It was a fantastic weekend of Premier League football, with no fewer than 29 goals being scored. Here were this week’s top performers.
Mathew Ryan (Brighton)
The Australian international goalie saved all six of Burnley’s shots on target, and got his, and Brighton’s sixth clean sheet of the season. However, no wins in seven now for the Seagulls, and find themselves just three points off the relegation zone. Glenn Murray missed a penalty, and it could be a costly miss come the end of the season. As for Burnley, they picked up their 4th clean sheet in row, and their 9th of the season, and find themselves just two points off the Champions League places.
Mathias Jorgensen (Huddersfield)
Jorgensen has his nickname ‘Zanka’ on the back of his jersey, which comes from the 1988 film ‘Cool Runnings’. He is hoping that his nickname can inspire Huddersfield to safety this season and defeat the odds just like the Jamaican bobsled team. If Huddersfield can put in performances like they did at the weekend each week then they won’t be too far away from staying up. The Dane was commanding in the air all afternoon and dealt with Watford’s pressure when they were on top in spells throughout the game. Only 19 more points for Huddersfield to reach to get to the magic 40-point mark to ‘guarantee’ safety.
James Collins (West Ham)
The veteran defender made 18 clearances in West Ham’s win at Stoke, twice as many than any as his team-mates, and might have gotten himself a regular starting place after this performance. Three clean sheets in a row now for the Hammers, who had an excellent week, picking up 7 points from Chelsea, Arsenal and Stoke. With Crystal Palace and West Ham looking like they have turned their season around, the likes of Stoke are in serious trouble, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tony Pulis come in to replace Mark Hughes on a six-month contract to steer them to safety.
James Tomkins (Crystal Palace)
The Crystal Palace defender made six clearances and four interceptions in his side’s 3-0 win at Leicester. Tomkins brings more composure at the heart of the Eagles defense than the likes of Sakho who can be erratic at times. This was a coupon buster of the weekend with Palace picking up their first away win of the season against an in form Leicester side. Palace now find themselves out of the relegation zone and will fancy picking up their second away win of the season against Swansea on Saturday.
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)
De Bruyne ran the Man City midfield and ran the game without David Silva by his side. He scored another stunning goal and won a penalty which Jesus missed. His goal came after a shocking tackle from Deli Alli which could have broken the Belgian’s leg, and you could tell that all the anger he had from that tackle went into his strike that flew passed Lloris in the Tottenham goal for Man City’s 2nd goal. No player ran more or had more touches than De Bruyne, another unbelievable performance. Kevin de Bruyne has been directly involved in 14 goals in his 15 Premier League appearances since the start of September (six goals, eight assists).
Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield)
Mooy scored twice at Watford, as well as having more touches than any other Huddersfield player. He is known more for his creativity but battled brilliantly in midfield and showed his defensive attributes. Before Saturday, Huddersfield had only picked up one point away from home since the opening day of the season, and hadn’t scored either away from home since that game too. A bad day at the office all round for Watford who need to be careful of not falling into the relegation battle with no wins in 5, and felt aggrieved with the first goal were Huddersfield seemed to be off side twice.
Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)
There was controversy over the way Lanzini earned West Ham their penalty for the opening goal, and has since got a 2-match ban for diving, which personally, I think is a bit harsh. The Argentinian was a constant threat in the free role that he had and assisted in each West Ham goal. There was talk about him replacing Coutinho at Liverpool if the Brazilian left for Barcelona, but Lanzini will need to be more consistent with these performances to earn a big move. A huge game for Stoke at home to West Brom on Saturday, a defeat may be the end of Mark Hughes’ reign at the Britannia.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Coutinho opened the scoring and assisted Roberto Firmino for the last of Liverpool’s four goals at Bournemouth. Philippe Coutinho has been directly involved in 15 goals in his past 10 away games for Liverpool (eight goals, seven assists). A lot of credit has to go to the Coutinho after not getting his dream move to Barcelona. He could have done a Payet and refused to play or sulk, but instead has been professional and playing better than ever. With the January transfer window on the horizon the rumour mill has started already, with Luis Suarez looking for a return to Liverpool in a swap deal with the Brazilian.
Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Since the start of last season, Wilfried Zaha has been directly involved in 20 Premier League goals, more than any other Crystal Palace player (11 goals, 9 assists). His love for the club has never been questioned and he has single handily turned Crystal Palaces season around. He is showing the form that got him a move to Man Utd a few years ago, and it is crucial for Palace to keep him till the end of the season. Zaha scored Crystal Palace’s second in a comfortable win for Crystal Palace that keeps them out of the relegation zone.
Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)
The Belgian finally broke his duck for the season with a well-taken header. Also provided the assist for Zaha’s goal and could have had more goals. The lads on the podcast described him as a ‘Streaky’ player, and he is the sort of player that can go on a goal scoring run. Unfortunately, he got booked on Saturday so it means that he is out of a crucial game against Swansea on Saturday. Fully expect Crystal Palace to bring in a striker or two in the January transfer window with Benteke being their only fit striker.
Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)
Got a lot of stick at the Britannia on Saturday afternoon from the home fans, which I thought was unfair, as it was the Stoke board who felt that 25m was too good of an offer to turn down, rather that Arnautovic forcing the move through. The Austrian could have had a hat-trick and missed a few chances, but got his goal and West Ham’s second with 15 mins to go. Arnautovic celebrated and saluted the fans by crossing his arms which symbolises the cross on the Hammer crest. David Moyes substituted him a minute later, but he looks a different player and a nightmare for defenders when he is on form with his strength and pace.