looks to keep his position as the top dog under his new manager.
Villain: Caglar Soguncu
Not much has been seen of Leicester City’s Turkey international, Caglar Soguncu, since his arrival from SC Freiburg. On the evidence of his display on Saturday there may be a few hints as to why this is the case.
The 22-year old was afforded a rare start as Brendan Rodgers looks to see what he has to work with. On the surface, you can see why Manchester City were credited with interest in the former Bundesliga defender. A probing run forward and smart pass in the opening stages hinted at a player full of confidence.
However, in the second half, he was guilty of overly laid back defending as he stumbled on an easy ball on the edge of his own box, to gift Kaylan Grant a chance. He then duly raked his studs down onto the young Huddersfield forward to concede a cheap penalty. It was lousy, sloppy defending, which will get you punished one way or another in this league. Rodgers may well have Kolo on speed dial.
Hero: Wilf Zaha
Roy Hodgson will know just how crucial the former Manchester United winger is to his side’s capacity to stay in this league after yet another wonderful display by Zaha.
Newcastle were all over Palace but seemed powerless to prevent Zaha’s marauding, silky runs on the counter. It was yet another direct and aggressive sortie late on by the Ivorian which saw him brought down by Yedlin in the area for a crucial penalty.
Palace have high hopes for building a new stadium and cementing their status as a stalwart Premier League side, whether or not they can achieve these things may well hinge on their ability to keep Zaha this summer. Mind you, their asking price will be eye-watering and could well deter most suitors.
Villain: DeAndre Yedlin
Rafa Benitez is a manager who prides himself on the small details. Perhaps he should focus on the bigger ones too, as his American full-back continues to be a bit of liability.
Yedlin has got a great engine for sure, but his legs looked jaded as he got sucked into yet another dazzling run forward by Zaha late on Saturday’s clash at St James’s Park.
He simply couldn’t keep his ground, before tripping his man and giving away the most obvious penalty you’ll see. Maybe Rafa’s contract should have a new full back clause inserted it into it, if Ashley can be bothered to offer one that is.