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Premier League Awards: Superb Saka, Etihad entertainment, and Zaha’s early bath

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

Moment of the Week

Chelsea have struggled for results and performances in recent weeks, falling adrift of a Manchester City side that are looking more and more like a Premier League juggernaut with each passing performance.

Having seen the defending champions score four or more goals for the third consecutive league fixture earlier in the day, Chelsea found themselves trailing to Aston Villa in the early evening fixture and at risk of falling nine points behind in the title race.

Romelu Lukaku was introduced from the bench at half-time and marked his return to the side with a match-winning cameo, proving the catalyst of a comeback win and glancing home a header to put his side in front.

It was a moment of quality from the Belgian, ghosting across Tyrone Mings and outmuscling the centre-back to head home a decisive goal.

Fitness issues have prevented Lukaku from finding the scoresheet as often as hoped this season, but his record arrival from Inter Milan last summer was signed off with moments like this in mind.

Player of the Week

Mikel Arteta said that Bukayo Saka is getting better and better following Arsenal’s win at Norwich and it’s an assessment that’s difficult to disagree with following the latest outstanding performance from the winger.

Saka was in menacing mood as he gave Brandon Williams a torrid time at left-back, scoring twice in a resounding 5-0 win at Carrow Road and providing Arsenal’s most dangerous threat throughout.

The 20-year-old opened the scoring after just six minutes, before netting a superb second after being afforded too much room to cut inside and fire home beyond Tim Krul.

Saka remains amongst the most exciting young talents in the Premier League and is at the forefront of an emerging Arsenal side, the Gunners’ new-look defence providing the foundation for their promising attack to flourish.

The quartet of Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe have all found their groove in recent weeks and their performances offer encouragement to the north London side’s hopes of a Champions League return.

Game of the Week

It would be impossible to delve through our Premier League tributes without saluting a sensational game of football at the Etihad, Manchester City and Leicester playing out a truly bonkers Boxing Day clash.

Leicester looked to be heading towards an emphatic embarrassment at the Premier League champions, the Foxes finding themselves four goals down inside the first 25 minutes as City ran riot.

Brendan Rodgers’ side bounced back after the break, however, scoring three times in just 10 minutes to create anxiety amongst the watching home crowd as an improbable comeback edged closer.

In a game which saw the momentum swing from one end to another, City put the result beyond doubt as further goals from Aymeric Laporte and Raheem Sterling made it six, in what was the first ever Boxing Day Premier League fixture to feature nine goals.

One for the neutrals.

Goal of the Week

Brighton ended the longest run without a win in English football’s top four divisions, moving back into the Premier League’s top half after beating Brentford 2-0 at the Amex Stadium.

The Seagulls secured three points after wonderful goals from Leandro Trossard and Neil Maupay, the former’s a brilliant demonstration of awareness and technique to lift a first-time volley over the onrushing Alvaro Fernandez.

Enock Mwepu’s long pass released the Belgian in behind, with Trossard allowing the ball to drop over his shoulder before delicately touching the ball over Fernandez to open the scoring.

Quote of the Week

“It was a roller coaster, a typical Boxing Day (game) with a lot of goals.

“For everyone it was an entertaining game. It’s another victory, so important to continue our run, but it was weird.”

– Pep Guardiola on Manchester City 6-3 Leicester

Stat of the Week

James Ward-Prowse’s set-piece expertise has been invaluable to Southampton in recent campaigns and the midfielder’s dead-ball ability once again helped the Saints to three points on Boxing Day.

Ward-Prowse scored Southampton’s second from the spot for his fourth league goal of the campaign and in doing so became just the fourth Premier League player to reach 10+ goals from both penalties and free-kicks.

Celebration of the Week

Christmas Day saw countless images plastered across social media of blokes pushed into wearing matching pyjamas in front of the tree. Davinson Sanchez’s joining in of Spurs’ celebrations against Palace this weekend certainly had a similar reluctant feel.

The Colombian’s face paints a perfect picture of a man who regrets his pre-match agreement to join his teammates antics in front of thousands watching on.

Donkey of the Week

Wilfried Zaha is far too experienced a footballer to receive a red card in the manner he did this weekend, the forward sent off after two bookable offences in quick succession against Spurs.

Zaha is often the victim of rough treatment and is no stranger to reacting to provocation, but his decision to launch Davinson Sanchez just minutes after picking up a first booking was utter stupidity.

Yes, Zaha’s first caution was harsh and yes, the Colombian more than made the most of the incident, but he gave Jonathan Moss little option but to brandish a red and leave Palace down to ten men – and without their biggest threat – inside the first half.

There’s plenty of things to like about a youthful Palace side that have shown encouraging signs under Patrick Vieira this season and Zaha, as a leader amongst an inexperienced core, should know better than to react to opposition challenges.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Boxing Day

Read Also – Five of the best: Premier League Boxing Day goals

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