In a weekend of incredible goals and vast storylines it was Leighton Baines’ stunning free-kick double that allowed him to snatch the honors of Premier League Player of the Week.
Coming off their 1-0 victory over Manchester City, Everton started a bit slow on Saturday and found themselves down 0-1 at half time following a Ravel Morrison deflected strike. Needing a lift, Roberto Martinez brought on James McCarthy and Romelu Lukaku but it was Baines who stepped up to level the match.
After a foul just outside the West Ham area in the 62nd minute, Baines unleashed a harsh-swerving left-footed shot into the top right corner of Jussi Jääskeläinen’s goal. Fourteen minutes later, however, Everton conceded a penalty that Mark Noble converted to hand West Ham a 2-1 lead. Once again, Baines came to Everton’s rescue.
After a foul in nearly the same place outside the Hammer’s box, up stepped the fantastic Baines who hit an identically shaped shot that this time banked off the left corner of the goal and into the back of the net. Two minutes later, Lukaku handed the Toffees their game-winner.
For Baines it was two free-kicks and two goals. It’s hard to remember the last time a player managed to do that. Especially a full-back. Which is exactly what makes Baines such a special player – he impacts the offensive side of the game in such an impressive manner and from such an unlikely position.
With the brace, Baines holds the Premier League record for having scored the most direct free-kicks (6) since 2008-09.