Coral’s Heroes and Villains: No laughing Mata
An interesting weekend of Premier League action threw up yet more shocks and surprises climaxing in an enthralling Super Sunday as Liverpool hosted fierce rivals Manchester United, and Hull hosted league leaders Chelsea. Read on to find out who we list in our weekly Heroes and Villains feature, and see whether you agree with us!
At the risk of upsetting a number of Man Utd fans, Tottenham’s Kane takes top-spot in our list of heroes for his superb hat-trick in Spurs’ 4-3 defeat of Leicester City.
After earning his first call-up to the England squad, he celebrated with a terrific performance, and gives manager Roy Hodgson an even bigger selection headache than he had previously.
Now fourth highest goalscorer in Europe, (6/4 with Coral to be Premier League top scorer) behind usual suspects, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lyon youngster Alexandre Lacazette, he is the most in-form of Hodgson’s group of strikers. This surely can’t be ignored.
The Spaniard was quite simply on another level to everyone else at Anfield. His first goal showed great intelligence and anticipation, as he gambled on a run for Ander Herrera to slide in the diagonal pass. From a tight angle, he still had work to do, though his finish was postage stamp precision.
Clearly inspired and full of confidence, Mata’s second finish was world class. Angling his body in the penalty area, he improvised as the ball came over the top and steered an acrobatic effort in to the far corner.
Say what you want about the Frenchman, he is effective. After dispatching in midweek, he bagged a brace for the Gunners; two in four minutes as the north London outfit beat Newcastle 2-1 at St James’ Park, to keep their top four hopes alive.
Unsurprisingly, the Liverpool skipper and former England captain tops the list of villains. He had only just come on in the second half, when a rash stamp in response to reckless challenge on him from Herrera earned him a straight red card. He did apologise in his post-match interview, however, by then the damage had already been done, as the Reds slip further behind United in the race for the top four.
There is just cause to also list Thibaut Courtois, however, the goalkeeper’s magnificent triple save in the second half against Hull kept the Blues in contention. A mix-up between the Belgian and his right back resulted in Dame Ndoye dispatching an equalising goal for the Tigers, however the Serbian continued to be poor throughout.
Certainly out of character for him, he is usually one of Chelsea’s stand-out players, however, everyone has the occasional off-day, and there is no doubt that he will bounce back.
The Hull custodian cost Steve Bruce’s men the match at the KC, after his blunder gifted second half substitute Loic Remy a soft goal, as Chelsea won the match 3-2. Other contenders for villain could also have been Jason Shackell and Jeffrey Schlupp after they scored own goals for Burnley and Leicester respectively.
Diego Costa, after scoring a quite remarkable goal, went down far too easily under a challenge from Alex Bruce, and could be also be mentioned, as could Craig Dawson after being dismissed for West Bromwich Albion against Manchester City.