Tottenham were lucky to escape with a point on Saturday as Crystal Palace dominated the game, especially in the final twenty minutes and Spurs had their goalkeeper to thank as Lloris made several key saves. He has been the side’s best player this season and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move on in the summer as he is one of the best keepers in the world and he needs Champions League football. If Spurs didn’t have Lloris, they would be a lot lower in the table.
Alan Hutton has been brilliant since making his return to the Aston Villa line up in the summer, providing solidarity at the back and giving them an option when he goes forward. He made a number of dangerous surges down Villa’s right, and made many crucial interceptions at the back. He scored the winning goal with a great finish, but it was his movement that really made the goal. Late in the game, he was involved in an incident with Paul Konchesky, and his temper could prove to be a problem as the season progresses.
Newcastle went into Saturday’s match with a game plan and the return of captain Coloccini was integral to that. He managed to keep Diego Costa at bay and made a lot of key interceptions as his reading of the game was exceptional throughout. His leadership also played a huge role, especially in the final ten minutes as he organised his troops well enough to keep hold of the lead with ten men.
jManchester City had to grind a win out on Saturday after Sergio Aguero went off injured and the absence of their leader Vincent Kompany was also a hindrance. Eliaquim Mangala has had a lot of critics, but he was top class on Saturday, keeping Romulu Lukaku and Samuel Eto’o at bay. His positioning was good throughout, he made several key headed clearances, and his reading of the game was superb. He is looking more like the defender that Manchester City broke the bank for.
West Ham continued their excellent run of form at the weekend and full back Aaron Cresswell was again a solid performer. At the back, he is a dependable option, and he managed to prevent the wingers of Swansea from being as effective as they can be, while he managed to make an impact in the attacking half. His crossing ability is very good and he showed that on Sunday. He has proven to be a very good signing and could make a case to be included in the England squad if his performances continue at a high level.
Sunderland played well at Liverpool, with their central midfield getting the better of Liverpool for large portions of the match, with Liam Bridcutt playing a huge role in that. He took Lee Cattermole’s place in the line up and he showed he has the quality to play in the top flight as his ability has been questioned at times during his spell at Wearside. He made a lot of key tackles on Saturday, and got stuck in, while his passing range was good throughout. He deserves more chances as the month progresses.
Manchester United have hit a rich vein of form and that has coincided with the return of Michael Carrick who has been a consistent performer over the past number of years. He made a number of key contributions, and his leadership helped organise the defence when he was moved back into the back four. His passing range was great as always, and he calmed down the side after Southampton scored. He provides a platform for the likes of Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney to make an impact in the final third.
As a player moving to Newcastle from local rivals Sunderland, you need to make an impact and get the fans onside and Jack Colback has done that. His work rate and dependability have made him one of the first names on the team sheet at St James’ Park. On Saturday, he was excellent, closing down Chelsea midfielders, and putting in tackles at crucial times. His tackle on Eden Hazard was one of the best of the season so far as he managed to retrieve the ball and set up his side’s second goal.
Newcastle were struggling for goals at the start of the season and many saw the failure to sign a striker as a poor choice from the board, but the return of Papiss Cisse has shown that the club’s faith in him has been justified. He has scored 7 goals in 9 league matches, with a goals per minute ratio that all other strikers in the league would envy. He came off the bench against Chelsea, and his movement and striking instincts were the reason he scored twice. Both were good finishes as he inflicted a first defeat of the season on Chelsea.
Stoke City once again beat Arsenal at home, a result that should no longer be a shock to football fans, but the manner was incredible. They blew the visitors away with their attacking football and arguably should have led 4-0 as Bojan’s second goal should have counted. The forward’s work rate and skill on the ball made him a handful to defend against. The movement he displayed for his goal was good and the finish was decent. He is really starting to settle in England, looking more and more like a quality signing.
Many have doubted Andy Carroll as he continues to suffer with injuries and it’s feared he will never reach his undoubted potential. Some onlookers have even questioned whether he should be playing for West Ham considering the form of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho, but he showed his quality on Sunday. His dominance in the air was there for all to see as he scored two wonderful headers, and set up the final goal with a knock on. Swansea didn’t have an answer for Carroll all afternoon and if he stays fit, it will be a matter of time before he returns to the England set up.