Following his error-strewn showing at Liverpool, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini took a drastic, yet daring course of action in dropping captain Vincent Kompany for Leicester’s Etihad visit.
In the aftermath of the match – which the Citizens won 2-0 – the Chilean tactician attempted to douse the speculative flames stating the Belgian had been dropped, claiming fatigue as the cause for his benching.
That being the case, Kompany is sure to lead the team out when City battle Burnley next, a match they’re rated 2/5 to win.
Whether he makes the XI or not remains to be seen, but Pellegrini’s bold precedent of overlooking a seemingly iron-clad starter is one that deserves plaudits.
It’s a move that the manager’s of these misfiring lynchpins must take note of if they want to restore their stars to glories of Saturdays gone by.
Pondering such a thought aloud pre-Christmas would’ve resulted in instant incarceration, but the Brazil-born striker has now gone six matches without finding the net since a brace at Swansea.
It’s arguably the Blues’ increased pragmatism in recent weeks starving him of service, but with first reserve Loic Remy bagging two goals in his last four starts, there’s a case to make for leaving the former Atletico Madrid man out.
Currently injured, the Liverpool skipper faces a fight to regain a place in the Reds starting XI upon his recovery.
Since he succumbed to a hamstring strain the Anfielders have prevailed in five of their last six, triumphing in all of their domestic outings in this timeframe.
Having failed to win half of the ten games that preceded Gerrard’s last, it’s clear Liverpool’s consistency improves without the midfield veteran.
Few expected the Italian to make such an impact at Southampton following his arrival from the land of false promises (the Eredivisie, for short), but the former Feyenoord frontman silenced his manifold critics with nine goals before November.
His golden touch has since deserted him in emphatic fashion, with no top-flight strike registered since December 20th, yet the Saints have not submitted a teamsheet without his name on it.
Aston Villa’s long-serving speedster operates with impunity in the Villans’ attack.
After months of fruitless endeavours on either flank, Agbonlahor found the net for only the second time since a mid-September win over Liverpool against West Brom last time out.
Throughout this lengthy barren spell and, indeed, before it began, the 28-year-old also failed to provide a single assist.
Australian enforcer Jedinak is Crystal Palace captain, but when he jetted off Down Under for the Asian Cup the Eagles savoured a spike in form.
With just one win in the 12 matches preceding his southern hemisphere soiree, Palace racked up five victories in the first seven matches he was missing for.
Such figures might explain their lack of opposition to his recently accrued three-match violent conduct ban.