Another week and with it another set of TOTW predictions, however this time, it doesn’t make for pretty reading. With the TOTY due to be released today, and the lack of domestic matches this week, we see a very weak lineup approaching. Then when we also remove any TOTY nominations from the pool of players, we are left with what can only be described as the worst TOTW so far this year.
For the past few years almost every Real Madrid game to feature within these predictions, would include a Real Madrid player, this year however is a very different situation. Real Sociedad picked up the points in a 2-0 away win to Madrid this week, with Rulli playing a monumental part in this win. With 28 shots against his goal and 8 fantastic saves, Rulli cruises into the lineup and locks down the first spot we have available this week.
Staying in La Liga here, where Eibar and Villarreal shared the points with a goalless draw on the weekend. Pedraza was moved into a defensive role for this match, where he seemed to excel. Staying strong throughout the match, taking the top rating and ensuring the clean sheet could very well be enough to secure an Inform this week.
Porto were on the road for their weekend fixture as they travelled to Aves for their Liga Nos match. The game itself provided supporters with just a single goal, a goal that went in favour of the guests. Militao was solid defensively across the 90 minutes, but when we also consider the fact that he scored the winning goal, it just makes no sense to exclude this man from our lineup.
It was smooth sailing for Braga this week as they picked up a 2-0 home win against Marítimo to secure the points. Raul was in fine form for this match, commanding the defensive line and creating an unbreakable wall in front of his goal. The fact that he also managed to get himself on the scoresheet is simply the cherry on the cake, as he strolls his way into this week’s lineup.
Pina is up next, and with the lack of competition a single goal from the midfield looks very likely to be enough this week. Deportivo Alaves took the points this week with a 2-1 win at home to Valencia. While things simply get worse and worse for the visitors this season, at least their loss could help Pina secure his first upgrade of the campaign!
Xhaka is one of those players who seems to either have an incredible match, or an absolute nightmare, this week was one of those incredible matches. Arsenal brushes aside a struggling Fulham with a very comfortable 4-1 win mid-week, with Xhaka dominating the midfield, scoring a goal and taking the man of the match award for himself. Looks like we could be seeing a second Inform Xhaka to kick start 2019.
This is the part of the predictions that hurts me the most, the inevitable nomination(s) from the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool. Fernandinho was simply breathtaking on the day, he held down the backline while also moving the attacks forward. It felt like he was in every inch of the pitch for the full 90 minutes, and hence is extremely deserving of this nomination.
Our second Madrid match to feature within these predictions, and it’s the second time that the opponents receive the nomination. Villarreal held Madrid to a 2-2 draw in the week, and once again Cazorla showed that age is just a number. From being told he will never play again, to scoring a brace against the Champions League winners, things are looking up for this Spaniard!
I really didn’t want to do this, but it looks like we have a possible double entry from City this week. With the match locked at 1-1, it took a moment of pure brilliance from this German to separate the two clubs. His inch perfect strike struck the post before finding the back of the net. It pains me to say this, but Sane was simply incredible as well.
This selection really does feel a little weak, however as we have mentioned many times before, there simply isn’t much competition this week. Leicester pulled off a 1-0 win away to Everton in the week, and just in case you hadn’t guessed, it was Vardy who scored the deciding goal. There is every chance that this goes either way, but without a single special card to his name so far this year, this could be his time to shine.
Our final selection within the starting eleven sees us heading back to where it all began, with Sociedad’s 2-0 win over Madrid. Jose lead from the front and was clinical when it mattered most. Not only did he provide a goal, but he also found the assist for the second, and with such a limited pool of matches to select from this week, there is every chance that both of these players make the final cut.