Interesting Talking points from EPL Game-week 17
Presenting the Game-week that was in the EPL:
Yaya ‘The Leader’:
The Ivorian had failed to match his overall level of performances from last season, but came to life on Tyneside. An indirect assist and a goal will quantify his performance against Newcastle but there was much more quality in his surging runs, determination to win the ball and the defensive work he did in front of the backline. The midfielder wore the captain’s armband in Kompany’s enforced absence, and looked every bit a natural leader. With a performance like that, Man City are sure to miss his presence during the African Cup of Nations.
The Selfless Striker:
Ask Jermaine Defoe, the best finishers are supposed to be selfish when they sense an opportunity. But this season Robin Van Persie has clearly been trying to be more of an ‘assist’ guy. He even has been vocal about him trying to set up more goals than scoring. It was quite evident against Sunderland this week as he decided to play in Rooney on a couple of occasions where ordinarily a striker would have gone for a strike at goal. Amazingly, even with the ‘assist mode’ on he is the joint top scorer this season with Michu, both scoring 12 league goals. It surely makes us wonder as to how many he would score if he played the Defoe way.
The Afro Headbutt:
As far as giving opponents a tough time is concerned, no team does it better than Stoke. The match against Everton was a true testament to their physical style of play. It was enough to make perhaps the midfielder of the season Fellaini lose his temper. The grappling, pushing, pulling and touch-tight marking approach that Stoke and especially Shawcross used made Fellaini so frustrated that he lost his cool and head-butted Shawcross, although the impact was maybe not that great with the huge Afro that Fellaini sports.
Fellaini did come out and apologize but he now faces a three-match ban. On the bright side, being ruled out from the next three games he does get to enjoy Christmas a bit more than the other EPL players.
Getting safely across the last 10 minutes of the match…finally:
If not for the numerous comebacks that Manchester United have had this season, Spurs losing points in the final 10 minutes would have been the theme of the season. In just their last game, against Everton, they had conceded two goals after the 90 minute mark to lose 2-1. The scene was set for a repeat against high-flying Swansea this week. Leading 1-0 in the final 10 minutes, one could easily sense the nervousness among the crowd and the Spurs players. But, they did hold on to the lead even after eight-odd minutes of added time.
Harry, The Magician
The name ‘Harry’ thanks to J.K.Rowling is now synonymous with magic. What Harry Redknapp has achieved at QPR in a short term can certainly be termed magical. Unbeaten since he took over from Mark Hughes, and now their first win of the season. It’s not just the results, but the performances that look a level higher to the ones they were showing four to five matches ago. Christmas, for the QPR faithful and Tony Fernandes is starting to look a bit less gloomy.
Walcott, The Forward:
Arsene Wenger played Theo Walcott as a forward and not on the wings against Reading. They got the result they wanted, a win. But it raises questions over whether it was a ploy to make Walcott happy so that he signs the contract extension? or was it a move to increase the price of a possible January transfer.
Chelsea ‘The Project’:
Okay not Game-week 17 related, but Chelsea keep making records. The Champions League winners went on to lose the UEFA Super Cup, they were the first reigning champions to be knocked out of the Champions league at the group stage and they’ve now lost the World Club Cup!
What was that Hazard said while signing for Chelsea? ‘Chelsea have the best project’