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Premier League awards: Brilliant Bruno, Sumptuous Salah, Nick’s nightmare

Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the weekend.

Moment of the week

As those of you interested in the best casino bonus will know, it’s been a big week in the Premier League title race, with Man City beating Arsenal on Wednesday to move to the top of the league, only to go and surprisingly drop points at Nottingham Forest at the weekend.

City had beaten Forest 6-0 earlier in the season, though despite having 73% possession, 23 attempts, and an XG of 2.4, Pep Guardiola’s side were massively wasteful in front of goal at the City Ground, with Keylor Navas only making five saves, and three of those were from outside the area.

All of this came after Arsenal looked like they would be dropping even more points in their game against Aston Villa, scoring in the 93rd and 98th minutes to seal a 4-2 win.

The latest twists in the title race.

Player of the week

Marcus Rashford continues to make the headlines as he banged in another brace, though it was Bruno Fernandes who was the heartbeat of the Manchester United side this weekend.

Once again deployed on the right flank, the Portuguese was in fine fettle and bagged two assists for himself. The first was a lovely outside-of-the-boot ball to pick out Rashford for his first of the afternoon, before he teed up Jadon Sancho who netted his fourth league goal of the campaign.

His NINE chances created against Leicester equalled this season’s Premier League record, also set by Fernandes in United’s win over Spurs earlier this season.

Fernandes is sometimes accused of being wasteful in possession, though it is his high-risk, high-reward style that means that when he gets it right, he is a devastating force. That, coupled with his energy and ability to cover the pitch makes him a vital cog in Erik ten Hag’s side.

Goal of the week

We can’t pick a winner in this one, with two crucial goals earning potentially vital 1-0 wins at the bottom end of the table.

James Ward-Prowse added another stunning free-kick to his growing showreel of dead ball strikes, getting the ball up and down over the wall and into the bottom corner to condemn Chelsea to defeat, and keep Southampton in touching distance of safety.

Unbelievably, not only does he get 75% of his free-kick efforts on target, a quite staggering 54.2% of them since the 2018/19 season have hit the back of the net, and he looks certain to break David Beckham’s record.

Meanwhile, Seamus Coleman scored a decisive goal for Everton as they beat relegation rivals Leeds on Saturday, the Irishman getting down the right, before catching Illan Meslier completely off guard and firing home from a narrow-angle.

Was it a cross? Was it a shot? The Everton veteran claims he meant it.

“Was there anyone in the box to cross to?” he said. “To be honest… the legs are finding it hard to get in those areas but I got in the area and I knew that maybe the keeper would have anticipated a cross so came half a yard. I could’ve hit it another 30 times and never hit it as sweet but thankfully it did.”

Assist of the week

It’s not one of our regular awards in our weekly ceremony, though Mohamed Salah’s sumptuous first-time ball over the top of the Newcastle defence was worthy of dusting off this particular accolade.

The Egyptian received the ball from Fabinho on the edge of the box before playing the most perfectly weighted ball into Cody Gakpo who made no mistake with the finish.

Save of the week

A 3-0 scoreline looks comfortable for Manchester United, though they were fortunate not to go 2-0 down in the first half, with David de Gea to thank for not one, but two excellent saves.

First, the Spaniard denied Harvey Barnes as the Leicester forward looked a shoo-in to score, before showcasing his superb reflexes to prevent a Kelechi Iheanacho header. Combined, the two efforts alone had an Expected Goals on-target (xGOT) value of 1.09.

Miss of the week

As mentioned, Manchester City were massively wasteful in front of goal during their 1-1 draw with Forest, and having plundered 26 goals already this season, you’d have thought Erling Haaland’s double chance in the 67th minute looked destined to ripple the back of the net. His double effort alone registered a combined figure of 0.97xG, almost half of City’s total (2.40) for the entire match.

Quote of the week

Graham Potter is a man under pressure at Chelsea, after the Blues’ 1-0 loss to Southampton takes their record to just one win in their last 10.

After boos rang out at full-time, Potter doesn’t think he is the ‘problem’ at Chelsea:

“I’m sure there will be people out there that think I’m the problem, absolutely,” he said. “I don’t think they’re right but I’m not arrogant enough to say their opinion isn’t worth articulating.

“My job is to help the team, keep working through a team period, we’ve had to make some changes today and the truth is we took a step back in our performance in the first half. The response in the second half was good, but it wasn’t good enough.”

Donkey of the week

Nick Pope has been superb for Newcastle this season, with the Magpies comfortably having the best defence in the entire Premier League, however, the England stopper earns this unwanted accolade this week following his nightmare at St James’.

There was very little he could do about either of Liverpool’s goals in the opening 17 minutes, but with just a quarter of the game gone, his mistake cost him and his side dearly.

Racing out of goal in an attempt to beat Mohamed Salah to the ball, Pope seemingly tried to head the ball, lost his footing and then handled it miles outside of his area to earn himself a red card.

While it’s only a one-match suspension for the Magpies ‘keeper, it just happens to be that the game he will miss will be the Carabao Cup final against Manchester United.

To rub salt in the wounds, Newcastle’s number 2 goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka, also can’t feature in the Wembley showpiece having featured for United in the competition while on loan at Old Trafford earlier this season, leaving Eddie Howe with a decision to make…Loris Karius or Mark Gillespie.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 24

Read Also – 90s Hitmen: Romario, a Brazilian goalscoring genius

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