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Premier League Weekly Awards: Pepe’s awakening, Liverpool’s relentlessness, Man City’s snarkiness

It’s time for the Premier League Weekly Awards, where The Football Faithful rewards the very best – and worst – of England’s top-flight from the week gone by.

Moment of the Week

Matej Vydra has really struggled over the past two seasons, getting just three starts in that time and wasting away on the bench for Burnley, but the Czech international utilised his time on the pitch to good effect on Saturday. The striker showed he is still sharp as a tack when he sent a superb strike flying past Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy after swivelling swiftly to deceive his marker.

The relief on Vydra’s face after scoring the matchwinner was clear, as the forward has been desperate to move away so he can end his north west torment. He could very well be transferred to the Russian Premier League this week, although that will depend on the fitness of Ashley Barnes.

Player of the Week

Arsenal had a very indifferent first-half against Newcastle United in which they failed to create much of consequence, but they put the Magpies to the sword in the second-half. Nicolas Pepe, their club record £72 million signing last summer, came alive after the interval, playing a key role in the Gunners’ 4-0 win and showing some promise of justifying his transfer fee.

The French wide forward, whose performance warranted a perfect ten from WhoScored, was involved in three of the North London outfit’s goals, providing two assists and a goal on Sunday. His goal was also notable for Bukayo Saka’s cheeky nutmeg in the buildup.

Pepe put in a true all-round performance, making ten ball recoveries, two tackles and two take-ons as well as creating four chances.

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Goal of the Week

Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa started in the worst possible manner for Toby Alderweireld when he scored a calamitous own goal, but he quickly made up for it by scoring the equaliser. The Belgian’s turn and strike was exceptional, to the point where you wouldn’t have blinked an eye if Sergio Aguero had scored it.

Runners-up: Abdoulaye Doucoure, Watford (vs Brighton); Bernard, Everton (vs Crystal Palace); Matej Vydra, Burnley (vs Southampton); Danny Ings, Southampton (vs Burnley).

Pass of the Week

Look at the arm on Alisson Becker when he throws this brilliant ball to Roberto Firmino. Who says a good pass can only come from your feet?

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Save of the Week

Norwich City did tremendously well to keep themselves in the game against Liverpool at the weekend, keeping out the league leaders until late on when Sadio Mane scored the winner. Tim Krul once again was one of the best players on the pitch, saving five shots on the day.

The Dutchman’s finest moment of the match came when he palmed away a Mo Salah strike from around 12 yards out, before making a rapid double save by stopping Naby Keita at close range.

Runner-up: Pepe Reina’s (Aston Villa) penalty save vs Spurs.

Miss of the Week

It’s pretty easy to score on this Liverpool team when you have Trent Alexander-Arnold swinging in crosses from the right-hand side every game, but Roberto Firmino made a right hash of an inch-perfect attempted assist by the full-back, ballooning the ball over the bar from five yards out when the goal was wide open. Oh, Bobby.

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Stat of the Week

Liverpool have no chill.

Howler of the Week

Despite scoring Aston Villa‘s second goal of the game, Bjorn Engels had a shocker of a day against Spurs. The Belgian defender gave away the penalty that eventually led to Heung-min Son’s opening goal in the first-half, before allowing the Korean run in behind for a late winner after failing to control the ball. The worst possible player to suffer that kind of mistake to is Mo Salah, but a close second would be Son, who punished the Villains accordingly.

Runners-up: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United) spilling Mesut Özil’s shot for Arsenal’s third goal; Danny Ings (Southampton) inexplicably moving out of the way of the ball to allow Ashley Westwood’s corner go into the goal for Burnley’s opener; Jordan Pickford (Everton) letting Christian Benteke’s shot slip underneath his body vs Crystal Palace; Adrian Mariappa (Watford) scoring an own goal against Brighton; Toby Alderweireld’s (Spurs) awkward own goal against Aston Villa.

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Donkey of the Week

There was no love-in between Manchester City and Uefa on Valentine’s Day after the governing body handed down a stinging two-year banishment from the Champions League and €30m fine after the Premier League club were found to have been highly deceptive in their financial submissions.

The club, unsurprisingly, reacted angrily. “Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber,” a statement on the club website reads.

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The statement went on to claim that the Uefa Chief Investigator, Yves Leterme, had predetermined the outcome long before the investigation had even gotten underway, suggesting that they had it in for City all along.

“Simply put, this is a case initiated by Uefa, prosecuted by Uefa and judged by Uefa. With this prejudicial process now over, the Club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible,” the statement concluded.

No one expected City to roll over and accept such a harsh punishment, but it is nonetheless quite fanciful and ridiculous for them to suggest that they are the subject of some grand biased conspiracy theory. It’s an obvious attempt at steering the narrative before they present their appear to CAS, but it will also serve to mobilise their fanbase into a raging anti-Uefa frenzy over the coming weeks and months, especially as the Champions League knockout stages play out.

That’s why Man City are this week’s Donkey.

Read: Man United’s secret Soviet weapon in the nineties

See Also: The Everton cult hero who subbed himself on in an FA Cup semi-final