European football, in the form of the Champions League and Europa League, has taken to the stage once again and weeknights have now become more interesting. However, what about the weekend’s domestic footballing action and who were the winners and losers this week?
1) SADIO MANÉ
Despite an indifferent start to 2017 for Liverpool, they defeated an in-form Tottenham side 2-0 on Saturday. This result was secured by a lightning quick brace by Sadio Mané who scored both of his goals within 138 seconds of each other. Mané was seen to leave a glaring hole in the Liverpool squad when he left for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and thus his return and Liverpool’s return to winning ways can only be good for them during the rest of the season.
2) SWANSEA CITY
Swansea have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence under new manager Paul Clement and their victory over current Champions Leicester City on Sunday showed their true quality as a team. Defenders Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson secured the win for The Swans with two wonderful goals and Swansea now find themselves in 15th place and four points above the relegation zone. A good week indeed.
3) BOLTON WANDERERS
Continuing the trend of including League 1 teams within this list, Bolton find themselves as the final winner of the week after defeating an in-form Walsall side 4-1. Walsall had only been beaten once in 2017 before Saturday and after four minutes they were ahead thanks to a fantastic strike from Erhun Oztumer. Yet their visit to the Macron Stadium finished pointless. Bolton ran riot after this and scored three goals in fifteen first-half minutes to take a commanding lead into the break. A late goal by Chris Long put the icing on the cake for The Trotters who closed the gap between themselves and Scunthorpe.
Déjà vu or what? Not one week ago Sunderland appeared on this list and I recounted my comment that they would be a familiar feature. Well they’re back and it’s wholly unsurprising they feature as the biggest loser. A 4-0 away victory at Crystal Palace was followed up by a 0-4 drubbing against Southampton at the Stadium of Light. Fans openly showed their displeasure at the performance and by the full-time whistle, huge sections of the home crowd had disappeared.
2) ASTON VILLA
Villa, under Steve Bruce, looked to have turned a corner and were becoming outside hopefuls for a play-off place. However, lack of form has hampered these aims and although Ipswich haven’t found themselves in the greatest form either, they were too much for Villa as they edged past them with a 1-0 at Villa Park. Fans of Villa claim that Steve Bruce has “run out of ideas” and their owner has taken to Twitter to post rather cryptic messages to his followers and Villains fans alike.
3) GRIMSBY TOWN
Grimsby travelled to Crewe Alexandra hoping for a victory against a team below them in the table. However, by the end of the 90 minutes, the Grimsby manager Marcus Bignot found himself apologising to the travelling fans after their humbling 5-0 defeat. The result was never in doubt with Grimsby behind since the 2nd minute and finding themselves four-down within half an hour. Even though the second-half only produced a solitary Crewe goal, Grimsby found themselves having a very bad weekend.