A look at the heroes and villains of Premier League Round 30.
Hero – Marcus Rashford
With 4 goals in 26 games this season, Rashford had fallen behind Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial in the Manchester United pecking order. To make matters worse, Alexis Sánchez then arrived from Arsenal, which meant 4 attackers battling for just 2 starting spots. But with the World Cup on the horizon, Rashford is fighting back. He started against rivals Liverpool, and boy did he repay his manager’s faith. His first goal was simply sublime – a burst of explosive pace, followed by a clever turn and a beautiful finish. His second was more straightforward but just as composed. When he plays like that, Rashford is unplayable.
NB: A shout-out to Romelu Lukaku, who played a key role in both goals.
Hero – Jonjo Shelvey
Kenedy was Newcastle’s goalscoring hero against Southampton in Premier League Round 30, but Shelvey was their man of the match. Saints gave him time and space in midfield and that’s something you should never do. When he wants to be, Shelvey is one of England’s classiest playmakers, as he showed with a string of clever passes. If he stays fit and focused, Newcastle should stay up.
Hero – Chris Wood
Sometimes a sub can make all the difference. When Chris Wood came on against West Ham, the score was 0-0. 20 minutes and a few pitch invasions later, Burnley were 3-0 up. Wood set up the first goal for Ashley Barnes and then scored the other two himself. Neither of his goals were pretty but who cares? Burnley have missed their big target man.
Hero – Kelechi Iheanacho
Talking of super subs, Iheanacho is finally showing signs of life at Leicester City. Within 2 minutes of coming off the bench at West Brom, the Nigerian set up Riyad Mahrez with a delightful ball over the top. 15 minutes later, Iheanacho headed home his first Premier League goal for The Foxes. Mahrez, Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy and Demarai Gray - Leicester City’s strikeforce looks pretty potent right now.
Villains – West Ham Fans
Fan frustration is understandable at West Ham right now. The move from Upton Park to the London Stadium was supposed to see The Hammers fighting for Europe, not fighting for Premier League survival. However, pitch invasions are not the answer, especially while a match is still going on. The only thing they achieved was a toxic atmosphere that saw West Ham slip to a 3-0 defeat. The players need support, not threats to their safety.