Written by Niall Hawthorne
The big debate in the world of football this week has been the handball rule, and its application in the Premier League this season. The debate itself has borne remarkable similarities to the debate around Covid-19 restrictions. If I had a euro for every person I heard bemoaning the handball law or the ‘lockdowns’, I’d be rich enough to buy myself a Covid-free island and spend all day every day recreating Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ against the actual Peter Shilton. What larks!
My point is that it’s easy to give out about ‘rules’ that you don’t agree with. It’s a damn sight harder to come up with a plan yourself. Don’t agree with the handball law as it stands? OK then, how should it be?
The most common refrain to that question is for referee’s and lawmakers to ‘use common sense’. Yet we’ve had decades of experience of common sense and judgement being lambasted by every pundit in the land when they didn’t agree. In fact, it sounded exactly like it has for the past week!
Don’t agree with the lockdown restrictions and feel that we ‘must learn to live with the virus’? Great, tell me how. Go on, I’m waiting. Remember though, unless you’re a fan of eugenics, or believe that a form of apartheid should be implemented against the aged or vulnerable, then you must protect them while ‘living with the virus’. Not so easy now, is it?
In summary, it’s easy to chastise those who come up with plans, it’s far hard to come up with plans to replace them.
Which reminds me that I should really tell you how to plan for GW4!
Defender: Timothy Castagne, Leicester City
Now here’s a man who likes to make a good first impression.
A goal, three assists, a clean sheet and four bonus points in his first three outings will certainly get you attention. He faces back to back home games against Claret and Blue opposition with West Ham and Villa calling to the King Power stadium.
West Ham are first up, and they are the antithesis of consistency right now. (On a side note, I reckon ‘antithesis of consistency’ would make a great name for an up and coming band). One minute they’re getting walloped by Newcastle, then they shellac Wolves while their gaffer watches on at home with a mug of Ovaltine, which they then follow up by getting chewed up and spat out by the Toffees.
Could Castagne be the new Alexander-Arnold? Can you have a ‘new’ Alexander-Arnold when the old one is only 21? Am I confused?
I’m saying ‘Yes’.
Midfielder: Adama Traore, Wolverhampton Wanderers
A player who has disappointed thus far this season, but who has a huge opportunity to impress against a frankly hilariously poor Fulham side who stutter into Molineux.
He’s going to get those naturally muscly limbs oiled up nicely before taking his place in the front three as an ‘out of position FPL dream’ should, before racking up at least 10 points.
On a side note, if you are watching this game, keep an eye out for Scotty Parker’s clobber. A double-breasted cardigan and a tie-pin wider than your tie? Relegate them now. Disgraceful.
Forward: Anthony Martial, Manchester United
No logic here, just pure gut instinct.
‘Tony’ has been abysmal thus far this season, but then again, that’s what he does, isn’t it? He’s due, is what I’m saying. A classic ‘Super Sunday’ slot at home to Spurs should be enough to get him to switch his FPL owners from screaming “Merde” to whispering “Ooooh la la, c’est magnifique”
Keep an eye out also for Eric Dier and any unplanned toilet breaks. If he’s defending the wrong end, it’s a long way to the tunnel and the bathroom…could get messy.
Captain: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
Q1: Who has completed the most passes into the penalty area in the Premier League this season?
A: Mo Salah
Q2: Who has received the most passes in the penalty area in the Premier League this season?
A: Mo Salah
Q3: Who has carried the ball into the penalty area the most in the Premier League this season?
A: Mo Salah
He’s doing alright this season. He faces an Aston Villa side who have beaten Sheffield United and Fulham thus far, flying high with 6 points. Of course, Sheffield United and Fulham have been bobbins this season, so they have a false sense of security and Liverpool are going to batter them.
Outsider: Andre Ayew, Crystal Palace
Just the one assist thus far, however he now faces a wonderfully enticing run of fixtures, starting with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. You should back a striker facing that defence! Also, all the attention will be on the impressive Zaha, so I fancy Ayew to nip in and steal the glory.
On a personal note I can’t wait for Frank Lampard to have a pop at Roy Hodgson on the side line. He will you know, he’ll actually pick on an old man. He’s that far up his own arse is Frank.
Written by @NiallHawthorne