Gameweek 6 — The Heroes and the Villains.
Hello and welcome to Gameweek 6’s edition of Heroes and Villains from @girishsekar. We start this weekend with both Manchester clubs separated just by alphabetical order.
1. Leroy Sane (Manchester City) vs Crystal Palace
After an array of cameo performances off the bench, the German was handed his second start of the season against a struggling Crystal Palace side. Given their previous games this season, Crystal Palace were much more organized and disciplined in their overall play even creating a few opportunities at the other end themselves.
It was towards the end of the first half that Sane unlocked the Palace defense with a brilliant bit of play, control and finish.
Apart from the flair in his play, he played like a proper winger when needed, running down the flank and delivering dangerous balls into the six yard area. One such occasion lead to wonderful pass into the feet of Sterling who didn’t have to break a stride to tap it into the goal for City’s second of the evening. He capped off the night with an inch perfect cross for Aguero to score his 6th of the season.
His movement off the ball was electric. His positional awareness and intelligence were a real plus to the team going forward. Pep Guardiola has a real problem in his team selection now that all his front men are scoring goals for fun.
2. Alvaro Morata (Chelsea) vs Stoke City
On the week that Chelsea finally agreed a deal with Atletico Madrid for the sale of Diego Costa, there were a lot of questions on whether Morata is ready to fill in his boots.
He answered the question in less than 90 seconds of the start of the game. A clever ball over the top from Azpilicueta, Morata timed his run to perfection staying onside, keeping his composure to slot home his first of the game. His run from near the half way line past three Stoke defenders and slotting it past Butland reminded us Premier League fans about the good old days of van Nistelrooy at Man United and Torres at Liverpool. He capped off a wonderful hattrick with a simple tap in and deservingly took the match ball and man of the match award home.
He was very clever throughout the game, making the right decisions on when to spin behind the defense, when to hold up the ball — just a class act. There is a sense of calmness about him that rubs on to the rest of the team. Having been in the shadows at Real Madird and Juventus, he is finally at a club where he is the main man. Exciting times ahead for Chelsea Football Club.
3. Oumar Niasse (Everton) vs Bournemouth
A goal down with little over 30 minutes, Koeman turned to the Senagalese striker who had scored in the 3–0 win over Sunderland midweek in the Carabao cup. Since coming on, his work rate, hunger to do well was just immense.
He was pressing from the front, helping out the midfield. It was in one of those presses where he won the ball in midfield, played a lovely one-two with Davies to get on to the end of it and fire a brilliant finish to level things up.
His body language was positive, he had aggression, positioning and killer instinct in front of goal — qualities that Everton have dearly missed since the departure of their star striker Lukaku. He was just a live wire up front.
Deservingly, he got the match winner providing Everton a much needed victory after a very shaky start to the campaign. He is the perfect example to young footballers out there. When Koemen first arrived at Everton, he openly criticized Niasse and was sent out on loan. He returned from a successful loan spell at Hull city only to find out that his locker was taken and was forced to train with the reserves. He showed that with hard work and dedication on the training pitch, any sort of impression can be changed. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring 3 goals in his last 2 appearances giving Koeman and Everton a strong striker up front with the desire to play for the badge on his shirt. Premier League fans can expect to see a lot more of him in the coming weeks.
Few people who deserve a mention in this week’s heroes are Harry Kane for scoring two goals and playing a big part in their win over the Hammers, Moussa Sissoko for his commanding performance in midfield, Ronald Koemen for swallowing his pride and giving Niasse the opportunity he deserved, Philippe Coutinho for his two assists in his first start for Liverpool this season, Cesar Azpilicueta for his two assists to his buddy Morata and Andreas Christiensen for yet another commanding performance in the absence of David Luiz.
1. Darren Fletcher (Stoke City) vs Chelsea
After conceding an early goal against the Champions, the last thing Mark Hughes’ side wanted was to make any silly mistake.
Unfortunately Fletcher had one of his bad days in a Stoke shirt. He chested the ball into Pedro’s path, who expertly dispatched it for Chelsea’s second of the evening.
Late in the second half, Stoke were piling the pressure with long balls into the box with Peter Crouch coming in as a substitute. At a set play, Shaqiri delivered a brilliant ball into the box, Fletcher had a wonderful opportunity to pull one back when the score was 2–0, but missed an unmarked header inside the 6 yard area with just Courtois to beat. Stoke fans will be hoping that this is just a one off game for their captain.
2. Alfie Mawson (Swansea) vs Watford
With just one win out of five, the swans were struggling to get results. They faced a tough game against an in form Watford side who have won both games on the road this season. It was a nervy game with Watford taking the lead through Gray and Tammy Abraham making an instant impact coming off the bench to level things up. With time running out, it would have been a very good point for Swansea.
A poor give away of possession by Roque Mesa led to one final attack for Watford. Mawson was very well positioned to handle the threat. Poor decision making, led to Watford’s Brazilian sensation run clean through and clinch the winner. Heart break for Paul Clement clearly evident in his tone at the post match interview.
3. Serge Aurier (Tottenham) vs West Ham
Having arrived from PSG on deadline day, the dynamic French international full back was handed his first start in the Premier League by Pochettino. He was solid at the back not having to do much defensively early in the game. He was having a very good debut, until he decided to lose his cool. Spurs were cruising at 3–0 playing some wonderful football and keeping good possession of the ball, almost a perfect away performance.
Having already been booked for a series of fouls, Aurier had no need to make that tackle near the half way line with his entire defense in front of him. He lost his head and made a clumsy tackle to bring down Carroll leaving the referee with no option but to show him his second yellow of the game and give his marching orders. Soon after his departure, West Ham had their tails up and almost got a point from the game if not for the referee not spotting a foul on Carroll inside the penalty area towards the closing stages of the game. Settling in a new team, new league, and new country is already hard on its own. Aurier has just made a little bit harder for himself.
Summary of results and a look at the table