Football

The Irish Player Ratings From An Entertaining Midweek Premier League Feast

The Irish Player Ratings From An Entertaining Midweek Premier League Feast

It's safe to say that we can all agree that 10 Premier League games to break up the mid-week monotony of a freezing late-November is a welcome treat, and it helps when goals fly in left, right, and centre in some wonderfully entertaining games too.

With so many games and so many talking points, we felt the need for a report on the Irish players in action as not only were there a decent amount, but there was also a few really good performances to acknowledge.

As Burnley's Irish contingent helped the club break into the top six in the Premier League, Shane Long was given a start at The Etihad Stadium and we even had an unlikely goalscorer in there too.

Having had a chance to soak up the extended highlights we've rated the performance of each Irish player in the Premier League for this midweek round of fixtures.

Shane Duffy (started vs Crystal Palace) - 6

Another solid showing for Duffy, and another clean sheet for Brighton under Chris Hughton. The Derry man would have hoped to have made more of an impact in the opposition box on set-pieces, but his job was to keep goals out at the other end. Playing so well that even if Brighton go down, a Premier League club will be in for him.

Stephen Ward (started vs Bournemouth) - 6

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Another confident performance from Ward who links up so well with Robbie Brady on the left flank for Burnley under Sean Dyche. He rarely steals the limelight the way Brady does, but he didn't put a foot wrong and did what was asked of him well.

Robbie Brady (started vs Bournemouth) - 9

Another match-winning performance from Brady, who scored a peach on his right-peg from the edge of the area and created the first goal with some positive attacking play. The way he is influencing games in the Premier League makes his recent international form all the more curious, but hopefully we learn how to get the best out of him as Dyche appears to be able to. Was called a 'classy player' by Ian Wright on MOTD which is nice.

Jeff Hendrick (started vs Bournemouth) - 7

Like Brady above but without the goal/assist, Hendrick just looks a much more composed and effective player in club football. Playing behind striker Chris Wood, Jeff floated about linking up play with the wide men and allowing the deeper midfielders to charge into space, picking clever passes whenever the ball came his way. A good showing, he's been in cracking form for Burnley as of late.

Harry Arter (started vs Burnley) - 5

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Not Harry's best day at the office. The midfielder was subbed just shy of the hour mark with his team needing a goal as Jeff Hendrick proved elusive and Arter had very little impact on the game.

Shane Long (started vs Man City) - 6

Despite stretching his agonising wait for a goal for another game, Long actually put in a really good shift for Southampton and used his movement to create problems for Vincent Kompany and Co. at the back for City. After an encouraging cameo appearance against Everton it's clear that the goal will come sometime soon as Pellegrini seems to appreciate what the Tipperary man brings to his team.

Ciaran Clark (started vs West Brom) - 7

While the defensive performance wasn't much to write home about - for the whole unit rather than just Clark - the Ireland defender scored a massive goal to get his side back into the game as they were 2-0 down, which kickstarted the fight back for a draw. A solid performance from Clark who looks to be getting better and better.

James McClean (late sub vs Newcastle) - 5

Not much to report from James who now seems resigned to a sub appearance in the last 10 minutes as West Brom try to fix whatever problem is going on in the match. Always tough to make an impact in those scenarios, and McClean didn't offer much against Newcastle.

Declan Rice (late sub vs Everton) - 4

While it is great to see David Moyes pick up where Slaven Bilic left off in rating Irish teenager Declan Rice very highly, his only contribution to the game cost his side a goal. Rice was introduced directly before a corner was taken, and lost his man in Ashley Williams who scored the 4th goal. Arthur Masuaku was in his way, in fairness, but Rice would have been disappointed.

All in all, a good round of Premier League action for the Irish players, hopefully Alan Pardew takes to James McClean and gives him a few starts in the coming weeks, although that doesn't seem very likely as it's tough to imagine their personalities working well.

We'll wait and see, and we'll be back for another update soon.

Mikey Traynor