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Heroes and Villains: Awesome Ings, vile Vertonghen and much more

Holy moley, the Premier League is back with a bang!

In the week following Valencia and DC Comics’ spat over the club’s bat logo, Coral’s football experts got thinking about some subplots that would be worthy of any cartoon animation. Here’s what we came up with…

Heroes
Danny Ings
Backed up by some heroic defending by Burnley stalwart Michael Duff, striker Ings stepped up his return from injury by bagging a brilliant brace against at Stoke City. Blink and you might have missed this, as his delightful double came in 105 seconds – a speed that would make The Flash envious.

Ben Foster
England backup keeper Foster lost 2-0 with West Bromwich Albion against champions-elect Chelsea. So what? Without his heroics between the posts, this would’ve been a cricket score. Foster’s reflexes were akin to the elasticity that Mister Fantastic mastered.

Lionel Messi
Breaking records is what magnificent Messi does, but surpassing brilliant Basque forward Telmo Zarra, who fired Athletic Bilbao in the 1940s and 50s to five Copa del Rey triumphs and a La Liga crown is really quite something. If scoring goals was a superpower, Barcelona magician Messi is a wizard with no equal.

Alan Pardew
Tongue in cheek, if Newcastle United manager Pardew had a special ability it would almost certainly be a hard head and thick skin. Having taken slings and arrows of outrageous fortune from all angles, he has silenced critics at St James’ Park and in the British press by steering the Magpies to a sixth straight Premier League win. The Toon are 10/1 chances for a top six finish.

Villains
Jan Vertonghen
Much ado about nothing in the Tottenham and Belgium defender’s spat with Hull City loanee Gaston Ramirez. Vertonghen went down like he had been shot when the Uruguayan flair player let his frustrations get the better of him. Steve Bruce was disgusted that an opponent essentially got one of his charges sent off, and we quite agree this was conduct unbecoming.

Arsenal finishing
Facing a Manchester United back three of Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, the Gunners forward line should have ran riot. Instead, Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and others contrived to fail to take their chances. Olivier Giroud’s consolation strike cannot paper over these cracks. The Red Devils were there for the taking, but at least Piers Morgan was annoyed…

Liverpool defence
You’ll Never Walk Alone, except through the Reds defence. Simon Mignolet and his back four should audition for pantomime; their errors at Crystal Palace, which surrendered a second minute lead, are worth a matinee performance. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is now 5/2 to not be in charge for the final Premier League game of the season.

Dave Whelan
Where do you even begin with this one? As if the appointment of Malky Mackay as manager wasn’t controversial enough, Wigan Athletic chairman Whelan poured petrol on the bonfire, fanning flames of offence with his unguarded remarks to shocking new heights.