English football once again proved unmissable action this weekend with a series of thrilling contests between Premier League clubs, amongst the highlights a host of high-scoring draws including Merseyside and London derbies.
Manchester United and Manchester City bounced back from disappointing results before the international break to seal three points, whilst Chelsea’ defensive deficiencies will be a major concern to Frank Lampard despite encouraging signs from his attacking contingent.
Following the weekend’s action we’ve decided to look at some of the poorer performers, here are five Premier League players who had a mare in gameweek 5:
Fulham finally registered their first point of the season following a difficult return to the Premier League, though it could have been much more but for a nightmare performance from Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Serbia international has been a talismanic figure for the Cottagers in recent seasons, but he will want to move on quickly from his display in the club’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield United, missing a first-half penalty after hitting a poor effort off the top of the crossbar.
Ademola Lookman’s wonderful goal briefly spared Mitrovic’s blushes as Fulham went ahead for the first time in the league this season, only for the forward’s afternoon to worsen further by the conceding of late penalty for a clumsy foul on Jack Robinson.
Aleksandar Mitrović's game by numbers vs. Sheffield United:
3 shots off target
2 fouls conceded
1 penalty conceded
1 penalty missed
A day to forget. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/qcmlEht3ee
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 18, 2020
Mitrovic’s desire to clear a loose ball only resulted in him clattering the Sheffield United defender, allowing Billy Sharp to convert from the spot and leave Fulham searching for their first win of the season.
Frank Lampard has insisted that Kepa Arrizabalaga retains his full backing, but it is difficult to see his public stance being little more than an attempt to defend his player, rather than any genuine faith in the goalkeeper’s abilities at this stage.
The Spaniard returned to the starting line up this weekend following an injury to summer signing Edouard Mendy during the international break, swiftly providing a reminder as to why the west London side were so keen to address their goalkeeping position this summer.
His role in Southampton’s second goal was embarrassing as he feebly attempted two challenges following Kurt Zouma’s poor backpass, firstly missing the ball completely before failing to put the ball into touch when handed a second chance to dispossess Che Adams.
It was yet another costly error from a player whose confidence has been shattered over recent months, his status as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper ever more staggering given his calamitous displays.
Kepa has now made three errors leading to goals in just three appearances this season and Lampard now faces a selection dilemma with Mendy not expected back until the end of the month, the ageing – and similarly unconvincing – Willy Caballero appearing the best of a bad bunch amongst his options at present.
Jordan Pickford’s name has dominated the headlines this weekend following his horror challenge on Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk during the Merseyside derby, an inexcusably reckless lunge that has left the defender requiring surgery for damaged knee ligaments.
Whilst many have been quick to suggest there was no malicious intent, it came as little surprise to see the England international launch himself into the Dutch defender, Pickford’s public persona hardly coming across as endearing to Premier League neutrals.
The 26-year-old has previous including a similar lunge on Dele Alli that saw the midfielder fortunate to escape without harm two years ago, his scissor-style lunging more leg snapper than sweeper-keeper.
Everton’s superb start to the season is in danger of being undone by a goalkeeper whose form and mentality is likely to leave Carlo Ancelotti hugely concerned, his start to the season having been littered with mistakes and this latest show of recklessness.
— Sam 🧬 (@sxmlfc_) October 18, 2020
That his tackle went unpunished has left much of the football world baffled, though Everton can ill-afford their number one to perform with such rashness in future fixtures as they seek to challenge England’s elite and seal European qualification.
Tottenham have begun the new season with an attacking verve that has contradicted long-held perceptions regarding Jose Mourinho’s style of football, but the Portuguese’s side have been uncharacteristically exposed defensively during his reign in north London to date.
It was more of the same as Spurs incredibly squandered a three-goal lead with just 10 minutes remaining against West Ham, imploding in a dramatic conclusion that saw Manuel Lanzini snatch an equaliser with a stunning stoppage-time effort.
Amongst the club’s poorer performers was centre-back Davinson Sanchez, who gifted West Ham possession with his first contribution before taking out Michail Antonio, the Colombian failing to get to grips with the pace and power of the Hammers forward.
A bizarre own goal – heading into his own net when unchallenged for West Ham’s second goal – capped a dismal display for the 24-year-old who has failed to convince on a consistent basis since a £42m move from Ajax three years ago.
Sanchez appears to have all the attributes to be the leading defender Spurs need as they bid to challenge for major silverware, but his performance levels have simply not been up to the standard required.
Newcastle have been a club reluctant to splash the cash in recent years and have been frugal when it comes to investment in the side, which makes the club-record signing of Joelinton all the more puzzling given his struggles since arriving on Tyneside.
The Brazilian forward arrived from Hoffenheim last summer and endured a hugely disappointing debut campaign in English football, scoring just two league goals and failing to convince playing as a lone forward for much of the campaign.
Regular watchers of the Bundesliga pointed to a change of position for the 24-year-old as the reason for his struggles after playing as a second striker in a two-man partnership at Hoffenheim, but it is difficult to see how a player whose game has been littered with clumsy touches and an inability to execute basic passes could thrive as a creative force.
Steve Bruce has utilised the forward on the flanks in the opening weeks of the season with Joelinton playing from the right-hand side in the defeat to Manchester United, producing another uninspiring performance and failing to produce a single shot or cross.
Once trusted by one of the world’s most respected coaches in Julian Nagelsmann and compared to former Hoffenheim star Roberto Firmino, it has been some fall from grace for the £40m man who looks further away than ever from igniting his Newcastle career.