What a week it’s been. It takes something extraordinary to push Premier League football firmly onto the backburner, but the threat of the big six abandoning the top flight altogether shook the world of English football like never before. To the relief of the vast majority of fans throughout the country and indeed across the world, the plans fell apart in days, and for now, at least, the concept of the Super League seems to have died down.
In the midst of all this, it is of course worth remembering that there were Premier League matches being played through the whole period, with Matchweek 32 stretching from Friday 16th of April through until the following Thursday. In a week that rocked football to its core, we look at the players and managers who continued to thrive amidst all the deafening noise.
Stars in Premier League – Gameweek 32
Goalkeeper: Robert Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion)
In this long-running Matchweek, there were very few candidates in the way of standout goalkeepers. However, on the Tuesday evening where the super league started to come crashing down, Brighton’s goalkeeper Robert Sanchez enjoyed a strong performance at Stamford Bridge amidst the ongoing fan protests outside the ground.
The Spanish goalkeeper made some expected but necessary saves from Kai Havertz and Kurt Zouma to keep Chelsea at bay, although in truth the Blues created very little. Still, Brighton’s former back-up helped his side to another impressive point in their bid to beat the drop, having become the Seagull’s first choice goalkeeper this season.
Defender: Jonny Evans (Leicester City)
A resurgent West Brom side looked like they could pose a problem for Leicester City in the final game of the Matchweek, especially with the Foxes having lost the previous two in a row. However, Leicester strolled to a comfortable 3-0 victory in this midlands match-up, and centre back Jonny Evans certainly played his part.
The ever-reliable defender enjoyed another good outing here, guiding some of the less experienced defenders around him to an important clean sheet and also scoring his side’s second goal to help take the game away from the Baggies.
That goal may push his former club closer to the drop, but more importantly for Evans, it takes his current employers another step closer to the Champions League.
Midfielder: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)
A strange game for Everton on the eve of the Super League fiasco saw the Toffees weave some exciting attacking play with a couple of awful, self-inflicted goals conceded.
On the bright side for Everton, their number 10 Gylfi Sigurdsson was in blistering form. In addition to causing the spurs defence all sorts of problems, the Icelandic midfielder coolly dispatched a penalty after James Rodriguez had been tripped, before slamming home a top-class half volley with his weaker foot. When Sigurdsson is at his best like this, he’s so difficult to handle.
Forward: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
Did we ever doubt him?
If there was one thing more certain than Jamie Vardy ending his barren run of goals, it was the fact that he would score against West Bromwich Albion again, for what feels like the umpteenth time in his career.
Although the goal was a very simple finish for him, it was an important moment early on to get Leicester moving, before his rampaging run down the left flank set up his in-form strike partner Kelechi Iheanacho for yet another goal to put the game beyond the Baggies.
Two strikers up top don’t seem to be all that popular these days, but Vardy and Iheanacho together are making it look easy.
Manager: Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City)
With Leicester City still firmly hunting down a top four finish, it’s time that Brendan Rodgers gets the recognition and credit he deserves. His side’s 3-0 triumph here was the latest achievement in a growing list of positive results this season, and he has shown great ingenuity to play with two strikers amidst injuries to some key attacking players, a move that has proven to be a revelation for Iheanacho and Vardy.
The Champion’s League is ever so close for the Foxes now and, barring a repeat of last season’s eventual collapse, Leicester should now make top four, making Rodgers a favoured candidate for the manager of the season award.