In the second installment of this new weekly fixture, the whole English professional football landscape will be analysed to unearth the true winners and losers of the recent weekend of footballing action.
A very easy answer this one. Everton welcomed Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and within 90 minutes had embarrassed the hopeful champions. Goals from Lukaku, Mirallas and strikes from youngsters Davies and Lookman helped the Toffees seal their best win of the season. The future looks bright after this performance and young Evertonian midfielder Tom Davies claimed the Man of the Match Award for his tireless efforts during the game. Also, Everton have deservedly received praise for their support for young, Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery who was given the experience of a lifetime of being mascot and meeting stars such as Romelu Lukaku, David Silva and Pep Guardiola. Everton are thus deserved recipients of being first on this list.
2) JAMES VAUGHAN
Bury, until this weekend, hadn’t recorded a victory since 27th September, over 20 games ago. Therefore when promotion-chasing Peterborough visited, fans at Gigg Lane feared the worst. However, they needn’t have worried. Up stepped James Vaughan to score four goals within twenty minutes, becoming the first Bury player to do so since 1995. Bury eventually won the game 5-1 and, in the process, moved out of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference.
3) DONCASTER ROVERS
Doncaster Rovers continued their great run of form in League 2 having lost just one league game since 22nd October. They travelled to Barnet this week, who themselves beat Doncaster’s main rivals Plymouth Argyle on 2nd January. A 3-1 win for Rovers ensured they maintained their four-point gap at the summit of League 2 with a return to League 1 looking ever increasingly likely. It is a good time to be a Doncaster fan, a phrase that has eluded Keepmoat regulars for some time.
I have a feeling this may become a familiar sight amongst these lists for weeks to come. Sunderland were defeated by Stoke at the Stadium of Light 3-1 with experienced striker Peter Crouch scoring his 99th Premier League goal. Despite a consolation from Jermaine Defoe, who else, Sunderland were outclassed all day by Stoke who finished the weekend in 11th.
2) PAUL POGBA
After re-signing for Manchester United for a world-record transfer fee, big things have been expected from Paul Pogba. However, this game was not one to remember for the Frenchman who conceded the penalty that James Milner duly tucked away past David De Gea. Pogba also received criticism from Jamie Redknapp who highlighted his inabilities to defend corners. Certainly, a game Pogba will choose to forget rather hastily.
3) CRYSTAL PALACE
Despite turning to survival expert Sam Allardyce, Palace have failed to win a game in the league under Big Sam. This weekend, they travelled to a West Ham side who were still recovering from the Dimitri Payet situation. Big Sam, a West Ham side without Dimitri Payet and playing at the still unfamiliar London Stadium, surely was a recipe for success for Palace. Instead, they came home empty-handed after suffering a 3-0 loss, including a wonder-goal from Andy Carroll. Not a good week by any stretch of the imagination.