x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Premier League: best and worst this week

Cisse gets back on the scoresheet while Silva's absence is hurting City.

Newcastle United's Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse celebrates in the game against West Brom.
Newcastle United's Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse celebrates in the game against West Brom.

Best way back

Papiss Cisse hit the ground running when he signed for Newcastle United in the January transfer window, firing in 13 goals in the second half of the season. This campaign he had failed to find the mark until yesterday and it was with a little help from a friend.

Demba Ba had opened the scoring for the home side before Romelu Lukaku equalised after the break for West Bromwich Albion. With the match heading for a draw Sammy Ameobi made a late surge and fired of a shot that hit Cisse's back and flew past a wrong-footed Ben Foster.

They say it doesn't matter how you free yourself from a goal drought, so Liverpool, Newcastle's next opponents, should be a bit concerned, although Suarez had benefited himself earlier in the day with the help of a deflection off Everton's Leighton Baines.


Best celebration

Love him or hate him, Luis Suarez, the Liverpool striker, is a headline maker all right. He makes no attempt to calm things down when tempers are rising.

His wild celebrations against Ghana at the 2010 World Cup, having stopped the Africans equalising with a handball, the whole "handshakegate" with Patrice Evra, and now ... the Uruguayan's shot led to Liverpool's first goal against Everton yesterday, after which he ran all the way to the opposition's dugout and belly flopped in front of it, obviously in reaction to the Everton manager David Moyes's pre-match comments about his alleged diving.

It wasn't subtle, but it was pretty funny ... unless you are an Everton fan.


Worst absence

Sometimes a player's reputation can grow simply by being out of a team. Player A is injured, team do badly while he is out, fans long for player A to return.

The difference with David Silva is that his reputation could hardly get any higher - World Cup winner, European champion, Premier League champion.

Manchester City seem to be missing his presence though. The Spanish midfielder has been absent for the club's last three games through injury.

In the first, they almost lost to West Bromwich Albion before two late goals gave them a 2-1 win. The second saw them go down to Ajax in the Champions League in a stunted performance.

And on Saturday, they stuttered to a 1-0 victory over Swansea. Silva is the metronome that makes City tick and they could really do with him back in action.


Worst discipline

Two contenders for this award. Aston Villa's Joe Bennett got himself sent off and probably lost his side two points against Norwich City when, on a booking, he decided to wrestle Elliott Bennett to the floor as the pair ran down the wing. A 1-0 score line turned into 1-1.

But the most stupid play of the weekend goes to Queens Park Rangers' Stephane Mbia.

The Premier League's bottom-placed team were holding Arsenal 0-0 away from home with 10 minutes left, when, despite having been given a free kick, the Cameroon left-back swung a boot at Thomas Vermaelen for no reason whatsoever. Red card and, four minutes later, his side were 1-0 down. What a wally.


Best goals

At half time of the 6pm kick offs in the Premier League on Saturday, just two goals had been scored in the four games taking place. Luckily for goal-starved fans, both were incredible efforts.

And, for all the millions of pounds worth of talent in Premier League strike forces, it was two of the league's lesser lights who took centre stage - and both were defenders. Mikele Leigertwood, a journeyman centre-half who has spent most of his career in England's lower leagues, netted with a 30-yard screamer to open the scoring for Reading in their 3-3 thriller against Fulham.

Not to be outdone, Wigan Athletic's Ivan Ramis, nine games into his Premier League career after spending eight years in Spain with Mallorca, bettered Leigertwood's strike for sheer ferocity.

He met a corner on the half volley for a shot that would probably have taken the West Ham United keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen into the net had he got in the way.