A look at the stars of Premier League Gameweek 29. Spoiler alert: there are no North London or Merseyside Derby heroes in sight.
Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City
Mahrez has had a frustrating season so far, with his early form overshadowed by that penalty miss at Anfield back in October. Since then, the Algerian has really struggled for minutes, especially in the Premier League. In Gameweek 29, however, an injury to Kevin De Bruyne gave Mahrez the full second-half to shine. With Bournemouth defending deep, City were struggling to find a breakthrough. But in the 55th minute, David Silva found Mahrez unmarked and he fired a quick shot past the keeper. The big smile on his face said it all.
Florin Andone, Brighton & Hove Albion
From one matchwinner to another, and this time at the opposite end of the table. Before Gameweek 29, Chris Hughton’s Brighton hadn’t won a single Premier League match in 2019. Suddenly, Huddersfield at home had become a season-defining fixture for The Seagulls. With 78 minutes gone, the game was still goalless. But just as the fans were losing hope, up jumped super sub Andone to score a brilliant bullet header. It was such a massive moment that even the Brighton keeper Mat Ryan ran over to join in the celebrations.
Andreas Pereira, Manchester United
Injuries to Nemanja Matić and Ander Herrera have left holes to fill in the United midfield. For now, Scott McTominay is plugging the Matić-shaped gap, while the Brazilians Pereira and Fred are battling for the Herrera role. Pereira might not have the Spaniard’s defensive hustle and bustle, but in Gameweek 29, he made up for that with his attacking energy. His equalising goal (his first in the Premier League) was a beauty, curled into the top corner from 30 yards out, and his assist for Romelu Lukaku came from another forward burst. Playing both Pereira and Paul Pogba might be a risk away from home, but at Old Trafford, it looks a strong option.
Thanks to Kepa Arrizabalaga’s League Cup Final antics, Jorginho is no longer Chelsea’s least popular player. In Gameweek 29, the midfielder further enhanced his reputation by scoring his first goal for the club from open play. As Eden Hazard attacked down the left, Jorginho crept up to the edge of the Fulham penalty area. And when the pass arrived, he curled a first-time shot into the top corner. He does pass the ball to death at times, but there’s no denying Jorginho’s quality.
Aaron-Wan Bissaka, Crystal Palace
If Bissaka doesn’t make this season’s PFA Young Player of the Year shortlist, then it’s an absolute travesty. The 21-year-old right-back has been one of Palace’s most consistent performers at both ends of the pitch. In Gameweek 29 against Burnley, Bissaka showcased his all-round game beautifully. In defence, he made 5 tackles and 7 clearances, and in attack, he set up Michy Batshuayi with a classy, composed cross. It’s no wonder that both Manchester clubs are interested.