Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the weekend.
Moment of the Week
Just how big a moment in the season could Brentford’s equaliser at Arsenal prove to be? After suffering a setback with defeat at Everton last weekend, the table-toppers dropped more points at home to the in-form Bees this weekend.
Arsenal were below their best and a draw was no doubt a fair result, but the Gunners will be furious with the manner of Brentford’s equaliser. VAR is once again under the microscope after allowing Ivan Toney’s leveller to stand, after the officials failed to identify that Christian Norgaard, who assisted the goal, had done so from an offside position.
The PGMOL have admitted that it was 'human error' which lead to VAR not fully investigating an offside call for Brentford's equaliser against Arsenal. pic.twitter.com/YrKRKaqggz
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 12, 2023
VAR investigated and cleared an incident earlier in the passage that saw Ethan Pinnock offside, but missed Norgaard as Lee Mason ‘forgot’ to apply the lines which should have seen the goal ruled out.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), responsible for match officials across English football, has admitted two ‘significant errors’ with VAR decisions this weekend, with Brighton also on the wrong end of an incorrect offside decision during their draw with Crystal Palace.
The decision at Arsenal, however, could have huge implications on the title race. The Gunners’ lead has been slashed to three points and Manchester City could move top of the Premier League on goal difference – having played a game more – with a win over Mikel Arteta’s side on Wednesday night. The pressure has been increased on an inexperienced Arsenal, who will hope that the error of officials does not cost the club in their pursuit of the title. The stage is set for an epic encounter in midweek.
Player of the Week
Leicester hit four goals for the second game running after thrashing Tottenham 4-1 in arguably the club’s most impressive performance of the season so far.
Brendan Rodgers’ side bounced back from falling a goal behind to cruise to three points at the King Power Stadium, with stand-in captain James Maddison superb in midfield. Maddison has been in brilliant form this season and took his contribution to 14 goals and assists in 15 league starts for the Foxes, scoring one and creating another as the hosts ran riot.
There’s an effortlessness to Maddison’s game as he finds space in the final third, drifting away from defenders before punishing teams with moments of invention and cutting edge. Newcastle and Manchester City have been linked with the 26-year-old and Leicester will face a fight to hold onto his services for much longer.
If Carlsberg did Saturdays that wouldn’t be far off let me tell ya😁 Loved leading the boys out there today & 3 points, goal & assist to put icing on the cake. Simply lovely 🤝🦊 pic.twitter.com/L8oeEmUBlg
— James Maddison (@Madders10) February 11, 2023
Creative and productive, he brings an x-factor to the Foxes’ side that will not have gone unnoticed at Premier League rivals. No Premier League midfielder has been directly involved in more goals this season.
Goal of the Week
Nampalys Mendy doesn’t score many goals. In 328 previous club career appearances, the midfielder had scored just once.
The 30-year-old had made 108 of those appearances for Leicester since signing for the club in 2016, but had never found himself on the scoresheet for the Foxes.
Then, with Leicester trailing against Spurs this weekend, he thought why not? And did this.
"My word, that was worth waiting for!" 🚀
Papy opens his #lcfc account 🏦 pic.twitter.com/wqlpex0meY
— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 11, 2023
What a way to open your account for the club.
Save of the Week
In a weekend of terrible decisions from Premier League officials, Chelsea found themselves on the wrong end of a handball call at West Ham.
With the scores level and the game into the final minutes, the officials somehow deemed Tomas Soucek’s block as perfectly legitimate. Bad refereeing, decent save.
Tomas Soucek's 'save' against Chelsea 👀 pic.twitter.com/H1Abgowwiz
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 12, 2023
Stat of the Week
Nathan Jones’ reign at Southampton has come to an end, dismissed after just three months in charge.
It was a time of bizarre soundbites and little on-field success, as Jones lost seven of his eight Premier League games in charge and failed to win a single point on home soil.
11 Premier League managers have got at least one point at St Mary's this season. Nathan Jones is not one of them, despite managing Southampton.
— Richard Jolly 🇺🇦 (@RichJolly) February 12, 2023
Quote of the Week
Nathan Jones, part-time football manager, part-time meme creator and, in his own humble words, once ‘the fittest human being in history’.
Southampton supporters won’t be sad to see him go, but watching Jones go full David Brent has been fascinating viewing in recent weeks.
🗣 "I could have stayed in a mining community, been a PE teacher and had a nice life, married a nice Welsh girl. Beautiful. I don’t. I want to test myself on every level & that’s nothing against Welsh women. I want to test myself."
Nathan Jones "loves" the pressure 👀 pic.twitter.com/zGD7nqrwtH
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 10, 2023
Donkey of the Week
A dishonourable award with no shortage of candidates this week, from some truly poor performances (Spurs, we’re looking at you) to some terrible decisions from Premier League officials.
However, for us the Donkey(s) of the Week go to the football ‘fans’ who continue to leave a stain on the beautiful game.
We stand with Ivan Toney and are working with Brentford to identify those who sent racist abuse.
At Arsenal we condemn all forms of discrimination and take a zero tolerance approach. We will apply the strongest possible action to anyone we can identify sending hateful messages. https://t.co/1fejDgeTB3
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 12, 2023
This weekend alone we’ve had fan violence outside of West Ham vs Chelsea, racist abuse directed in the direction of Brentford’s Ivan Toney and more – sickeningly predictable – tragedy-related chanting between Leeds and Manchester United fans at Elland Road.
These issue are not restricted to football alone, but there is something in the tribalism of the sport that brings out the utter worst in society’s flaws. It’s time that tougher and better punishments are put into place for those found guilty of such acts. Football’s authorities, for too long, have not done enough.
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