November 22, 2016

FREE KICKS: Man City says yeah for Yaya

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

One of Manchester City’s stars stepped up in a tight game and delivered a win for his team in a matchup it probably should’ve done better in.

Who was the star that came through this week amongst a roster full of the world’s best?

Was it Sergio Aguero? Kevin De Bruyne? David Silva? What about Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling or Nolito? Kelechi Iheanacho off the bench? One of its many star defenders perhaps?

No, it was the man that was among the first to be exiled from the team sheet upon Pep Guardiola’s arrival in the summer: Yaya Toure.

A leader of the old regime on the pitch, Toure was seemingly put out to pasture by the new manager and many thought he had played his last game with the team. That wasn’t the case.

On Saturday, after not making the bench all season, Toure was inserted into the starting XI and boy did he show the manager what he was missing.

Toure scored both of City’s goals against Crystal Palace, including a beauty to open scoring in the game.

Whether or not this means he’ll be back playing a regular role with the team remains to be seen, but it certainly shows the kind of depth this City side has.

Of course, Toure may just be playing for a transfer in the January window, but Pep – like any manager – will take points any way that they come.


With all due respect to Toure, this week’s award goes to Harry Kane.

The Spurs striker, in his second game back from injury, scored a late brace to first tie the game against West Ham and then win it with an injury-time penalty.

His hard work ensured that Tottenham would remain the Premier League’s only undefeated team and also not fall further behind in the standings as the teams above it continued to pick up three points.

If not for the late winner, Spurs would be looking at a four-point gap between them and Arsenal in fourth.

With a huge game against league-leaders and London rival Chelsea next weekend, this win was very much needed.


With its 1-0 win over Middlesbrough, Chelsea now has six straight wins, have a goal differential of 17-0 and is now atop the table. Alberto Conte sure has his team looking like contenders … Liverpool finally got a clean sheet, but it was in a 0-0 draw. Where’s the fun in that? … Victor Anichebe has three goals and an assist in Sunderland’s two-game winning streak after his brace this weekend. David Moyes’ side is still second from bottom though. That could be changing really quick if the Black Cats keep up this run of form … Dele Alli is now just Dele, apparently. He dropped the Alli from his name as he feels no connection to his biological family’s name after being adopted … How the hell is Harry Winks? Spurs just keeps turning out good, young English players. Winks, of course, scored a nice goal off a rebound in his debut … West Ham’s Michail Antonio now has 11 headed goals this calendar year – that’s tied with Tim Cahill for the Premier League record … Bob Bradley’s Swans got a point against visiting Everton, but it wasn’t enough to get them off the bottom of the table thanks to Sunderland’s win … Nathan Ake made quite the return to the lineup. The ex-Chelsea defender scored the only goal in Bournemouth’s 1-0 win over Stoke.


The biggest shock of the weekend didn’t happen on the pitch.

Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho blood-rival actually shook hands after Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

It’s no secret that Wenger actively hates the Portuguese, but after this game the two seemed to put their hate aside for a brief, cordial moment.

Of course, Wenger hasn’t beaten Mourinho in 14 games now, so you know that it must’ve pained the Frenchman to do so, but I expected a bit more from this rivalry.

On the field, it was a draw that didn’t exactly live up to its billing. A header by Olivier Giroud evened things up late after Mata’s opener, but both sides deserved the point.

Let’s just hope that the next time these teams meet, later this season in London, that we get a few more fireworks.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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