Generation Next is our regular feature on Just Football profiling the best young talents in the world. And here’s another to keep an eye on – Atalanta’s bustling midfielder Franck Kessie… Last summer, when Genoa former coach Gian Piero Gasperini made the move to Atalanta, after seven wonderful years spent in Liguria (interjected by spells […]
Our latest look at the star performers in the Premier League continues now on Just Football. Who were the best players from Premier League week 23, a week full of upsets and poor showings from big players like Costa, Kane and Zlatan?
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Having put five past West Ham in the FA Cup third round at the beginning of January, Manchester City put four past them at the beginning of February in a convincing 4-0 win at the London Stadium.
GABRIEL JESUSSSSSSSSSSS!!! pic.twitter.com/Yn7nCmKJU2
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 1, 2017
The Brazilian teenager was signed by Man City in the summer but it was agreed in the deal that he wouldn’t officially join them till January. He is the only new player to have come into the City squad in the January transfer window but already looks ready to make an impact for the Manchester side.
The forward was selected ahead of Sergio Aguero for his first ever Premier League start and picked up a goal and an assist. All of Man City’s attacking players were on form in the game and the Hammers couldn’t handle their movement.
It took just 17 minutes for Gabriel Jesus to set up Kevin De Bruyne to open the scoring. De Bruyne picked up a loose ball before exchanging passes with Jesus and slotting into the bottom right corner from just inside the box.
Some fantastic wing-play from Leroy Sane set up David Silva to double the lead less than five minutes later. Jesus got his goal five minutes before half time when Raheem Sterling was played in and unselfishly squared to Jesus who had a simple finish from close range. A second half Yaya Toure penalty completed the rout.
City were the only top six side to win during the midweek fixtures but still remain outside the top four on goal difference.
Etienne Capoue (Watford)
In one of the most surprising results of the season so far, Watford clinched a 2-1 victory away to Arsenal thanks to first half goals from Younes Kaboul and Troy Deeney.
After a lacklustre and forgettable performance in the FA Cup against Millwall, few would have predicted this response from the Hornets and it seemed the Arsenal players didn’t either as they started the first half much worse than the visitors.
Etienne Capoue epitomised the Watford performance, especially early on as he and his teammates were hungrier and sharper than the home side. Capoue’s driving runs from midfield caused the Arsenal defence problems throughout the game and led to Watford’s second goal after only 13 minutes, adding to Kaboul’s deflected free kick.
After picking up the ball just inside the Arsenal half, Capoue ran at the Arsenal defence at pace, committing defenders and eventually seeing his shot saved by Petr Cech inside the box, luckily for Watford the ball fell kindly for Deeney who had a simple finish.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)
Swansea kept themselves out the relegation zone after picking up a 2-1 home win over Southampton. The win means Swansea have recorded back-to-back league victories for the first time since March 2016.
Once again it was their Icelandic playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson who was the difference for Swansea as he grabbed an assist and the vital winning goal. Sigurdsson now has seven assists and seven goals in the league this season which means he has been involved in half of Swansea’s total goals in the Premier League.
Sigurdsson is known as a set piece specialist and it was through a corner that Swansea took the lead on 38 minutes with Alfie Mawson heading in. Shane Long equalised after just ten minutes in the second half for the Saints but Swansea claimed the victory with a superb counter attack which saw new signing Luciano Narsingh cross from the left and Sigurdsson finish with a placed volley with his weaker foot into the bottom left corner.
Swansea now sit in 17th and have moved level on points with Leicester and Middlesbrough in the table. Swansea however have the second worst goal difference in the league and will be hoping Sigurdsson and co will lead them to many more victories in the coming months.
Eldin Jakupovic (Hull City)
Eldin Jakupovic produced a fine goalkeeping performance at Old Trafford to help his side Hull City claim a vital point against Manchester United. He joins the likes of Lee Grant and Tom Heaton who also produced man of the match performances at Old Trafford for their sides earlier in the season.
The keeper made six saves during the match as Hull stood firm, he had to stretch to keep out a Zlatan Ibrahimovic effort in the first half and be alert to deny Paul Pogba with a strong save after the Frenchman received the ball inside the box. His best save came of the game though came after 72 minutes as the ball found its way to Juan Mata, who from only a few yards out looked like he had a tap in. Jakupovic however, managed to get across and deny Mata a certain goal.
Jakupovic was second choice to David Marshall under Mike Phelan but seems to be new coach Marco Silva’s first choice. With displays like this it will be hard for Marshall to find a way back in the team.
Lamine Kone (Sunderland)
A resolute performance from Sunderland kept Spurs at bay as the game ended goalless at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland were able to welcome back Lamine Kone to the heart of their defence and the defender was in fine form, making several blocks and clearances to prevent the Spurs attack from finding a way through. His performance helped Sunderland restrict Spurs to just three shots on target despite the away side dominating possession.
Kone’s form was one of the main reasons that Sunderland stayed up last season but has struggled so far this season. If he can recapture the form from last year then Sunderland will have a much better chance to stay up.
Sunderland only managed to bring in a few players during the January transfer window but it may be that keeping hold of Kone and top scorer Jermain Defoe amid interest from Everton and West Ham, could prove the difference for the Black Cats.