This weekend’s football was a bit of an odd one as we only had 4 games due to other Premiership teams still being involved in FA Cup action. However with the international break now upon us, I felt that it was right to still discuss the 4 matches that were played in the league and pick up the other matches when they are rearranged.
Liverpool felt they had a point to prove following defeat to Manchester United and took out their anger on Watford in a 5-0 demolition. Elsewhere, Crystal Palace picked up a vital 3 points at Huddersfield, while their relegation rivals Stoke and West Brom both fell to defeats at home to Everton and away to Bournemouth respectively.
The Prince of Egypt
Who would have thought that the guy who made only 19 appearances in all competitions over a 2-year span at Chelsea would go on to be the clear front-runner for Player of the Season for Liverpool this season? Mohamed Salah never looked good enough for the Chelsea teams of 2013/14 and 20124/15 and though he did better at Roma, there was still little to suggest the sensation that he would be for the Reds this season.
We always knew that he had pace, but he has also showed incredible footwork and strength on his way to topping the Premier League goal scoring charts with 28 goals (so far). He has been equally prolific in other competitions too and currently has 36 goals from 41 appearances in all competitions this season. Those are almost Messi/Ronaldo figures. It will be very interesting to see if he can keep these statistics going for multiple seasons – something that many players struggle with. What makes him even scarier is that he is not even a striker but a wide player, so I am not surprised to see him near the top of the assist charts (joint third with 9, behind only Leroy Sané and Kevin De Bruyne). It is no surprise that Roberto Firmino is having his best return of goals in his professional career this season with players like Salah catching the defenders’ attention.
He is an incredible talent and providing he continues to get the support from his teammates the sky could be the limit for the Egyptian. Liverpool now just need to hope they can hold onto him!
Crystal Palace’s 2-0 win at Huddersfield was a huge result for them. They had been on a bad run of form as their team was blighted by injuries, but this victory pulled them closer to safety while dragging Huddersfield back into the mix. Palace currently lie in 16th but while they could drop back into the relegation zone if Southampton and West Ham win their games in hand, they would only lie 1 point away from safety!
Roy Hodgson has proved me wrong with the way he has salvaged Palace’s season from such a poor start and it has only been the injuries to many of his key players that has halted their march to safety.
Wilfried Zaha may have moved to United too soon and seen his career stall, but he has been revitalised back at Palace and shown the talent that he has. He causes so many problems for defenders and they are often left with the decision of letting him get away from them or fouling him. With all their remaining matches coming against teams who are mid-table or higher, Hodgson needs to hope he and his fellow key players can keep a clean bill of health to the end of the season. If so, they may just have enough to pull off what at one point looked unthinkable and stay in the league.
Round 32 predictions:
Crystal Palace v Liverpool – Liverpool win
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City – Leicester win
Manchester United v Swansea – United win
Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town – Newcastle win
Watford v AFC Bournemouth – Watford win
West Bromwich Albion v Burnley – Burnley win
West Ham United v Southampton – Draw
Everton v Manchester City – City win
Arsenal v Stoke City – Arsenal win
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs win