Coral’s Heroes and Villains: Mitrovic red mist, dynamic duos
Another thrilling Premier League matchweek, another round of marvelous mishaps and majestic performances.
This week, among several shock results, the theme was dazzling double-acts. So, who were the pairs of potent protagonists? and which players will be far from popular in the dressing room?
Here is Coral’s Bank Holiday Monday edition of Heroes and Villains…
The Leopard and the Eagle
Crystal Palace, 9/2 with Coral for a top six finish, certainly gave Chelsea plenty to chew over, as dangerous duo Yannick Bolasie and Bakary Sako soared at Stamford Bridge.
Despite missing time midweek through compassionate leave, Democratic Republic of Congo-capped Bolasie was his brilliant best versus the Blues. The lithe Leopards star was in full flight as he put two sublime balls in to create both goals in Palace’s 2-1 win.
Every hero rising from adversity needs a partner in crime, and summer Bosman signing Bakary Sako seems to be Bolasie’s perfect foil.
The Mali international Eagle rode a challenge before ruthlessly dispatching the opener, his second in as many outings, and later acrobatically kept his teammate’s cross in for Joel Ward to snatch the winner.
Swansea City were at it again, in another tale from this weekend of underdog uprisings. Manchester United fell to two brilliant Bosman bargains picked up by the Welsh club in successive summers.
Predatory Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed the winning goal, his fourth of the term so far, before illustrating his big cat instincts with a snarling celebration.
Yet it was man of the moment Andre Ayew who was the Swans’ true super hero, operating superbly off the flanks and centrally, clawing his side back from 1-0 down with another excellent header.
Dangerous debutante Manuel Lanzini, scorer of the Londoners’ first and opportunistic creator of the second, looks to have the making of a perfect playmaking partnership with Dimitri Payet.
Yet it was boss Bilic, magnanimous in defeat, refusing to criticise former Croatia charge Dejan Lovren, who cost Liverpool with his error, that most impressed.
It was the same at Anfield, where Philippe Coutinho fell foul of Payet’s skill and harshly saw red for two cautions.
Meanwhile, Mark Noble’s elation after netting was quickly cooled by a red card, as an over exuberant challenge on Danny Ings resulted in a marked fall from grace. Luckily for the midfielder, the unlucky and rather rash dismissal came too late to halt the Hammers, who are 20/1 to finish in the top six.
Liverpool’s defence continues to be their Achilles heel. Young-gun Joe Gomez’s naivety was exposed by Lanzini, but Lovren’s complacency and subsequent panic when having his pocket picked by the Argentine is less excusable.
Martin Skrtel was also left red-faced after Diafra Sakho danced through the box unchallenged, his shot nutmegging the defender before finding the net.
Yet, it is clearly a case of questionable anger management when a player collects two yellows and a red in his first four league outings.
The hot-headed hitman’s stamp on Francis Coquelin cost his side dearly, as a needless early bath left the team toiling with 10 men against Arsenal from the 16th minute onward.