How Wolves have made progress in the Premier League with their football and sports science

Wolves have had some rich and successful years in the top tier of English football though we would have to go back to the 1950s when the team were at their best. Then they won 3 league titles and finished that decade off with an FA Cup win. After that the club had many problems, even in the 1980s they were close to financial ruin and bad investments and runs of bad luck have not helped the club in the latter years. But all of that has changed under current owners Fosun International.

Fosun themselves were only founded in 1992 and took ownership of Wolves in 2016 for just £45m and steadily they have seen incredible progress. When one thinks that Wolves have become a staple top 10 side in the Premier League and reached the quarter finals of the Europa League last season that is a stunning achievement compared to just over a decade ago when the club were plying their trade in the 3rd tier of English football.

It took a season to get their man who would turn out to be a superb capture in former Porto player Nuno Espirito Santo. And he has gone on to have a win rate of 51% with Wolves winning 84 of the 164 games he has coached for the club and losing just 39 games. Indeed only in his first managerial job with Rio Ave has he ever dipped under a 50% win average.

It was in Santo’s first season with the club that he made a huge impact as Wolves won the Championship for promotion to the Premier League and it was special given that it was in the clubs 140th anniversary year. The following season in the Premier League was Wolves’ return to the top tier since 2012 and they finished seventh and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup in a memorable season for them.

The next season the club finished in the same position proving their consistency and of course had that superb run in the Europa League reaching the quarter-finals and only being beaten in the end by Sevilla who would go on to win the competition that season.

In Santo’s time so far there are a few players that have really stuck out. One was sold on to Liverpool this season in Diogo Jota and the player was initially taken on loan and then bought from Porto. Jota was an incredibly important part of the Wolves set up but was sold to Liverpool this season for a reported £45m. This was smart business from an financial stand as Fosun had made back their total investment in the club on one player. But it does remain to be seen how Jota’s sale especially to another Premier League club could hurt Wolves in the long run.

The other player who has made an impact and arguably the biggest is Raul Jimenez. Rare has it become not to see the players name amongst the goalscorers for the club now. Jimenez was bought from Benfica after a loan spell and he has scored 34 league goals in the last 82 games and has started this season well too scoring 4 goals in the first six matches.

Good investment, a driven manager and buying the right players are just three things that any club needs to be successful but there is also a key element that has been keeping Wolves well above the water and that has been in their injury department. Compared to other Premier League clubs Wolves have a very small percentage of injuries and in most games last season key players were always available and they hardly had any problems on the sidelines- they have started this season off in the very same way.

One of those key players behind the scenes was physio Phil Hayward who spent 11 years at the club. He has since moved onto LA Galaxy but the thinking is that Hayward spent such a happy and successful time at Wolves that he has passed on much of his information. Currently only Jonny is out long term for the club and Santo’s has a clean bill of health for his squad, he will be touching the dressing room wood that it stays this way throughout the season just like it has for the previous years.

Presently Wolves have had a bumpy start to the new season but the club are finding their way now and have gone their last 3 games unbeaten winning two of them and drawing their game last weekend 1-1 against Newcastle. They go into this weekend in 9th place and are keeping up that tradition of not only being a thorn in the side of so many of the bigger clubs but also a top 10 staple side.

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What’s happening to the Premier League after Project Big Picture, the Super League and pay per view?

As far as public relations go it hasn’t been a great month for the English Premier League. From meetings involving only the elite clubs or the so called big six, to a super league and now pay per view TV fans and clubs will rightly be questioning just what is going on with the most popular league in the world?

Project Big Picture was halted in its tracks earlier this month but as most observers have commented it isn’t dead in the water and will most probably resurface with different negotiations. But something else has now surfaced from those initial meetings with the big six clubs which is that the other 14 Premier League clubs were not notified of the first meeting. Simply being kept in the dark, which is odd in that in this day and age that is a hard thing to do, and so it proved. There is also a feeling of us and them and that cannot be good for the league even if it is good for the big six.

And who are the big six? Liverpool historically are and certainly in the last 18 months have reinforced that fact by winning .the Champions League and the league title, but it took them 30 years to win the latter. Manchester City would have been laughed out of the big six room 8 years ago, but wealth has landed them a meeting, and true they have won plenty of league titles now to be included. Chelsea’s strengths seem more fitted to the 2000s than the past decade and indeed in the present day but there are enough kids donning their shirts and the club still has the power to buy some of Europe’s best players.

Manchester United are with Liverpool the biggest club in England, so it feels like a no brainer to include them, but they have also been a shadow of their great sides for the past seven years. And then we have the curious cases of both Arsenal and Tottenham. History is putting them in that room because Arsenal have not won a league title for 16 years and next year Tottenham will be celebrating 50 years without a league title. Whilst a club like Everton for example may not be in favour wouldn’t the Merseyside team have a good shout of being in the room compared to Tottenham?

There is also talk of a European Super League. Money is king in football and the clubs taking part will become mega rich, winners of the competition could walk away with over £100m. In essence a super league would feel like the present day Champions League except there is one sticking point, there will be no relegation or promotion. Whilst one could expect the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona to participate,what value do the other teams have, except for being really good in this present time to qualify?

With no promotion though it means that teams in Europe who do not make the elite cut will always feel second rate and will always end up with second rate players. There will be no hope although domestic leagues could become more competitive as teams out of the top 5 would strive to upset the ‘balance of the elite’. Also going back to England, they have initially been quoted 5 clubs for the Super League. So which big six club misses out? Questions questions. A Super League wouldn’t mean the end of the Champions League though but a re branding where the top teams simply would not take part. But UEFA will be frustrated and sadden if this goes ahead, as they will lose sponsor power and an undermining of their elite competition- but how can they react?

There is an agreement in place until the 2024 edition of the Champions League so one would think that a Super League couldn’t start until 2025, but this is football and anything can happen.

Finally the pay per view nonsense has to stop, and this isn’t in favour of the fans. In England Sky and BT have never shown every Premier League game live and the PPV is only about showing those extra games that wouldn’t normally be shown live to fans for an extra fee. There seems little wrong with it, although the price does seem unfair. At £14.95 per game that seems quite steep to just watch one match on television. One hopes that the price will be lowered but die hard fans are not helping that fact given that PPV viewing figures are showing that 40,000 are watching each game- so for the clubs this is a huge success. The aim was always to have roughly the same viewing figures as the attendance in grounds.

A future worry for PPV would be if clubs get greedy with television and decide that the biggest games will no longer be free. After already paying a subscription to a service this would feel like a hard slap in the face. Could we for example have a PPV situation where Manchester City and Liverpool are playing each other in a title crunch game?

Given that even the Champions League final isn’t shown on terrestrial TV anymore nothing can be ruled out of a game which has sadly turned to opportunism and greed bang in the middle of a pandemic.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Aston Villa 0-3 Leeds United

Aston Villa came into this encounter with Leeds United as the only team in the Premier League that held a 100% record. This was an incredible fact given that Dean Smith’s side had only just escaped the clutches of relegation last season.

Villa also came into this game with wins over Liverpool by an incredible 7-2 that will never be forgotten in the clubs history and then beating Leicester 1-0 at King Power Stadium. Shades of their 1980s greatness were being talked about and so this game at home to newly promoted Leeds United looked like another three points. But then again Villa were not counting on Patrick Bamford.

Bamford was brilliant in the Championship for Leeds and the worry was always going to be if the player could carry that over to such a higher level as the Premier League? But after scoring 6 goals and assisting in another those doubts should be laid to rest. He was by far the man of the match in this game as he scored a hat trick in a brilliant 3-0 victory for Leeds United.

Bamford pounced on a goal keeping error to open the scoring, and if that was seen as scrappy then his 2nd goal was a beauty. On the edge of the area he seemed to lift and simply place the ball into the top corner which left everyone stunned even his team mates. That could well be contender for goal of the season.

For his 3rd goal he danced around the Villa defence as if they weren’t there and slotted home a neat goal. Had this been Lionel Messi the plaudits would be out and the headlines would be all about those 2 goals. Bamford looks like a real talent and Leeds are lucky to have him.

Leeds dominated the game and had an incredible 27 attempts on goal with 9 on those o target. Villa were not quiet themselves as they had 4 shots on target in an enjoyable game. But this was an off day for the club who later on saw the impressive Jack Grealish booked which summed up his and Villa’s day- they simply were not at the races.

The defeat leaves Aston Villa in 3rd place with 12 points but Leicester and Tottenham are right behind them. Villa next play Southampton at home. As for Leeds they have risen up to sixth position and have 10 points and that was the clubs 3rd win of the season and Marcelo Bielsa’s team will play Leicester at home next.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 6

Everton finally lost as they went down 2-0 to Southampton but the Toffeemen still remain 1st in the league on goal difference over Liverpool who seem to have improved. Manchester City dropped 2 points against West Ham and Manchester United and Chelsea shared the spoils in a drab game. But which players made the final 11 cut of the weekend? And how many more points have you been able to earn this weekend? lets take a look.

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy- Chelsea 7pts

With the last minute injury to Chelsea regular Kepa Edouard Mendy had to step in and what a game he had in front of him away to Manchester United. But he remained solid and calm and made some good saves as Chelsea drew 0-0 and he really deserved his 7pts in the end.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard- Southampton 5pts

Southampton became the first club to not only beat Everton this season but also keep a clean sheet against them. And Jannick Vestergaard was resilient in defence. And held the back line well.

Defender: Ben Chilwell- Chelsea 5pts

Chelsea went to Old Trafford and pulled off a 0-0 result and whilst Kurt Zouma did well in defence we should mention Ben Chilwell who is still in his first moments with Chelsea and yet at the weekend it felt like he had been playing with the club for several years.

Defender: Timothy Castagne- Leicester 5pts

Castgane put in another great performance as Leicester beat Arsenal for the first time in London since 1973. Arsenal had over 10 attempts at goal and the back four held firm. Castagne now has 13 points in total for the season and overall has started well for the Foxes.

Defender: Robin Koch- Leeds United 5pts

Robin Koch has already had an up and down season but Leeds inflicted the first defeat on Aston Villa’s season by going to Villa Park and winning 3-0. Koch therefore had a great match helping his side to win and keeping a clean sheet. This is the first time this season that Villa have been held to no goals.

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace 6pts

Zaha just keeps impressing this season and had another great game for Crystal Palace who beat Fulham 2-1 away from home. Zaha got on the score sheet again and now has 5 goals already this season, fancy buying him? He is 8.5m.

Midfielder: Helder Costa -Leeds United 4pts

Helder Costa was inventive in midfield and lightning quick the whole game as Leeds beat Aston Villa 3-0, he also assisted in a goal and had a superb game all round.

Midfielder: Michail Antonio- West Ham 4pts

West Ham upset a lot of pundits as they held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw and it was that man Antonio who got on the score sheet once again, a very underrated player, could well be having his best season of his career.

Midfielder: James Ward-Prowse- Southampton 6pts

Southampton beat Everton 2-0 and James Ward-Prowse opened the scoring that started Everton’s downfall who were always going to be second best here. Ward-Prowse will be now hoping that this game can be a step into the right direction where he can get better and more consistent this season.

Striker: Patrick Bamford- Leeds United 14pts

Patrick Bamford was a super striker in the Championship, and now he has shown his qualities in the Premier League. Bamford scored a hat trick against Aston Villa which in itself was superb given that Villa were unbeaten going into that game. Bamford could be the real pick of this new season and the player has already scored 6 goals this season.

Striker: Jamie Vardy – Leicester 4pts

You just can’t rule the big man out can you? Jamie Vardy was actually not 100% for the game v Arsenal and didn’t come on until late in the 2nd half when the game was poised at 0-0. And then with 10 minutes to go he struck his 5th goal past Arsenal in four games. He’s like a fine wine and just keeps getting better with age.

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Man Utd 0-0 Chelsea: The Red Devils fail to overcome the Blues at Old Trafford

Going into gameweek six, one of the crucial fixtures of the weekend was between Manchester United and Chelsea on Saturday evening, where both teams intended on collecting the vital victory to move closer to the top four positions. Given the shocking start to the campaign, not many Premier League fans were expecting Everton and Aston Villa to be in the top four spots, whilst the well-known clubs such as Man City, Man Utd and Spurs sit in the middle of the league table.

Looking at the match as a whole, both sides were unconvincing in the middle of the park and could not complete a string of passes, which led to very minimal chances being created and not many passes into the final third. Not only that, but with Frank Lampard’s 3-4-1-2 setup and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unappealing line-up selection, it meant that there would not be many goals in the game.

In terms of the key statistics of the game, neither team had the key edge of dominating the possession of the ball, so it was equally shared out by both sides. Chelsea and Manchester United failed to create a single big chance through the game, which would be more down to how reserved and limited they wanted to play, ensuring that they did not concede to any chances or many goals.

To sum up the first half showing from the two clubs, the main positive was that the half-time break had arrived and hopefully one of the sides would step up on the intensity and urge to attack in the second half. However, that was not the case until the 58th minute for the host team and the 71st minute for the visitors, where a double change was required to help the team to create and score.

In the end, neither of the teams were able to make a breakthrough and were able succeed on coming out as the winners, leading to a point being shared out by Manchester United and Chelsea. The Blues walk away from Old Trafford with a positive point, on the other hand, the Red Devils would be in total discontent, as they are yet to win a single league game at home so far this season.

With no further ado, here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league fixture…

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s line-up selection raised a few questions

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded the same eleven players that had defeated Newcastle last weekend against Chelsea, which raised a number of questions from the Old Trafford faithful as the line-up did not provide enough satisfaction in order to pick up the much needed three points. With the likes of Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba not being selected in the starting XI, majority of the Manchester United supporters had felt that the coach had setup with quite a pragmatic approach.

On the other hand, with a lot of key fixtures coming up, against Leipzig, Arsenal, Istanbul Basaksehir, Everton and West Brom over the next few weeks, it may seem like a sensible move from Solskjaer to rotate around and to ensure the squad do not suffer from fatigue or injury issues. With that in mind, the 47-year-old coach has to understand that he has to go into every game with the intention of wining and achieving consistent victories, with the objective being clear from the starting line-up.

Daniel James should no longer be starting on a regular basis 

With Anthony Martial still suspended for the league fixtures and Edinson Cavani being slowly integrated into the team, Daniel James continues to remain in the starting line-up, someone who is not able to offer much to the side besides his burst of pace and work rate off the ball. Other than that, he lacks the intelligence in the final third and the end product in terms of goals and assists.

Against Chelsea, the Welsh winger hardly made an impact out on the left wing, where he was completely isolated by both Cesar Azpilicueta and Reece James. Although he came into the club as a squad player, Solskjaer has used him as a regular starter following his bright and impressive start to the 2019/20 campaign, which led to him achieving three goals and six assists in 33 league appearances. Now, he should be seen as a bench player for the league games and nothing further.

Manchester United’s home form is becoming a huge concern

Despite United’s impressive victory in the midweek, away to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League group stage, they have had many difficulties with winning the games at Old Trafford in the Premier League. So far this season, the side have faced the likes of Crystal Palace, Spurs and now Chelsea, where they have picked up one point out of nine, scoring two goals and conceding nine.

The Red Devils are proving to be deadly and effective on the counter-attack, however, the team and the manager will need ways to break down the opposition and create constant chances, or they will fail to pick up victories on a regular basis at home. And if that happens to be the case, Manchester United’s chances of finishing in the top four by the end of the campaign, will be very limited.

Should Arsenal be judged on how they have reacted during the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the world and affected jobs and businesses the likes we haven’t seen since perhaps the second world war. But football clubs especially in the Premier League have still spent hundreds of millions on players over the last transfer window and it has become clear that even with no fans in attendance TV money certainly talks.

Good luck to the clubs and the structure of the Premier League, because a lot of hard work and promotion has gone into the product to make watching football in England’s top tier the most popular in the world. And this article is not about attacking one club in the Premier League but only because certain stories have surfaced that simply seem a little mind boggling.

The owners at Arsenal for example have made some questionable decisions that in a sensitive time have made very little sense. The first of which was letting 55 admin staff leave. Yes it’s true that the staff were not really needed anymore because of the virus meaning that there was less work available. But these were loyal staff and one wonders if the owners of the club really made the best choice, if not for them the right one?

It had been reported that the 55 staff laid off were going to save Arsenal just over £1m, that’s a lot of money, but in Premier League terms it feels more like a drop in the ocean. Countered only days after Willian joined the club on a free from Chelsea but was then given a reported £10m signing on fee. That’s one employee receiving 10 times the amount of 55 laid off staff and their years salary.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta came out and said that he understood the clubs decision. But did he really? Was this really what Arteta was thinking? He’s just been given the managers job and hardly wants to come across as controversial but of course was asked the question which would have put him in a position.

Just recently Arsenal made the decision to let their mascot leave the club, a mascot that had spent many seasons at Arsenal and only on a small wage not that much more than the minimum. Again the decision in black and white made sense. Mascot’s are not needed at empty grounds. But Arsenal can afford the mascots wages until hopefully the pandemic blows over within the next 6-12 months and Arsenal can afford their admins wages and try to give them different roles within the club.

But of course football is a business and money seemingly can’t be lost unless it is lost on a player or a manager. Arsenal isn’t a badly run club but maybe they have made some questionable decisions and of course like everyone else have been caught out by the virus. But if you’re spending £45m on one player, the recent purchase of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid one does have to wonder why loyal staff couldn’t have somehow been kept on for a small fraction of that price?

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Are Liverpool right to be angry with Jordan Pickford and Richarlison after fiery Everton clash?

Liverpool were furious after their derby clash with Everton at the weekend as the Toffeemen seemed to dish it out on Liverpool’s players as the two teams drew 2-2. But should Liverpool hold resentment for what happened and are they justified? If so should Everton be reprimanded and face any FA action?

It all started when a high ball was contested by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk who had come surging forward looking for the loose ball. Pickford went into van Dijk who went down in pain and tried to continue but couldn’t. There were screams for a penalty since the incident happened in the area but that was rendered obsolete given that van Dijk had been offside. But should Pickford have been punished for his challenge?

Though thoughtless and controversial Pickford was looking up at the high ball and not at Van Dijk and that is why despite the outcome it would have been harsh to have sent off Pickford which would have been the initial reaction- but the officials decided to do nothing and again that feels wrong. There didn’t seem to be any intent but to have let off Pickford completely didn’t make any sense. The player should have been booked and talked too. After all it was a reckless challenge. Even after the game the FA did want to review the incident but couldn’t because their own rules state that if the referee didn’t bring it up during the game then there is nothing that can be done.

Sadly for Van Dijk he has damaged his knee and cruciate ligaments and could miss the rest of the season which would be a huge blow to Liverpool. Though the best case scenario is that the player could be back as early as February. Still what  a miss for the champions.

Whilst the Pickford incident grabbed all of the headlines perhaps it should have been Richarlison’s tackle on Liverpool’s new signing Thiago Alcantara later in the game that did. It was a badly mistimed moment from the Brazilian which saw his studs slam straight into Thiago’s shin and could have meant the end of the ex Bayern Munich players season. It was that bad. Gladly justice was served on this occasion and Richarlison was shown a straight red card, he will miss the next 3 games which will be a blow for Everton and he has let his team mates down.

The good news for Thiago is that he has escaped serious injury, and officially has a knock and will be assessed for the clubs up coming games, for him he somehow escaped serious injury.

But the fall out of what has happened looks like it will linger for much of the season. Whilst both clubs do have a rivalry it seems to be much more intense this season given how well Everton have started the season, and after this game they remain top of the league. It also seems that the blue half of Merseyside are not exactly happy that Liverpool are finally champions after having to wait 30 years and herein lies Everton’s response; to start this season as well as they can, and it certainly is the clubs best start to a season in a generation.

There is a determination for the club to make an impact and they are fed up of being in Liverpool’s shadow and seeing the red half of the city not only win the league but also last year’s Champions League. Enough is enough, and we saw that Everton are trying their best to compete with Liverpool on the field. How many times for example would we have seen the club crumble when going a goal behind and so early on against their neighbours? And Everton came back twice to do that.

The downside to Everton though is their aggression. Of course derby games have always had that added spice and passion but there is also a line that shouldn’t be broken. No players should be missing of the season because adrenalin is running high and because of that Liverpool do have a point in being angry with Everton and the fires do seem to have been stoked.

Liverpool will not remain quiet about what has happened at the weekend and that is fair enough. But football isn’t just a physical game but a psychological one and the Reds wil keep up their fury until the teams meet again later in the season. By going all out that they were the victims in the first game they may end up getting the sympathy vote in the second if Everton step out of line.

As it stands Everton got away it when you also include that Liverpool appeared to have scored a winning goal and yet it was ruled offside. That just rubbed the salt into Liverpool’s wounds some more.

Roll on when the clubs meet again, it should be very interesting indeed.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Tottenham 3-3 West Ham

West Ham broke records as the first team since the Premier League started to come back from 3 goals down with just 9 minutes remaining in a game. And what a game of football this was. The often told tail that football is a game of two halves could be summed up here as fiery London rivals Tottenham and West Ham put on a dazzling, breathtaking show as the clubs drew 3-3.

But the game should never have been a draw, from the first whistle there was only one team in it and that was the home side Tottenham. Their last game here had ended in a controversial draw with Newcastle and it was clear that the players wanted to eradicate that memory with a memorable performance over David Moyes side.

Within 60 seconds Tottenham had made their mark and let it be known despite how the game would turn out Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are at present the deadliest strike force in the Premier League. And they both linked up as Kane set up Son for a good opening goal. Son returned the complement just seven minutes later as he teed up Kane for Tottenham’s 2nd, and West Ham looked finished.

A 3rd goal followed as early as the 16th minute and it was Kane who reeled away once again- his 5th goal of the season, indeed he has been involved in 12 of Tottenham’s 15 goals this season, an incredible statistic. New signing Sergio Reguilon set Kane up and up to this point manager Jose Mourinho would have been more than delighted. Tottenham were bossing the play and looking for a 4th against a West Ham team who thought it was the start of the season again and that they were playing Newcastle.

The Hammers simply looked a shadow of the team that had beaten Wolves 4-0 and then Leicester 3-0 in their previous two games, was the international break to blame? Or was it that David Moyes had returned to the dug out? That seems harsh, and as it proved was. Moyes has worked hard trying to get the best out of this West Ham team.

Despite the 3-0 scoreline at half time West Ham hadn’t been that poor but just lacking in ideas. They had made 3 corners to Tottenham’s zero and had 2 shots on target to Tottenham’s 4. Second best yes, but not quite out of the game. Although in truth it did look like it.

As the second half kicked off and went on West Ham played some good football but to no avail and Tottenham looked like adding a 4th or simply easing to a 3-0 victory. Gareth Bale made his emotional return to playing for the side in the first time in seven years, and his presence was felt on the pitch when he came on as a second half substitute.

Looking for more attacking options Moyes brought on Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini and Mourinho took off Son to shore up the team, and then the game changed. Some have blamed Son’s departure in letting Tottenham in again as their high line came more forward and suddenly Tottenham looked more exposed. And then Fabian Balbuena scored. Still with just 9 minutes left, 3-1 was acceptable- Tottenham were going to win this game. But just a few minutes later Davidson Sanchez unfortunately turned the ball into his own net after a dangerous low cross, now it was 3-2 and there was a belief that Tottenham could blow this.

But cometh the moment cometh the man, Bale showed just how good he is as he escaped his man and ran with the ball it seemed as if something he has done many times before for both Tottenham and Real Madrid would end up in the back of the net and it was deep into injury time, this goes in and Tottenham have won the game. But he missed and the Hammers counter attacked straight away as the seconds were running down.

And then it happened. Call it hit and hope or call it a piece of magic but in the 94th minute Lanzini struck from outside the area and the ball went flying in via hitting the bar, it was an unstoppable shot. And even without fans the players went crazy and seemed to generate some sort of atmosphere within the near empty stadium. It was joy for David Moyes too he hopped and skipped on the touchline.

The Premier League had rewarded us with yet another game of incident and goals. As for Tottenham they should take encouragement that Son and Kane are on fire, that there are goals in this side and that despite a bumpy start to the season they have in fact lost just once.

As for West Ham it seemed after their first defeat in the opening weekend of the season against Newcastle United that looking at their fixtures the club were doomed. That hasn’t happened and if the Hammers keep up performances like these they have every chance to keep surprising their critics.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 5

Everton are still top after they drew 2-2 against rivals Liverpool in a fiery derby match that saw Everton reduced to 10 men and a good goal ruled out for Liverpool. Aston Villa continue their 100% start to the season and West Ham stunned Tottenham by coming back from 3 goals down to draw 3-3 in a very exciting weekend for the Premier League once again.

Did any of your players make the best 11 of the weekend? Let’s see below.

Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez – Aston Villa 7pts

As has been the case this season defending hasn’t been the strongest element in the league so far and that means more goals. However Damien Martinez pulled off a clean sheet and it was an impressive one with Aston Villa going to Leicester and winning 1-0.

Defender: Tyrone Mings- Aston Villa 5pts

Tyrone Mings makes the final 11 cut for the second time in a row. Mings was rock solid in defence as Leicester could not score at the King Power Stadium for the 2nd game in a row. Mings is racking up the points now and if he isn’t in your team may be worth looking into getting.

Defender: Matt Targett- Aston Villa 5pts

Matt Targett was assured and collected 5pts at the weekend and he now has a total of 12. Villa have started the season in stunning fashion and Targett can be brought into your team for an absolute bargain of only 3m.

Defender: Kyle Walker- Manchester City 5pts

Manchester City really needed a win and a clean sheet after a bumpy start to the season and they did well to beat Arsenal 1-0. Kyle Walker put in an assured display and made some very good interceptions and earned 5pts at the weekend.

Defender:  Ruben Dias- Manchester City 4pts

Ruben Dias was just as good as Walker in the defence of Manchester City, though he did lose a point because he was booked in a game that got more tense as it went on. The result, a win over Arsenal will have been a huge lift to Manchester City though.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling- Manchester City 6pts

Raheem Sterling scored the all important goal that was enough for his side to beat Arsenal 1-0 at the Etihad. Sterling now has scored 2 goals so far this season and has 12 points to his name.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley- Aston Villa 6pts

Ross Barkley looks like a new player since moving from Chelsea to Aston Villa. He followed up his goal against Liverpool, by scoring the last minute winning goal for Villa as they beat a very tough Leicester side away from home.

Midfielder: William Zaha- Crystal Palace 4pts

Where would Crystal Palace be without the quality of Wilfried Zaha? He keeps scoring the goals and has started well for the Eagles. He earned 4pts as Palace drew 1-1 with Brighton. His goal at the weekend was his 4th of the season so far.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 4pts

Bruno Fernandes had another eventful game for Manchester United as they overcame Newcastle 4-1. Fernandes had a goal ruled out by VAR, he then missed a penalty, then scored a goal and then set up United’s 4th goal. At least he is the centre of the party and it is very clear that the club need the Portuguese player to remain fit this season.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 10pts

Every week Harry Kane seems to make the best 11 cut and yet again he was on fire at the weekend. Kane scored another 2 goals and now has 5 for the season and he has already assisted in a further 7, in a stunning start. The only disappointment for him will be that Tottenham let a 3 goal lead slip with just 8 minutes of the game left as their opponents West Ham came back to draw 3-3.

Striker: Timo Werner- Chelsea 10pts

Timo Werner was under a lot of pressure to perform for Chelsea as he still hadn’t scored yet but the German international rectified that at the weekend when he scored a brace as Chelsea drew 3-3 with Southampton. Like Kane Werner will be annoyed with the final result but personally this was a great weekend for the 24 year old.

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Why can’t the Premier League’s golden boy Jack Grealish get a game for England?

Jack Grealish has started the 2020/21 season in sensational form with the Aston Villa star scoring three goals and assisting as many in his club’s first three games. The attacking midfielder put pen to paper on a new deal that included vastly improved terms in the form of a huge pay rise. The decision to reward Grealish with a new and lucrative contract is paying immediate dividends for Villa as any talk of relegation all but over after just 270 minutes of football this season.

For now, that is in stark contrast to the 2019/20 campaign where they fought for their Premier League survival until the very final whistle of the season, eventually finishing above Bournemouth who dropped down instead. Relegation would have been as Villa CEO Christian Purslow described it ‘a £200m catastrophe.’ Sadly for the Cherries, they suffered the financial disaster instead and despite the latest championship betting indicating that they will go straight back up at odds of just 11/10, they have already paid a huge price by losing their best players.

Indeed, with Nathan Ake leaving to join Manchester City and Callum Wilson departing to Newcastle, the perils of losing your star players are obvious for all to see when the setback of relegation hits. Luckily for Villa, they were able to avoid that fate and subsequently were able to keep hold of Jack Grealish, arguably England’s most talented attacking midfielder. Still, not everyone shares that sentiment.

Unfortunately for Grealish, the England manager seems to fall into the unconvinced category. Despite the calls for the Villa captain’s inclusion growing louder, Southgate has steadfastly stuck to his decision by mostly using him as an unused substitute on the England bench. Instead, Southgate has chosen to use Mason Mount as a roaming number 10 for the Three Lions, much to the ire of the Villa fans.

In some ways, you can understand their frustration as Mount has only registered a single goal and assist for Chelsea this season in his five appearances, and is some distance off the form that Grealish is exhibiting. But then again, Mount is the man of the moment for England having netted the winner against Belgium in a crucial UEFA Nations League game whilst Grealish looked on from the bench.

Some may argue that it is just a case of Grealish having to be patient, but there is a sense that as long as Southgate is England manager, the Villa captain will be used somewhat sparingly for England.

Given how loud the noise is around Jack Grealish’s omission from the national side, you can also envision a scenario where this becomes Southgate’s Waterloo and ultimately costs him his job.

Whatever way you look at it, Grealish’s pulsating Premier League form doesn’t look like letting up and that will only heap the pressure onto Southgate. Indeed, the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City have probably seen enough already this season to be in a position where they would happily match whatever astronomical release clause has been inserted into his new contract.

The boy’s a star and could be the one to bring Southgate’s world crashing down around him.