Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the weekend.
Moment of the Week
Regular readers of our features will know we’re big fans of Allan Saint-Maximin, the bright light in a Newcastle side that often lacks any form of imagination or excitement in his absence.
Saint-Maximin brings box-office brilliance, and produced a performance to secure his side a point against Leeds on Friday evening, scoring the equaliser with a superb solo goal before celebrating with the supporters.
Sometimes people forget why they started to love football, I never will, thank you for the love lads ❤️ pic.twitter.com/p0BPTlbSOk
— Allan Saint-Maximin (@asaintmaximin) September 18, 2021
The 24-year-old’s extroverted persona and wing wizardry has made him a huge fans’ favourite in the north east, and his goal was a moment that symbolised just what he brings to the Magpies, dancing and weaving beyond a succession of challenges before firing home.
Truth be told, his talents are worthy of a more grand stage than the one currently provided at St James’ Park.
Player of the Week
No shortage of contenders for this week’s award, but we’ve chosen Ivan Toney as our Player of the Week after the Brentford striker produced a centre-forward masterclass in the win at Wolves.
Brentford have now taken eight points from their opening five fixtures in a brilliant start to their first-ever Premier League campaign, with Toney having handled the step up a division in fine style.
Toney scored a record-breaking 31 goals in the Championship last season and has been billed as Brentford’s big hope for survival, his performance against Wolves proving – after a long road – that he belongs at the highest level.
Ivan Toney has now been directly involved in 46 goals in 53 games (including play-offs) since the start of last season:
◉ 35 goals
◉ 11 assists
Scoring and assisting in a Premier League game for the very first time today. ⚽️🅰️ pic.twitter.com/ZxibPzxiXe
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 18, 2021
The 25-year-old caused problems for Conor Coady and the Wolves backline throughout, winning his aerial duels and leading the line in tireless fashion.
He got his reward with a cooly converted penalty after being hauled down in the box by Marcal, before a powerful run led to an assist for Bryan Mbeumo.
Goal of the Week
Naby Keita’s career with Liverpool has been one of false dawns and frustrations for the most part, but the Guinea midfielder can provide flashes of the undeniable talent he possesses.
Keita’s goal against Crystal Palace this weekend was one such moment, a wonderful volley from outside the box that flew beyond Vicente Guaita.
Guiata must have thought he’d cleared the danger after punching Mohamed Salah’s in-swinging corner, only for Keita to lash home a first-time volley – on his weaker side – to score the goal of the weekend, before his nonchalant Eric Cantona-esque celebration.
Beautiful goals deserve beautiful angles 😍
Take a bow, Naby Keita 💥 pic.twitter.com/iQki2WXMb6
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 18, 2021
Miss of the Week
Back to Anfield and Liverpool against Crystal Palace for our Miss of the Week, with one that Diogo Jota will not want to see again.
Jota has been largely clinical since making the move to Merseyside last summer, but it will be difficult to find a simpler chance spurned anywhere in the Premier League this season.
Diogo Jota has been watching Werner comps
— Alexei (@MUFC_redarmy99) September 18, 2021
A real head in hands moment for the Portuguese poacher.
Save of the Week
David de Gea had not saved a Premier League penalty since October 2014 before this weekend, with the Spaniard having conceded each of the previous 21 efforts he had faced from the spot.
De Gea found the perfect time to improve that disappointing record this weekend, coming up clutch for Manchester United to save from Mark Noble in stoppage time against West Ham.
Questions must be asked about David Moyes’ decision to bring on Noble for the sole purpose of taking the kick, even given the midfielder’s exemplary record from the spot.
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) September 19, 2021
It had been almost five years since Noble last missed from 12 yards, but De Gea’s dive to his left ended that sequence and secured his side an invaluable three points at the London Stadium.
Stat of the Week
Thomas Tuchel’s transformation of Chelsea has seen the west Londoners emerge as title contenders, their early form only adding to their tag as potential champions this season.
Chelsea’s progress has been built on defensive solidity, including registering yet another clean sheet to secure an impressive 3-0 win at Tottenham on Sunday.
The Blues have kept 15 clean sheets in the Premier League since Tuchel’s appointment as head coach in January, incredibly a figure greater than the number of goals they have conceded in that time.
Chelsea have now kept more clean sheets (15) than they have conceded goals (14) in the Premier League under Thomas Tuchel. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/KeaDNUKdDY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 19, 2021
Donkey of the Week
Does substituting players on late in the game, with the sole purpose of taking a penalty, ever work?
Gareth Southgate saw both Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford miss during the Euro 2020 final after late introductions, with David Moyes following a similar path this weekend with the decision to send on Mark Noble in stoppage time.
Noble is the club’s most experienced player and a fine penalty taker, but his introduction as a substitute only increases the pressure on an already crucial moment.
The 34-year-old – with no chance to get into the game – duly missed as West Ham crashed to defeat, with Moyes decision proving costly as Manchester United escaped the London Stadium with all three points.