Every Monday, we review some of the key talking points from the previous round of Premier League action.
Palace and Bolasie Back On Track
Alan Pardew and Crystal Palace’s meteoric form in the latter half of 2014/15 was one of the most exciting subplots of the league campaign – as long as you weren’t a Liverpool fan. This time around – though claiming some impressive results (again see Liverpool) – they’ve largely struggled to recapture the swashbuckling and freescoring form that shot them to a comfortable tenth place finish.
One player who typified that exciting style last season was Yannick Bolasie. Up until recently, the Congo international had struggled to make a consistent impact on Palace’s league form. Saturday was different. He was back playing the main man in the 5-1 demolition of a Newcastle side that just feebly wilted in the face of the Eagles’ barnstorming attack. By the ref’s final whistle, Bolasie had rattled two past Rob Elliot to deservedly run out as man of the match.
There were first inklings of life back in Bolasie in Gameweek 12, when he scored the winner at Anfield, but his most recent game cemented a full return to form. Bolasie now has three in his last three games and was a threat on all fronts against the Magpies. Clocking five attempts on goal and nine touches in the penalty area – leading Premier League midfielders in both statistics – the taste for goals was certainly back in working order. Facing a leaky Everton in Gameweek 15, Palace’s reinvigorated wideman could capitalise.
There Is Still Hope For Bournemouth
Everton, or more specifically, their fans, were the masters of their own downfall in Gameweek 14 – wasting their would-be 94th minute winner for an even later Cherries’ equaliser. Still, if any team is going to rob a goal from you at the 97th minute death-knell, better it’s Bournemouth.
Eddie Howe and his side have been through the ringer in their maiden Premier League season so this rollercoaster 3-3 performance gave at least some temporary respite to the south coast.
Josh King, who has recently been drafted in for Glenn Murray, impressed again for his manager but it was Junior Stanislas who took the bulk of the plaudits and deservedly so. The ex-West Ham winger was at one time whispered as a potential Premier League starlet, but fell down the divisions first to Burnley and then to Bournemouth. In Gameweek 14, he showed his full repertoire of skills – skills that belong at this level – and bagged two crucial goals for his display.
Things aren’t going to get easier straight away for Eddie Howe, with Chelsea and United next on the list and many of his key players out through injury, there’s a definite storm to whether. What is clear, their going to need a similar rub of the green to last the decisive Christmas period.
De Bruyne Displacing Yaya
David Silva’s status as the creative orchestrator of this City side is never in doubt, but Yaya Toure’s position as his pass-master deputy is certainly looking up for grabs. Kevin De Bruyne capped a man of the match performance with a goal and two assists, as City comfortably dismantled a blunted and Pelle-less Southampton to the tune of 3-1.
Where De Bruyne excelled, Yaya Toure took a back seat. The big Ivorian still possesses undoubted quality and contributes creatively to the team but he’s making visibly less impact and the physicality is not what it was. It’s to early to read this as any kind of irreversible decline for the 32 year old, but his new Belgian teammate has outshone both him and many others since his re-arrival from Wolfsburg.
In his second stint in the English top flight, De Bruyne has so far performed beyond expectations. In ten appearances, he has scored four and laid on six more. This form continued in Gameweek 14, where he created five goalscoring opportunities, more than any other player in that weekend. With Payet and Alexis Sanchez out injured, expect De Bruyne to be next in line as the must have fantasy acquisition.