Premier League Round 15 included one of the matches of the season so far – Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3. And there was plenty of action elsewhere too. Here’s a look at the heroes, and villain, of the weekend.
Hero – David De Gea
Jesse Lingard scored twice in the 3-1 win at Arsenal, but De Gea was Manchester United’s man of the match. The Spanish stopper had a very busy afternoon, keeping out all but one of Arsenal’s 33 shots on goal. As The Gunners piled on the pressure in the second-half, De Gea refused to be beaten. He made 14 saves in total and his double-save from Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sánchez was simply extraordinary.
Hero – Philippe Coutinho
Mohamed Salah has been Liverpool’s best player this season, but not in Premier League Round 15. Away at Brighton, it was Coutinho who stole the show. The little Brazilian playmaker was involved in all 5 of his team’s goals. In the first-half, he set up Emre Can and Roberto Firmino with 2 excellent, teasing crosses. Late in the second-half, Coutinho won a free-kick and went low, under the jumping wall. Genius.
Hero – Eden Hazard
When Newcastle took an early lead at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea didn’t panic. There was no need, not when Hazard is in this kind of form. The Belgian was in a league of his own, full of trickery and intelligent movement. The Newcastle defenders didn’t – and couldn’t - get near him. Hazard scored Chelsea’s equaliser and later made it 3-1 with a cheeky ‘Panenka’ from the spot.
Hero – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
It’s good to see that Calvert-Lewin isn’t letting Everton’s recent struggles get to him. The England Under-20 World Cup winner is not your typical target man, but he did a great job against Huddersfield. He created Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first goal with a clever flick and then secured the win with a goal of his own. Sam Allardyce will probably buy a new striker in January, but hopefully Calvert-Lewin will remain in his plans.
Villain – Paul Pogba
At full speed, Pogba’s tackle on Héctor Bellerín didn’t look too bad. But slow it down and it’s a clear red card - an ugly, studs-up stamp on the Arsenal defender’s calf. The jury’s out on whether it was intentional or not, but either way, it was a tackle he didn’t need to make. Manchester United were winning 3-1 and the French midfielder will now miss next week’s Manchester Derby. As United’s leader, Pogba needs to be smarter than that.