Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the weekend.
Moment of the Week
Yoane Wissa’s late equaliser for Brentford against Liverpool was arguably the standout moment of the weekend, yet we’ve opted for an even more romantic pick in the form of Raul Jimenez, following his return to the goals in the win over Southampton on Sunday.
It’s been a long, hard road for the Mexican having seen his season abruptly curtailed last year following a horrific collision with Arsenal’s David Luiz in late November, with the resulting fractured skull seeing him kept out for the remainder of the campaign.
Having been the club’s talisman ever since joining from Benfica, initially on-loan, in 2018, Wolves were unsurprisingly a lesser side without their striker in his absence, as the Nuno Espirito Santo era came to an end with a tame climax to last season.
Under new boss Bruno Lage the club have endured a mixed opening to the campaign, yet having their main man back among the goals is a real boost, the 30-year-old storming his way through the Saints’ defence and cooly firing past Alex McCarthy in the manner of a man who looks hungry to make up for lost time.
Raul Jimenez described the emotion of scoring his first Premier League goal in nine months after his career-threatening injury ❤
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) September 26, 2021
Player of the Week
A plethora of top performances to choose from this weekend, yet the award for the best display of the weekend goes to Bernardo Silva, the Manchester City midfielder pulling the strings for his side as they exacted Champions League final revenge by beating title rivals Chelsea on Saturday.
The Portugal international had agitated for a move over the summer, yet he has seemingly not been affected by the inability to secure a transfer, with his early season showings illustrating just how vital the hard-working playmaker is to Pep Guardiola’s side.
In truth, the highly anticipated clash failed to live up to the hype in the opening 45 minutes, although that was largely due to the dominance of the visitors, who simply penned their opponents in their own half with total control of possession.
It appeared as if the usually unflustered Blues backline couldn’t cope with the fluid nature of the City attack, the likes of Silva, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish all finding pockets of space to hurt the hosts.
Bernardo's performance vs Chelsea was another example of why he is so important. He is the definition of a 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗣𝗟𝗘𝗧𝗘 Midfielder. There is nothing that he can't do 💙 pic.twitter.com/pTorITYLNI
— City Chief (@City_Chief) September 26, 2021
Quite how anyone can contain such a forward line remains to be seen, with it nearing on an impossible task to stamp out the influence of all the champions’ attacking stars.
Goal of the Week
Jimenez’s solo strike was a strong contender, as too was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s breathtaking counter-attacking goal, although arguably the sweetest strike of the week came from Burnley’s record signing Maxwel Cornet.
The decision to make the switch Lyon for Lancashire had looked an odd move for some, although the early indication is that the versatile 25-year-old will be right at home in English football, having caught the eye in recent games.
The Ivorian had come close to netting against Arsenal last weekend, yet went one better on Saturday with an excellent volleyed effort against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, lashing the ball past Kasper Schmeichel following a delightful dinked cross from Matej Vydra.
📺 Highlights from a thrilling afternoon at the King Power Stadium.
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) September 25, 2021
The only disappointment for Sean Dyche’s men is that that strike didn’t prove to be the winner, as the Foxes hit back five minutes from time to snatch a point through Jamie Vardy, with the visitors denied a 94th minute winner by VAR.
Miss of the Week
Bruno Fernandes has rarely failed to deliver for Manchester United since his arrival from Sporting CP in January 2020, yet he endured a moment to forget against Aston Villa on Saturday after spurning a glorious chance to snatch a point for his side.
The Red Devils had looked distinctly off the pace at Old Trafford with Dean Smith’s unfortunate not to be ahead in the first half, with Matt Targett blazing over from close range, before the visitors eventually grabbed a deserved lead in the 88th minute through Kourtney Hause.
Facing a second successive home defeat in just a matter of days, United then had a glorious chance to pull level in stoppage time after goalscorer Hause was penalised for handball, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pre-match penalty plea seemingly having paid off.
Unfortunately for Solskjaer, and for Fernandes, the Portugal international uncharacteristically skied his effort over the crossbar to all-but confirm a third defeat in four games in all competitions, just a week on from David De Gea’s last-minute penalty save against West Ham United.
Emi Martinez’s reaction to Bruno’s penalty 😂
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 25, 2021
Whether it was the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo lurking in the background, or the delay tactics of Emi Martinez and his Villa teammates in the build-up to the spot-kick, Fernandes looked unusually ruffled from 12 yards.
Save of the Week
David Raya’s point-blank save from Diogo Jota deserves a mention in Brentford’s draw with Liverpool, yet our pick this week is Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, the summer signing denying Spurs – and the neutrals – a grandstand finish with a pivotal save in the closing stages of Sunday’s victory.
After racing into a deserved first-half, three-goal advantage, Heung-min Son then set nerves jangling by pulling a goal back with just over ten minutes to play, leaving more than enough time for the visitors to potentially produce a stirring comeback.
With the game into stoppage time, Ramsdale all-but ended that hope after superbly denying Lucas Moura, the Englishman producing a stunning fingertip save to edge the looping effort onto the crossbar.
He may not have initially been a hugely popular arrival in the summer, yet the former Sheffield United man is quickly endearing himself to supporters, not least for his visibly passionate outbursts on the pitch.
WHAT. A. SAVE! 🧤 @AaronRamsdale98 tips Lucas Moura's deflected effort onto the bar and it's cleared away.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 26, 2021
Quote of the Week
A teenage sensation in his early playing career, former Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen has continually served to overshadow those achievements with what can only be described as a frankly woeful media career, in which he has repeatedly put himself in the limelight. And not in a good way.
Having first irked the nation with his dulcet tones as a co-commentator, the former England international has since continued to be at the centre of mockery for his uncanny knack of stating the obvious and his penchant for simply making a fool of himself.
The man who once said “whichever team scores more goals usually wins” has outdone himself this time with his latest faux-pas, the 41-year-old caught out after insisting that he’d long been an admirer of Leeds’ keeper Ilian Meslier.
“I remember watching him in the Leeds academy when he was 16,” Owen said.
Meslier must have made quite the impression on the former forward, particularly given the fact that the stopper didn’t actually sign for Leeds until he was 19, on loan from Lorient.
Hopefully he never gets a job as a scout…
See also – Michael Owen – 10 most stupid quotes
Stat of the Week
While Manchester City had dominated the division in recent years prior to the arrival of Ruben Dias last summer, the Portugal international has since added a new facet to their game, with Pep Guardiola’s now arguably the strongest side defensively in the top-flight, alongside rivals Chelsea.
After the often erratic days involving Nicolas Otamendi and the like, the introduction of Dias over the last 12 months has smoothed over the defensive cracks and was the major driving force behind the club’s surge to the title last season when the frontline weren’t quite firing on all cylinders.
Such has been his impact, City have conceded just 22 goals in the 38 Premier League games he has played in following the win at Stamford Bridge, with City having let in 39 goals in their 38 matches prior to his debut last season.
22 – Manchester City have conceded 22 goals in the 38 Premier League games Rúben Dias has played in for them, after conceding 39 goals in their 38 matches prior to his debut. Colossus. pic.twitter.com/QWIUFwYpWa
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 25, 2021
Donkey of the Week
Bruno Fernandes has perhaps got off lightly here – although he did create an impressive tally of ten chances on Saturday – with our nod for Donkey of the Week going to Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane.
Without a goal in the league this season leading up to the game, many felt that the north London derby would be where the England skipper would kickstart his season owing to his stellar record against the Gunners, which sees him lead the way as the top scorer in the fixture in the Premier League era.
As it was, however, the 28-year-old was once again anonymous as the home side ran riot at the Emirates, with Kane’s most notable contribution seeing him squander possession in the build-up to Bukayo Saka’s goal and then failing with his sliding attempt to recover the ball from his international colleague.
You’ve got to credit Harry Kane here, he starts the move at one end before racing up the pitch & assisting Bukayo Saka to add Arsenal’s third 👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/F5fA85BqE6
— Harry Symeou (@HarrySymeou) September 26, 2021
He would go on to miss a guilt-edged chance with a free header and dink an effort wide after a presentable opportunity early in the second-half, with both missed chances seemingly the marker of a man who simply doesn’t look quite right after his high profile failure to secure a move to Manchester City over the summer.