x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Best and worst from Gameweek 5: Mignolet and Baines show

Graham Caygill looks at some of the good and bad moments of the weekend in the English Premier League.

Simon Mignolet has been instrumental for Liverpool's rise to the top. Rex Features via AP Images
Simon Mignolet has been instrumental for Liverpool's rise to the top. Rex Features via AP Images

Best saves — Mignolet

Liverpool’s early season bubble of optimism may have been burst by Southampton’s deserved victory at Anfield on Saturday, but the reputation of their goalkeeper continues to climb.

Simon Mignolet’s three clean sheets in his first three appearances for Liverpool since joining from Sunderland were a key part of their rise to the top of the table.

Liverpool may have had to endure their first loss of the season, but it would have been worse but for the heroics of the Belgian.

His finest moment came in the second half, when he got down low to parry Luke Shaw’s effort, after the Saints man had charged through. The shot looped up toward the goal, but Mignolet, 25, stretched up to palm the ball to his right, before completing his work by lunging to punch the ball away from the oncoming Steven Davis.

Worst message — Di Canio

Paolo Di Canio claimed his decision to stand in front of the Sunderland fans on the pitch after their emphatic loss to West Bromwich Albion was designed to show he was not giving up and they were in things together.

Instead, judging by the facial expressions of many of Sunderland’s travelling supporters, the move only antagonised them.

The Italian manager repeatedly pointed at his chin in an upwards motion. But that was going to be easier said than done for fans whose team are at the bottom of the table and had seen former star Stephane Sessegnon, accused of having a poor attitude when sold in the summer, score the first goal of the game for his new club.

So there was not a lot to be happy about, and being patronised does not help. Their next league game is at home to Manchester United. Oh, dear.

Best free kicks — Baines

To score one set-piece goal is good. Doing it twice in the same game? That is just showing off.

Leighton Baines took centre stage in Saturday’s 3-2 victory for Everton at West Ham United as his two efforts from outside the box saw the league’s only unbeaten side come from behind twice before going on to triumph.

He whipped his first effort into the top-right corner of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s goal from 25 yards out in the 62nd minute.

He completed his masterclass 21 minutes later, this time from slightly closer to goal, when he curled it over the wall, finding the net via Jaaskelainen’s left post.

It is not hard to see why Manchester United were so keen on the left-back.