Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the weekend.
Moment of the Week
How big a moment could this be in the Premier League title race?
Arsenal more than deserved their 3-1 win over Liverpool at the Emirates, though the Gunners were gifted a second-half lead in North London. Virgil van Dijk and Alission, the two pillars on which Liverpool’s backline is built, were involved in an uncharacteristic clusterf*ck to give Gabriel Martinelli the easiest of goals.
A win for Liverpool would have taken them eight points clear of Mikel Arteta’s team, but the gap between them now is just two points. With Manchester City and even Aston Villa still right in the mix, could we see the best title race in recent seasons across the run-in?
“HOW can that happen?!” 🤯
Liverpool fans, look away pic.twitter.com/yS6bbPy9Gm
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 4, 2024
For sheer drama, however, how can we not mention Newcastle’s topsy-turvy thriller with Luton?
There will not have been many who predicted the clash at St James’ Park to evoke such excitement, but a fearless Luton took the game to an increasingly vulnerable Newcastle and rewarded for their ambition.
Eight goals, evenly shared, saw the full-time whistle conclude a classic in the North East, with Harvey Barnes equaliser rescuing a result for Newcastle, who were forced to come from two goals down having led earlier in the game.
An insane 90 minutes 🤯 pic.twitter.com/IToJe26ogq
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) February 3, 2024
Luton, having thrashed Brighton in midweek, are beginning to find real momentum and confidence at the top level.
Player of the Week
Ollie Watkins is having some season at Aston Villa and continued his memorable campaign with a starring role in his side’s big win at Sheffield United.
Watkins scored one, created two more, and was involved in another as Unai Emery’s side battered the Blades at Bramall Lane. In the process, Watkins became the first Premier League player to reach 10+ goals and 10+ assists in the division this season.
The 28-year-old is a bundle of energy and smart around the penalty box, with his willingness to run in behind over and over again causing countless problems for the home side.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 3, 2024
Only three players – Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe and Mohamed Salah – have been directly involved in more goals across Europe’s top five leagues than Watkins (21) this season. That’s elite company.
An honourable mention must go to Matheus Cunha, who did what only three men have done previously to score a Premier League hat-trick against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The big Brazilian is bang in form right now and became only the second Wolves player, after Diogo Jota, to score a Premier League treble. Chelsea, meanwhile, are a right mess.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 4, 2024
Goal of the Week
Youri Tielemans has got a back catalogue of bangers that puts most Premier League players to shame and Aston Villa fans finally got the thunderbastard they have craved since the midfielder’s arrival from Leicester in the summer.
Unai Emery’s side ran riot to thrash Sheffield United 5-0 at Bramall Lane, with Tielemans scoring the fourth – and the pick of the bunch – with his effort blasted in off the underside of the crossbar.
Touch. Shoot. Goal. 🚀
Youri Tielemans™️ pic.twitter.com/DzdJMZ9vli
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) February 3, 2024
Stat of the Week
Kobbie Mainoo’s winning goal for Manchester United at Wolves in midweek was only the second time in Premier League history a winner had been scored and assisted by a teenager, having been teed up by fellow academy graduate Omari Forson.
The first instance also came for Manchester United, when a 19-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo assisted 18-year-old Wayne Rooney at Liverpool.
Whatever happened to those two?
2 – Kobbie Mainoo’s (18) goal last night, assisted by Omari Forson (19), was only the second winning goal in @premierleague history to be both scored & assisted by a teenager, after Cristiano Ronaldo (19) assisting Wayne Rooney (18) for Man Utd v Liverpool (Jan ’05). Carrington. pic.twitter.com/8jNZSyJMe0
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 2, 2024
Tweet of the Week
Things are looking bleak for the Blades.
Sheffield United shipped five goals at home to Aston Villa, reaching 59 conceded in just 23 league games this season. It’s the most any team has conceded at this stage of a top-flight season in 58 years.
Not that the pressure is getting to Chris Wilder.
No, not one bit.
He must really hate loud eaters.
do not disrespect Chris Wilder by eating a sandwich in his presence pic.twitter.com/cnn0e5woPD
— cepheus (bsky:@ceph3.us + masto: @firstname.lastname@example.org) (@mc_rum_hammer) January 31, 2024
Donkey of the Week
The aforementioned Virgil van Dijk and Alisson are fortunate to escape dual custody of his dishonourable award, with our Donkey of the Week an increasingly unpopular veteran.
Roy Hodgson has done a lot right for Crystal Palace. Now, however, he appears to have outstayed his welcome.
The Eagles were beaten 4-1 at arch-rivals Brighton this weekend and have now won just twice in their last 12 games to hover only five points above the drop zone.
The 76-year-old made the dreadful decision to bring on a clearly unfit Michael Olise at 3-0 down, with the influential winger substituted off 10 minutes later. An unnecessary gamble given the game was all but gone, and one that could backfire hugely should Olise be ruled out for an extended period.