Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the midweek fixtures.
Moment of the Week
It’s only taken 15 games, but Newcastle United finally have a win this season, and how the St James Park faithful were relieved.
There’s been so much excitement in the North East city since their Saudi Arabian-backed takeover was confirmed earlier this season, with expectations running wild about the long-term future of the club and their future signings given their status as the world’s richest club.
However, their short term situation is nothing short of precarious, with the club’s 14 game winless leaving them staring down the barrel of another Premier League relegation.
It has been well documented that no side has ever avoided the drop after failing to win their first 14 games, though Saturday’s 1-0 win – which was also their first league clean sheet of the season – only leaves them three points behind Watford and potential safety.
Callum Wilson’s second-half strike secured the three points, with the full-time whistle sparking scenes of relief and hope among the Toon army.
Thank you for your incredible support this afternoon and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) December 4, 2021
Honourable mentions go to Divock Origi’s latest 94th minute winner for Liverpool against Wolves, as well as Arthur Masuaku’s late winner against Chelsea, his wayward cross catching Eduoard Mendy off guard and flying in at the near post to send the London Stadium wild.
Player of the Week
Manchester City produced a thoroughly dominant performance to move back to the top of the Premier League table on Saturday evening with a 3-1 win against Watford.
Central to their best moments was once again Bernardo Silva, the Portuguese constantly finding pockets of space and asking for the ball, while adding two more goals to his recent tally.
Silva exchanged passes with Ilkay Gundogan for City’s second of the game, and while the German’s effort was saved, the ball dropped back to Silva inside the box. The playmaker, surrounded by three Watford defenders, still had plenty to do, though evaded their marking before firing past Daniel Bachmann from a narrow-angle.
His second saw him fire a wonderful curling effort from the right, taking advantage of the time and space afforded to him by Danny Rose who allowed him to cut onto his wand of a left foot.
🗣 "He danced inside and curled it deliciously into the top corner!"
Two for Bernardo Silva 🔥
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 4, 2021
Goal of the Week
A couple of superb candidates for Goal of the Week this week, with Bernardo Silva scoring yet another superb strike as City moved to the top of the pile following their 3-1 win over Watford.
However, this weeks accolade goes to Tottenham‘s Lucas Moura, the Brazilian exchanging passes with Heung Min Son, escaping the attentions of his marker, before unleashing a cannon of a strike from all of 25 yards.
Simply breathtaking, Lucas Moura. 👏 pic.twitter.com/JsYOi2t9ui
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 5, 2021
Miss of the Week
There have been plenty of plaudits for Manchester United’s energetic display as they earned themselves all three points against Crystal Palace.
However, it could have been a different story if Jordan Ayew had slotted home a guilt-edged chance from close range with the scores still at 0-0.
James Tomkins connected with the initial corner to send the ball back across the box, dropping to an unmarked Ayew at the back post, though he failed to get his effort on target – albeit from a narrow-angle – as a rare chance went begging for Patrick Vieira’s side before Fred went on to score a winner.
Quote of the Week
Manchester United midfielder Fred put in a matchwinning performance as the Ralf Rangnick era got underway with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
The Brazilian was involved in all areas of the pitch, ranking first for both tackles (7) and passes (72) against Crystal Palace, and ranked second for passes in the opposition half (45), while he also won nine of his 15 duels and made two clearances.
Having registered an assist against Arsenal in midweek, he followed it up with the only goal of the game to see off Palace, his right-footed effort from the edge of the box curling beyond the reach of Vicente Guaita in the Eagles goal.
His strike with his weaker foot left Ralf Rangnick surprised:
“I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred’s right foot.
“I thought he could only shoot with his left. I’m happy for him.”
We are sure that Rangnick wasn’t the only one surprised to see the ball nestle into the back of the net.
Stat of the Week
Chelsea’s defeat to West Ham cost them their position at the top of the Premier League table with Thomas Tuchel’s side not looking at their usual impenetrable best.
The Blues title charge has been hampered by a number of injuries to key players of late, though the perhaps none more so than the absence of midfield dynamo, N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea have conceded more than once in a game just THREE times under Thomas Tuchel, in 53 games.
N’Golo Kanté missed all three of these games. pic.twitter.com/Gg2wvrzbQM
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) December 4, 2021
In the 53 games since Tuchel took over, Chelsea have only conceded three times in a game on three occasions, and perhaps somewhat tellingly, the World Cup winner was absent for all three, his tireless workrate and energy in the middle of the park seemingly vital to his side’s defensive solidity.
Donkey of the Week
While our midweek awards were littered with contenders for this unwanted award, the weekend’s action had far less obvious contenders to choose from.
However, we’ve plumped for Eduoard Mendy following his involvement in West Ham’s first equaliser. Chelsea midfielder Jorginho produced his latest costly mistake with a backpass towards the Senegalese ‘keeper that left Jarrod Bowen with something to chase.
The ball would make it back to the ‘keeper, but, under the pressure of the former Hull City forward, the 29-year-old opted to take a touch rather than getting rid of the ball.
Bowen would nip in to take charge of the situation, with Mendy clumsily bringing the West Ham man down to hand Manuel Lanzini the chance to equalise from the spot, an opportunity he seized with both hands as he send the ‘keeper the wrong way.
Mendy would also be caught out by Masuaku’s late wayward cross that would beat him at his near post as the Blues slipped from first to third in the Premier League.