Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the weekend.
Moment of the Week
Penalties were the theme of the day during Saturday’s action, with six spot-kicks scored during a weekend of controversy and major decisions.
Just once – 5th February 2011 – has there been more penalties (7) scored on a single day of Premier League football, with four of the division’s top five requiring spot-kicks to secure wins this weekend.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City each secured narrow 1-0 wins courtesy of penalties, the latter’s a particularly fortuitous decision with Joao Moutinho punished for a handball despite the ball appearing to hit under his arm.
Perhaps the biggest decision came deep into stoppage-time at Stamford Bridge, however, as Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot after Antonio Rudiger went down under Mateusz Klich’s challenge.
Jorginho scores a 94th minute winner for Chelsea with an 𝐈𝐂𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐋𝐃 penalty 🥶 pic.twitter.com/A45UmvJkrs
— GOAL (@goal) December 11, 2021
The Germany international made the most of an unwise challenge from Klich, earning Jorginho the chance to convert and rescue the west Londoners following an unconvincing home performance.
The late, late drama secured a below-par Chelsea three points and keeps the European champions in touching distance of Manchester City and Liverpool in what is shaping as fascinating three horse race for the title.
Player of the Week
Thomas Tuchel’s side may have laboured to a win over Leeds, but there was at least one Chelsea player who enjoyed a weekend to remember as Conor Gallagher continued to enhance his reputation away from Stamford Bridge.
The midfielder was at his industrious best as Crystal Palace beat Everton 3-1 on Sunday, scoring twice in an all-action showing as the Eagles moved within one point of the top 10.
Gallagher has been brilliant for Palace since his loan arrival from Chelsea and now has six goals and three assists in the Premier League this season, with only Mason Mount having registered more goal involvements amongst u23 players.
Conor Gallagher put it on a postage stamp 💥#CPFC pic.twitter.com/BmhDyMsWGc
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) December 12, 2021
No English player has also been directly involved in a higher proportion of their side’s goals this season (41%), though his goals are just one factor of the all-round energy, drive and creativity he brings between both boxes.
Gallagher regained possession on a joint-high of six occasions against Everton, whilst he led the stats for shots (7), shots on target (3), touches in the opposition box (8).
The 21-year-old has proved an inspired signing for Patrick Vieira and on current form has catapulted himself amongst the candidates for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Goal of the Week
Gallagher’s sensational second for Crystal Palace deserves an honourable mention for this accolade, but we’ve opted for a free-flowing Arsenal move as our Goal of the Week.
Arsenal had struggled during the opening exchanges of their 3-0 win over Southampton, before opening the scoring against the run of play with a fine move from back to front.
Alexandre Lacazette’s goal started with Aaron Ramsdale in possession inside his own area, the goalkeeper moving the ball onto Ben White to start a brilliant passage of play.
𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨:
1⃣ Stay calm
2⃣ Play it forwards
3⃣ Finish in style #ARSSOU pic.twitter.com/2gKM9vZ2cC
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 12, 2021
It was goal that Arsene Wenger would have been proud of as Arsenal rolled back the years, using one-touch football to navigate through the Southampton press and progress the ball forward.
Bukayo Saka’s drive forward and cross was then met with an emphatic finish from Lacazette, the Frenchman capping a delightful move as Arsenal took the lead at the Emirates.
Miss of the Week
It’s just not happening for Jack Grealish at Manchester City at present, the midfielder’s positive start with the Premier League champions having been followed by an underwhelming period of form.
Grealish has now scored just two goals in 19 appearances since his record-breaking £100m arrival from Aston Villa last summer, whilst his run without a goal has stretched to 13 games following the 1-0 win over Wolves this weekend.
The England international wasted a glorious chance to end that drought at the Etihad, spurning a glorious chance after turning Raheem Sterling’s teasing cross over the bar from close range.
The miss followed a host of wasted chances at Watford last weekend and Guardiola will be hoping the marquee arrival can find his form as the games come thick and fast over the festive period.
Quote of the Week
Newcastle’s trip to Leicester was viewed as an ideal chance for the Magpies to continue the momentum of last weekend’s drought-breaking win, with Eddie Howe’s side facing a Foxes side with defensive issues and still smarting from a midweek Europa League exit.
What followed was an emphatic reminder of the task facing Newcastle to survive, a comprehensive 4-0 defeat that once again exposed the shortcomings of this side.
If Howe was in any doubt over the size of the task facing him at St James’ Park, he certainly isn’t now.
“We’re in a huge fight to stay in this division. I was aware of that when I came in and that won’t change, I don’t think, throughout the whole season. We’re in a huge battle.”
Next up for Newcastle, a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool before home games against Man City and Man Utd.
Stat of the Week
Fair play to anyone who could have named Carl Cort as one of the five South American players to have scored for three different Premier League clubs, as Salomon Rondon joined the exclusive quintet after scoring his first Everton goal.
Rondon joins Cort, Nolberto Solano, Carlos Tevez and Gaston Ramirez in achieving the feat, after previously scoring in the division for both West Brom and Newcastle.
5 – Salomón Rondón, who now has 50 Premier League goal involvements (36 goals, 14 assists), is the fifth South American player to score for three different clubs in the division (WBA, Newcastle, Everton), after Carl Cort, Nolberto Solano, Carlos Tévez & Gastón Ramírez. Lifeline. pic.twitter.com/qDmuhglQCv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 12, 2021
Donkey of the Week
Raul Jimenez, just what were you thinking?
There is unlikely to be a more obvious candidate for his award all season, the Wolves forward’s utter stupidity undoing his side’s hard-work in nullifying the threat of Manchester City at the Etihad.
Wolves were seconds away from the half-time whistle with the score goalless against the Premier League champions, when Jimenez’s moment of madness within 48 seconds saw his side reduced to 10 men.
Raul Jimenez with a moment of madness in first-half stoppage time 😬
One of the most avoidable red cards you will see…
48 seconds between his first and second yellow! pic.twitter.com/VEA1Ym2rHN
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 11, 2021
After – harshly, we must admit – being booked for a challenge on Rodri, the Mexican refused to move the required distance from the free-kick, his attempt to stop City from playing quickly seeing Jonathan Moss produce a quick-fire second caution and red card.
It was a ludicrous moment at a crucial time in the game, and one that cost his side dearly as Wolves slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat.
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