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 […]
It’s been a hectic few days in the Premier League. After the weekend fixtures the teams were back in action in a packed midweek and play again this weekend. As such, this round of Names of the Premier League is extended – featuring those who impressed on the weekend and during the week. First, the midweek round…
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
League leaders Chelsea bounced back from their defeat to Crystal Palace by earning a crucial 2-1 win over Manchester City. They had a brace from Eden Hazard to thank for the three points at Stamford Bridge. The result maintains the seven point gap between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
It took just ten minutes for Chelsea to open the scoring. A pull back from Cesar Azpilicueta found Hazard on the edge of the area and his shot deflected off the head of City captain Vincent Kompany and past the keeper. From then on the match was an even affair. The visitors equalised after 26 minutes with Sergio Aguero scoring the rebound after David Silva’s initial shot was saved.
Chelsea though came back once again and found themselves in front ten minutes before the end of the first half. Fernandinho brought down Pedro in the box and although Hazard’s penalty was saved, the Belgian made no mistake when following up.
Manchester City had 61% possession in the game but this allowed Chelsea to counter-attack. Hazard caused the City defence all sorts of problems with his movement and pace, particularly his international teammate Kompany who got booked for fouling him.
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 5, 2017
Arsenal recorded their first league win since early February with a 3-0 victory over West Ham at the Emirates. The Gunners remain outside the top four, but are now just four points behind Manchester City with a game in hand. Meanwhile their opponents have now gone five matches without picking up a single point.
A poor first half meant both sides went in level but Arsenal broke the deadlock on 58 minutes. The much-criticised Mesut Ozil got the goal when his shot from the edge of the area found a way past Darren Randolph. West Ham can feel hard done by, though, as there was a handball by Theo Walcott in the build-up.
Once Ozil got the goal, the Arsenal players looked confident playing once again. Some fine link up play between Alexis Sanchez and Ozil ended with the German playing the ball across the box for Walcott to finish. A superb Olivier Giroud strike completed the scoring in the final ten minutes of the match.
When Ozil is on this kind of form, he is a joy to watch. There is no doubting his ability, but sometimes his application lets him down. Especially in the big games against the rest of the top six, he rarely has the impact a player of his talent should have.
Marc Albrighton (Leicester City)
Another Leicester City game, another Jamie Vardy goal, and another win for Craig Shakespeare. The Foxes battled to a 2-0 home win over Sunderland, whose relegation now looks all but certain.
For large periods of the match, quality was lacking. It was only when Shakespeare made two substitutions after 62 minutes that the game swung into Leicester’s favour. The introductions of Islam Slimani and Marc Albrighton proved pivotal and they both combined for the opening goal – just seven minutes after being brought on. Albrighton’s pin-point cross from the left found Slimani, who directed his header beyond Jordan Pickford and into the Sunderland goal.
Ten minutes later Leicester doubled their lead. Albrighton won the ball from Billy Jones before racing down the left. He played the ball into Vardy, who took one touch before smashing the ball into the top corner.
Albrighton is a player who is often overlooked when fans and pundits rave about the Leicester team but his endeavour and quality in his final ball make him a valuable player for the side. He proved the difference with his two assists against Sunderland.
Phil Jagielka (Everton)
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 5, 2017
A last-gasp penalty rescued a point for Manchester United and denied a battling Everton side the win. The two sides remain just three points apart – although United have played two games less than the Toffees.
Everton opening the scoring in the match after 22 minutes when a corner was flicked on by Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka cleverly nudged the ball through the legs of David De Gea. After that goal, the pattern of the game was set. Everton were happy to sit in and counter-attack while Manchester United constantly looked to break them down.
It looked as if Everton were going to hang on and take all three points with a defence – led by goalscorer Jagielka – standing strong. Luck seemed to be on their side, with United hitting the woodwork several times. It wasn’t to be though, as Luke Shaw’s goal-bound effort in the 93rd minute was handled by Ashley Williams. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the resulting penalty.
Despite conceding a late goal Ronald Koeman will be happy with the resilience shown by his side. Despite Manchester United having 18 attempts, only three hit the target. Meanwhile, Jagielka recovered from a shaky derby day performance to show he can still perform in the Premier League. And if you think they can pick up form in upcoming games you can use this link to bet on Premier League games.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
In a fiery contest, it was Liverpool who came out on top in the Merseyside derby. The Reds got a relatively comfortable 3-1 victory, although the result did come at a cost – Sadio Mane picking up an injury in the second half and could miss the rest of the season.
Philippe Coutinho was back to his best for Liverpool. The Brazilian had struggled for form in recent games, but having scored for his national team during the break he seemed to have rediscovered his confidence. He went close with a curling right foot strike shortly after Mane’s opening goal.
Everton did draw level just before the half hour mark against the run of play with youngster Matthew Pennington finishing after a corner kick wasn’t cleared by Liverpool. But the home side took the lead again just three minutes later. Coutinho once again picked up the ball on the left before beating two players and curling the ball into the top corner.
Everton never looked like coming back from that blow and Divock Origi completed the scoring for Liverpool after an hour. The substitute latched onto Coutinho’s through ball and emphatically fired the ball into the back of net.
Wilfred Zaha (Crystal Palace)
In a result not many fans would have seen coming, Crystal Palace battled to a hard fought 2-1 win away to league leaders Chelsea.
The opening five minutes went as most expected. Chelsea took the lead through some great wing-play from Eden Hazard. He then crossed for Cesc Fabregas to finish neatly. Chelsea fans would have expected their side to kick on but were shocked as Palace scored two goals in two minutes – just five minutes after going 1-0 down.
Palace’s first was scored by Wilfred Zaha and assisted by Christian Benteke. The two linked well before Zaha showed his power and pace, holding off challenges from three Chelsea defenders before striking low into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area. The duo then combined again for the second with a fortunate run of the ball from a Benteke run falling into the path of Zaha. The winger weighted a ball perfectly across for Benteke who showed composure to dink the ball over Thibaut Courtois.
Zaha is a player on a terrific run of form for both club and country. The winger also scored a superb solo goal for Ivory Coast during the international break.
Zaha already has more goals and assists than in any other season he has had in the Premier League and as a player with not only great ability but potential to still get even better, England may regret not persuading Zaha to play for them.
Andrew Robertson (Hull City)
— Hull City (@HullCity) April 5, 2017
Hull City kept their hopes of survival alive by coming from behind to beat West Ham 2-1 at the KCOM Stadium. Marco Silva has also maintained his remarkable home managerial record – he has not lost a home match for three years, in charge of four different clubs.
Andy Carroll gave the Hammers the lead with a calm finish. As a result, Hull came out in the second half knowing that they had to get some kind of result to stay within touching distance of the teams above them.
It was left wing back Andrew Robertson who got the equaliser ten minutes into the second half. He latched onto Kamil Grosiki’s through ball and cooly slotted past the keeper. An Andrea Ranocchia header five minutes from time meant Hull grabbed all three points ahead of a crucial home game against Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening, which they also won.
Robertson was hugely important for Hull against West Ham. The Scottish international had more touches and made more passes than any other Hull City player. He was also a willing runner down the left hand side and, at only 23 years of age, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Robertson in the Premier League again next season even if Hull aren’t.