Welcome back to our weekly Premier League awards column, which will once again be coming to you every Monday until the end of the 2019/20 season.
There were no shortage of talking points from the first week of matches upon the top flight’s return, including a display of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the bizarre non-goal that goal line technology missed, Danny Ings the super Saint, and a golazo from a full-back.
Moment of the Week
In tribute to George Floyd, the black man whose killing by police in Minnesota sparked worldwide protests against racism, every Premier League team took a knee before kick-off, had their names replaced with ‘Black Livers Matter’ on the back of the jersey, and sported a BLM patch on their sleeve. They also wore an NHS patch in tribute to the healthcare workers who have been working on the frontline since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
English Premier League returned to complete its season after 100 day pause. In the seconds up to kick off, every player on both teams Took a Knee to commemorate the murder of George Floyd. A remarkable sight that underlines and amplifies the global resonance of #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/qLJ8RUq94p
— roger bennett (@rogbennett) June 17, 2020
Many players, including Allan Saint-Maximin and Olivier Giroud, also took a knee after scoring last week.
Player of the Week
In a continuance of his Renaissance campaign, Danny Ings was once again superb for Southampton, driving the Saints to a 3-0 victory over Norwich City. The striker opened the scoring with a terrific strike, before setting up James Ward-Prowse for the second.
The Englishman could have had more, with one of his four shots smacking off the crossbar, while he was also heavily involved on the creative side, making four attempted assists on the day.
Runner-up: Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City.
Goal of the Week
Ben Chilwell has been having a brilliant season at left-back for Leicester City, with several big clubs interested in his signature, and he’s surely only increased that interest with his stupendous strike against Watford at the weekend.
The Foxes thought they had the game sewn up with that late stunner, only for Craig Dawson of all people to equalise with a wicked scissor kick in injury-time.
Honourable Mentions: Neal Maupay, Brighton (vs Arsenal); Craig Dawson, Watford (vs Leicester); Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal (vs Brighton).
Pass of the Week
Everyone was waiting to see how Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba would work together in midfield, and we got a glimpse of what their partnership could be like against Tottenham Hotspur on Friday. But it was the Frenchman’s 50 yard pass on the half-volley that caught everyone’s eye. Just a shame Marcus Rashford couldn’t convert the subsequent chance.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 21, 2020
Miss of the Week
Joelinton eventually scored his second league goal of the season, but he missed a wonderful chance in the first-half to open the scoring against Sheffield United.
In a very fine move started by Allan Saint-Maximin, the Brazilian found himself one-on-one with Dean Henderson thanks to a incisive Miguel Almiron through ball, only to scuff it into the goalkeeper’s grateful arms.
The Newcastle United striker has been played out of position all season long – he’s a link-up forward who needs to play off someone, not a lone striker who can be a target man – but that is no excuse for fluffing his lines so spectacularly.
Save of the Week
Manchester United had the better chances against Spurs on Friday, but couldn’t convert enough of them to win the game, with Hugo Lloris making a couple of crucial saves to earn his team a point. His finest came from an Anthony Martial effort, which he tipped over the bar.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) June 20, 2020
Stat of the Week
We’ll get onto David Luiz a little bit more in a moment, but the Brazilian made a little bit of Premier League history on Wednesday by equalling the record for most penalties given away by a player in a single campaign, putting him there with footballing luminaries such as Ken Monkou and Claus Lundekvam.
David Luiz equals the Premier League record for most penalties conceded in a single season – 4
Gary Caldwell 2011-12
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) June 17, 2020
Quote of the Week
Brighton striker Neal Maupay apologised for his part in the injury suffered by Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, but the Frenchman made absolutely no apologies for putting the Gunners to the sword in injury time on Saturday.
Maupay had tussled with midfielder Matteo Guendouzi throughout the game, with his compatriot grabbing the Seagull’s game winner by the throat after the final whistle. Maupay subsequently stuck the boot in in his post-match comments:
“Arsenal players maybe need to learn humility sometimes. They were talking a lot. They got what they deserved.”
Harsh but true?
Howler of the Week
If Sheffield United miss out on European football next season by a small margin, they’ll know who to blame. Or, what in this case: the Goal Decision System.
Since being brought in several years ago, goal line technology has worked seamlessly, removing the doubt about whether the ball has gone over the line or not. Unfortunately for the Blades, they became the first side on the receiving end of a mistake from the system.
As seen below, the ball clearly crosses the line after Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland stumbles after catching an Ollie Norwood cross and carries it into his own net. Apparently the Hawk-Eye cameras were “significantly occluded” by the ‘keeper and surrounding defenders. I’m sure that’ll console Chris Wilder.
— Football Faithful (@FootyFaithful_) June 17, 2020
It only got worse for United this week, however, as they were thumped 3-0 by Newcastle at the weekend. The game was scoreless when John Egan pulled back Joelinton as he was bearing through on goal, receiving his second yellow card. The reason this deserves a Howler is, given the striker’s lack of proficiency in front of goal, as demonstrated earlier in the match, there was probably nothing to worry about.
SB on Joelinton:
"We're all delighted for him. He probably suffered more in the lockdown, he had no family over and he was stuck in an apartment somewhere. It's been difficult for him but I'm delighted for him because he's a really good pro and he can only get better." pic.twitter.com/cn7JkBzp2r
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) June 21, 2020
Instead, he got needlessly sent off and the team capitulated from therein, with international teammate Enda Stevens also dropping a bollock to allow Saint-Maximin score.
Dishonourable Mention: David De Gea and Harry Maguire for Spurs goal, Manchester United.
Donkey of the Week
Nothing brings football fans back to normality like a David Luiz masterclass. And by masterclass, we mean shitshow.
The Brazilian defender came on as a first-half substitute for the injured Pablo Mari, and in his short time on the pitch, he made an error leading directly to a goal, before giving away a penalty and getting himself sent off in the process.
David Luiz with a red card once every 160 PL games with Chelsea, once every 13 games with Arsenal. Gave a penalty away once every 53 games for Chelsea, once every 6.5 games for Arsenal.
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 17, 2020
Arsenal went on to lose 3-0, mirroring their last meeting with Manchester City.