New Year’s Day delight: Coral’s Premier League XI of matchday 20
If only every Premier League matchday could be like January 1st. We saw 33 goals fly in on New Year’s Day, and some sensational performances.
Who made our all-star XI? Read on to find out.
Goalkeeper: Fraser Forster
Perhaps helped by the shocker opposite number Wojciech Szczesny had, England understudy stopper Forster kept his ninth clean sheet of the campaign in a 2-0 Southampton home win over Arsenal. He kept Alexis Sanchez out, with a little help from our next selection…
Centre back: Jose Fonte
Saints skipper Fonte really is proving to be a late bloomer. We saw his potential at Crystal Palace, but a rise through the divisions at St Mary’s and now a third season at Premier League level make the Portugal cap an accomplished player. Fonte kept the Gunners at bay.
Centre back: Ryan Shawcross
Talk about coming back to haunt your former club. Both Stoke skipper Shawcross and striker Mame Biram Diouf were a real handful against Manchester United but, as the latter shockingly missed a one-on-one with David de Gea, it’s the established Premier League defender that gets in our XI. Shawcross’ set piece header earned the Potters a point.
Centre back: Damien Delaney
Crystal Palace defender Delaney learned from his mistakes when last marking Christian Benteke. That played a big part in Eagles caretaker Keith Millen getting a point and clean sheet from an away day at Aston Villa. Incoming Palace boss Alan Pardew has a reliable player at the back in the Republic of Ireland international.
Right wing back: Ahmed Elmohamady
A goal and clean sheet from Egypt star Elmohamady helped Hull to victory over stuttering Everton. A win at Sunderland on Boxing Day followed up by another victory here are signs that Steve Bruce’s Tigers may have turned the corner, and this is reflected in a lengthening of their relegation odds to 2/1.
Central midfield: James Ward-Prowse
It wouldn’t surprise us if JWP was the next Southampton academy graduate to go on to play for a top club. Now back into the swing of things after injury, he dictated play in the engine room against Arsenal and chipped in with an assist for Sadio Mane’s opener. Ronald Koeman’s Saints are now 11/4 for a top four finish.
Central midfield: Frank Lampard
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but veteran midfielder Lampard is hurting old club Chelsea by winning matches for Manchester City. Whether he should be at the Etihad outfit’s sister club New York City by now is a moot point. Lampard came off the bench to brilliant effect and his winning goal against Sundeland ensured City, now 7/4 to the retain the Premier League title, moved level with Jose Mourinho’s men.
Left wing back: Danny Rose
Gael Clichy could equally have filled this attack-minded role, but we chose Rose because his goal and assist against Chelsea came in a contest where Spurs were paired with stronger opposition than Man City. He formed an excellent left-sided pairing with another player who makes our XI…
Right wing: George Boyd
Burnley’s biggest problem is getting goals. Sam Vokes is being carefully managed after a serious injury, so fellow frontman Danny Ings has needed support to ease the burden. Winger Boyd did just that to help Sean Dyche’s side nick a point from Newcastle.
Striker: Harry Kane
Two goals, an assist and a penalty won are compelling evidence that Tottenham striker Kane has arrived. Chelsea players stood off him as he netted his first, and a skillful shot on the turn for his second showed such confidence. A senior England call-up surely beckons for Kane, and Spurs are real top four contenders again at 7/2.
Left wing: Nacer Chadli
Completing our New Year’s Day all-star XI is one of the ensemble cast brought to White Hart Lane by the Gareth Bale money. Belgium winger Chadli was also hugely influential in a famous 5-3 win over London rivals Chelsea, netting Tottenham’s fifth and having a hand in other goals. His swashbuckling second season at Spurs is helping to erase memories of his status as an initial flop.