Category: Weekly Winners & Losers

England’s winners and losers Premier League week 5


Jamaal Lascelles

2 goals in 2 games and leading a stiffening defence. Young and improving and a team captain. England call up next month?

John Stones

It’s been some week for Stones. He doubled his career goal tally on Wednesday and another excellent ball playing display on Saturday. Now he just needs to do it against a side who actually attack.

Jermain Defoe

Finally got going for Bournemouth with a much needed goal that finally put some points on the board for The Cherries. That’s 17 successive seasons he’s scored in- a great stalwart of the Premier League who still looks razor sharp.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

With games against City, United and Liverpool on the horizon it’s looking grim for Palace. But Loftus-Cheek provided a rare chink of light at Selhurst Park, purposeful and threatening he looks the player most likely to end their scoring duck- Christian Benteke take note.

Fraser Forster

Outstanding from Forster- his best performance for 2 years and well timed with Tom Heaton out for a while- may persuade Gareth Southgate to keep calling up 4 keepers at a time.


Marcus Rashford

He’s allowed one off day! But Rashford looked off the pace against Everton in an odd Man United team display- brilliant start and finish but poor for 70 minutes in the middle. Rashford was hooked after 61 minutes.

Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain

Even when Jurgen Klopp rotated his captain out of midfield he didn’t give the Ox his first Liverpool start. Notably James Milner joined Liverpool to play his preferred central midfield role and ended up at leftback, maybe they should compare notes.

Tom Cleverley

Prior to Saturday he’d had a quietly impressive start to the season, Man City put paid to that. In truth you could point the finger at random at any Watford player but as an experienced head Cleverley should have done better- Will Hughes may be knocking on Marco Silva’s door this week.


England’s winner and losers Premier League Week 2


Phil Jones

Who’d have thought it, Phil Jones has been excellent this season. Fitting neatly into Mourinho’s land of the giants Jones has benefited from his manager’s unwillingness to trust new boy Victor Lindelof. He’s kept 2 clean sheets almost got a goal and has yet to do anything clumsy or stupid. Yet.


Harry Maguire

Maguire was the one defender who looked competent in Leicester’s opener with Arsenal. Against Brighton he was masterful, defending solidly, pushing forward, spraying around some nice passes and scoring. If there’s such a thing as a £17m bargain Maguire is it.


Jack Butland

Exceptional against Arsenal, Butland will surely be between the sticks against Malta when he may require a chair.

Nat Chalobah

Quiet last week, Southgate would probably have called him up to make a point about the need to play every week rather than sit on a champions league bench. No need for such politics based on his commanding display at Bournemouth. Except for that ‘Leave it’ incident, that was sh$te.

AFC Bournemouth v Watford  - Premier League

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Gave the best performance of his fledgling Everton career at the Etihad. He has pace, provided an outlet an played Rooney in for Everton’s goal. Significantly he was picked to start over Alex Sandro.

Raheem Sterling

It wasn’t looking good for Sterling or City when Pep Guardiola sent him on at half time against Everton. His blast over the bar when it looked easier to score pointed to familiar failings but his fine finish for the equaliser suggested he’s learning. Looked sharp and creative as the 10 men searched for a goal.


Joe Hart

Moved to West Ham to reassert his authority, West Ham have conceded 7 goals in 2 games. Hmm.

Daniel Sturridge

Got a start and his big chance, he didn’t play badly but never looked like scoring in the 61 minutes he was on. 12 minutes after taking him off Liverpool got the break through with subs Mo Salah and Dom Solanke prominent in getting the Reds over the line. Sturridge may be waiting until the League Cup for his next chance.

Jesse Lingard 

2 games into the season and Jesse Lingard has played 2 minutes of premier league football.  Worse still Anthony Martial has come off the Manchester United bench twice to score, relegating Lingard to plan C meanwhile United are being persistently linked with a late transfer move for a wide man, uh oh.





Scouting England’s winners & losers- Premier League Week 1

It’s a World Cup season so which England hopefuls caught the eye this weekend and who wishes they hadn’t.

Jamie Vardy

After a poor 2016/17 campaign Vardy looked to be slipping out of England contention whilst Leicester signed Iannacho and retained Slimmani. But against Arsenal Craig Shakespeare opted for the old money of Vardy & Okazaki- they repaid him with 3 goals. Vardy torched Arsenal’s shaky back 3 with his searing pace and deadly finishing. Only 13 PL goals last season suddenly feels a long time ago.


Wayne Rooney

This was always going to happen, Rooney does love a debut goal and from his number 10 role Rooney not only scored, he produced his best all round display for well over a year at Goodison Park. It’s too early to talk about a recall but Rooney remains in contention, it’ll be fascinating to see how he gets on at the Etihad next week.

Premier League - Everton vs Stoke City

Kyle Walker

Man of the match on debut, Walker couldn’t have asked for much more. Far tougher defensive tests await but Walker confirmed what we already knew- he’s the best right back in the country.


Kyle Walker-Peters

The under 20 World Cup fullback was one of only 2 members of that squad who started this week. He gave an assured debut display for Spurs at Newcastle.  Maybe worth checking if there’s a Kyle Walker III in the Tottenham academy.

Jay Rodriguez

After 3 horrendous injury ravaged years Rodriguez gave a fine, energetic performance on his West Brom debut. Didn’t notch a goal but an encouraging display none the less.

Marcus Rashford

Playing as a left forward rather than central striker, Rashford terrorised West Ham’s backline with his pace and direct running, Lukaku rightly grabbed the headlines but Rashford was sensational.


Rob Holding

Ok playing in a back 3 with 2 leftbacks (1 on debut the other Monreal) always looked like a hiding to nothing, but Holding was rotten. He looked caught in no mans land between Mark Albrighton (who he failed to close down for Leicester’s second goal) and the front 2, he gave away possession looked uncertain throughout and was subbed after 66 minutes. What on earth was Callum Chambers thinking sat in his suit on the Arsenal bench, ‘where’s my agent?!b*$tard must have died’ at a guess.

Demarai Gray

Reports of Riyad Mahrez’s demise appear greatly exaggerated. Gray needs minutes but he won’t get them sat behind Mahrez.

Jermain Defoe

Needs to score 15 goals this season to get one last shot at a World Cup, not easy to do if you’re sat on the bench, can he play in tandem with Josh King? Eddie Howe appears to have his doubts, worrying.

Gary Cahill

Red carded 14 minutes into his club captaincy, at least there’s no danger of him being injured when Southgate announces his first squad.

Jonjo Shelvey

Utter fool! Shelvey has always been prone to a meltdown but his straight red for standing on Dele Alli was barmy. No danger of those 2 playing together for England anytime soon.


England Playing Stat

Number of player available to England starting PL games this week- 70 (32%)

England internationals currently unavailable: 5- Clyne, Trippier, Rose, Shaw, Lallana, 




England’s Losers 2016-17

Wayne Rooney- Old father time seems to have finally caught up with England’s record goal scorer. Rooney looks slow, short on confidence and appears to have no future in the Premier League, Southgate made his call and has precious little reason to back track… for now.

John Stones- £49million looks a staggering sum to have paid for Stones now. One year on Stones is facing the mother of all crunch seasons at City (and by proxy with England). Get it right he might be the next Gerard Pique, get it wrong he’s the new Eliaquim Mangala (incredibly he’s still a City player!)

Luke Shaw- So sad he’s on this list after recovering from that horrific leg break, Shaw’s problem is whilst he hasn’t exactly endeared himself to Jose Mourinho he’s too costly a player to leave Old Trafford easily. He’s likely to have Daley Blind and Marcus Rojo for competition next season now neither will be playing in the centre of defence, Shaw needs a big year or he’ll be England’s third choice number 3.

Chris Smalling- Louis Van Gaal’s favourite defender clearly isn’t Mourinho’s (evidenced by the £30million signing of Victor Lindelof.) On the plus side he played the Europa League final this season but must find a new club this summer to stay with England for the next.

Theo Walcott- This flew largely under the radar but it looks like Theo’s 11 year England career is over. Southgate picked him for his first 2 games, Theo was awful and that was finally that. Walcott has been a good servant to England but never lived up to the promise we saw with his Zagreb hat trick in 2008.

England’s winners 2016-17


Harry Kane– From Euro 2016 disaster to first name on the team sheet, a third 20 goal premiership season in succession confirmed Kane as England’s best forward since peak era Alan Shearer. Southgate had to wait until June to pick him for the first time and he was rewarded with 3 goals in 2 games in an otherwise undercooked England side. He’s also growing nicely into the captaincy, we’ll all spend next spring praying he doesn’t break a metatarsal.

Jermain Defoe- I still doubt he’ll make it to Russia but a first cap in 4 years is something to celebrate especially at 34. Defoe may yet make more telling contributions in qualifying   against sides likely to play very deep- one more goal and he’ll be level with Kevin Keegan! But in a major tournament nobody will sit deep and invite England to pressure so I don’t see his skill set applying next summer.

Youth squad players– An ex Under 21 manager in charge of the senior team should be encouraging to the junior ranks at the worst of times- Win 2 trophies (plus a final and semi final spot) and the odds of a glut of players being promoted are too short for even the worst bookie- England will have a very youthful look next season.

Michael Keane– A year ago he was still a prospect growing into the Burnley team, now he’s looking like an England starter and about to transfer for £25million. Keane had an inspired year at Burnley and looked composed and confident in his first 2 England caps, may well be the player John Stones is supposed to be.

Dele Alli- Wasn’t he supposed to suffer second season syndrome? Er oh!