Five-a-side TOTW: February 28th 2017

Picking an eleven is hard; picking just five is even harder.

Another round of fixtures saw Leicester bounce back without Ranieri and Liverpool continue their poor 2017 form. Chelsea extended their lead at the top due to Manchester City’s fixture postponement. Finally, Crystal Palace got only their third home win of the season – is Big Sam’s ‘bounce’ about to kick in?

Goalkeeper – Wayne Hennessey

On a weekend when Jordan Pickford made his return, making the highest number of saves (6) for the fixture list, you may be forgiven for thinking the young Sunderland keeper would ease his was into our team. However, the plaudits this week go to Wayne Hennessey. It is fair to say, after a great summer with the Welsh national team, Wayne hasn’t enjoyed his season so far with Palace. Steve Mandanda was acquired in the summer as the team’s new number one and with the Frenchman out injured, Hennessey hasn’t exactly been a safe pair of hands in a struggling Palace side. This weekend, he made four important saves for his team as they got vital points against relegation rivals, Middlesbrough. He’ll be needing to do more of the same in order to keep his side in the league next season.

The Stopper – Michael Keane

This is a young defender who will have a long and successful career ahead of him. This season he has been terrific and a huge factor in Burnley’s fortunes. He experienced a hectic five-minute spell against Hull, giving away a penalty for the opener (albeit a poor refereeing decision) then scoring the equaliser at the other end from a Robbie Brady corner. Keane showed great composure to take the ball on his chest and slot home from close range. A contender for young player of the season?

If John Stones is worth £50 million, Keane should bring in double that!

The Playmaker – Cesc Fabregas

I believe most clubs across Europe look to Chelsea with envy when they see Cesc Fabregas warming the bench for The Blues. When involved, he has been electric for the table toppers with his passing and chance creation. On Saturday, it was Fabregas’ three-hundredth premier league appearance and he marked the occasion with a goal and an assist. This being his 103rd assist in the English top tier. A quite phenomenal statistic, particularly when you consider this total is only behind Wayne Rooney (104) and Ryan Giggs (131) who have both played many more games. Whether he stays in West London next season is yet to be confirmed, but there could only be a few clubs in the world who wouldn’t benefit greatly from his services.

Another Playmaker – Christian Eriksen

One is normally enough, but why have one when you can have two? Eriksen has been in great form for Spurs this season and is seemingly showing his doubters exactly what he can offer on the pitch. After a successful campaign last year, Spurs have been under pressure to continue their momentum and it is arguable that Eriksen has been their most improved player. Two assists on Sunday put him at the top of the charts with ten in total. He often seems to be the driving force as Spurs take possession into the final third and they’ll need to keep him purring if they are going to get any closer to the top of the table.

The Finisher – Harry Kane

Another hattrick for Harry Kane. He expertly finished twice, and once with a stroke of luck, to steal the show against Stoke at White Hate Lane. The England forward is on track to make it back-to-back golden boots. Three hattricks in his last nine appearances would suggest this will be Kane’s year, again. There has been talk of Kane going for Shearer’s all time record but that is still some way off. First he needs to ensure Spurs get Champions League football. Maybe not this season, but his second aim will be to continue them on a path as true title contenders. As time goes on, it seems as though the wait to be domestic champions won’t be long.


Jack B. Parker

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