POTW Son Heung-min
The top spot this game week is rightly occupied by the ever-smiling South Korean. Tottenham Hotspur is getting used to the Wembley ground and are slowly getting back into the Top 4 fight after their October/November struggles at home against overly defensive sides. Son plays alongside the league’s deadliest and record-breaking striker (a.k.a. Harry Kane). However, Kane is not the only big record holder on Spurs, as Son overtook Park Ji-Sung’s 19 top-flight goals to become the highest scoring Asian player back in November.
Son keeps finding himself in the right place and in the right time. This was the case when Serge Aurier’s cross-shot was guided into the goal by Son for the game’s opener.
Everton was aiming to get back into the game, when Son’s assist (although in my view it was a pure goal attempt and was going in) for Harry Kane’s first goal of the day finished it. He hit the post later on and didn’t let the Toffees’ defenders breathe until the final whistle. Oh yes, he was also involved in the final goal of the game by Christian Eriksen. Son ended up with six shots (equal to Harry Kane), 13 fantasy points, a MOTM trophy and a champagne bottle.
It was his eighth goal and fifth assist of the campaign. The South Korean has scored seven times in his last eight games with five in a row now at Wembley, becoming the second player to do this following Jermain Defoe’s heroics 14 years ago. He is selfish, but that’s only helping the Spurs (and Harry Kane) score more and climb the rankings. The future is again looking bright for the Spurs.
Marko Arnautovic & Manuel Lanzini
I struggled to draw the line between the Austrian and the Argentine, as both were on fire this weekend. The pair trolled its owners in the first double game week of the season with the returns of five and six points respectively. Whoever remained loyal (or simply didn’t want to take a hit and kept them - myself included:) ), were rewarded with 16 points from Marko (including three bonus points) and 14 from Manuel (two).
What impresses me are Lanzini’s four shots (compared to Arnautovic’s one), while playing behind the main striker. David Moyes is setting his team from the back, which means that their counter-attacking game should be spot-on, which West Ham United will need in order to remain in the Premier League this season. Huddersfield Town has been struggling defensively lately and additionally opened up while searching for the break-through second goal. It was gladly exploited by West Ham and the game was over with 30 minutes left to play. With the next four games against AFC Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Watford FC (all three at home) and Brighton & Hove Albion (away), is now the right time to invest in the Hammers?
There were serious concerns regarding how the post-Coutinho era would kick off at Anfield. And what a response it was, with Liverpool dispatching Manchester City’s once solid defense, scoring four times including three goals in just nine minutes. Firmino was very frustrated with his Brazilian comrade’s departure, but didn’t show any sign of displeasure with an electrifying performance.
Bobby exposed the positional vulnerability of John Stones, when giving the Scousers the lead with a crisp finish off the post. He also assisted (through a great tackle) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the opening goal. He unfairly missed out on a big bonus point return, but still rewarded his owners with eight points.
The Frenchman shone again, in what (based on the scoreline) may look like a comfortable win for the Red Devils. It wasn’t all plain vanilla though, as Stoke City had some strong spells and asked really solid questions from the magnificent David De Gea and ever solid Phil Jones. Paul Pogba assisted the first two goals with his already trademark pinpoint passing and exquisite vision.
Nemanja Matic’s positional game enabled Pogba to spend most of his time in the Stoke half and show his attacking trickery. If he remains fit and can avoid unnecessary emotional outbursts, the Manchester United man is becoming tough to ignore at his asking price of mere £8.0m. He ended up with 11 points, while earning two bonus and one clean sheet point in the progress.
Those are my thoughts on GW23. Who is your POTW? Let’s vote and chat.
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