After the International break, English football is back with a bang with the majority of Championship and Premier League teams playing two matches in a week. Lots of football was played and we saw the first confirmed relegation of the 2016/17 season of the Football League pyramid. Therefore, with such a lot of football to analyse, who were the winners and losers this week?
1) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
This week, Tottenham faced two difficult trips to the fortress that is Turf Moor on Saturday and the Liberty Stadium to face a resurgent Swansea City under Paul Clement. After dispatching Burnley on Saturday, courtesy of goals from Eric Dier and Son Heung-min, Tottenham went to Swansea full of hope. However, The Swans took the lead through Wayne Routledge and provided a seemingly impenetrable defence for the next 77 minutes. Yet, Tottenham’s class and resilience shone through as they scored three goals inside six minutes (88,90+1,90+4) to seal a remarkable comeback. To round off the week, Tottenham closed the gap at the top of the Premier League to seven points; the title looks unlikely but not impossible. Tottenham have to go down as the biggest winners this week.
2) MATT RITCHIE
Newcastle’s quest to get back into the Premier League at the first time of asking is looking successful as they took six points from two home games against Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion this week. One player that impressed was Matt Ritchie who scored two brilliant individual goals to seal the points for Newcastle. Unfortunate not to have three goals this week (I’ll get to that) Ritchie and Newcastle will be satisfied with this week’s performances and results.
3) DONCASTER ROVERS
Doncaster Rovers’ promotion push looks almost complete as their very impressive 5-1 victory against Grimsby on Saturday moved Rovers to one win away from returning to League 1. A small stutter last week against Plymouth was put behind them as they romped to victory, extending their lead at the top to six points, sixteen above Stevenage who lie in fourth. Driven on by striker John Marquis, who is attracting attention from teams across the Championship and Premier League, Doncaster’s week may be a pivotal one in their season and are deservedly a winner in this list.
1) DAVID MOYES
Not only has David Moyes seen his team lose two crucial games in the space of four days, but his comments towards a female journalist have been a major talking point. Moyes has struggled to win the support of many Sunderland fans this season and this latest headline will undoubtedly turn a few more fans against him. As Sunderland look to their next game and try to concentrate on their desperate need for points on-field they face a difficult trip to Manchester United, who themselves need to improve results. Attention, however, has been shifted to off-field matters involving their coach David Moyes, the biggest loser this week.
2) KEITH STROUD
And here we are… The decision that has baffled everyone involved with football. I’m not one to criticise referees as I realise the job they do is ridiculously hard, however, the decision to award Burton a free-kick after encroachment for a penalty, is truly baffling. To compound matters for Stroud and his team, there were considerable deliberations between the referee, fourth-official and assistant and yet, this incorrect decision was still made. Stroud has since offered an apology for his “lapse in concentration” yet the potential ramifications of this mistake, had Matt Ritchie not scored later on, meant an apology would have been minimal consolation to Newcastle fans. Keith Stroud has since been removed from his game at the weekend, making this week one to forget for him.
3) ROTHERHAM UNITED
Unfortunately, Rotherham have become an almost constant feature in these articles as their inevitable relegation to League 1 was confirmed after being defeated 1-0 at home by Fulham. This season for Rotherham has been very forgettable to say the least and with an uncertain future, a permanent manager is yet to be appointed, Rotherham need to utilise the next few months to ensure they do not suffer too much next season in League One, a very tough league to get out of, just ask neighbours Sheffield United.