Another weekend of Premier League action brought stunning strikes, thrilling comebacks and the now customary VAR-related drama, the latest round of fixtures continuing the most remarkable start to a campaign in recent memory.
The shares were spoiled in an entertaining Merseyside derby clash between league leaders Everton and champions Liverpool at Goodison Park, whilst Manchester City edged out Arsenal to seal three points at the Etihad.
Elsewhere there were thrilling draws at Stamford Bridge and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and Aston Villa maintained their 100% start to the season with a late, late win at Leicester.
Following the weekend’s action we’ve decided to look at some of the weekend’s best performances, here are seven Premier League players who shone bright in gameweek 5:
Manchester United headed to Newcastle this weekend seeking to bounce back from a nightmare spell before the international break, memories of their home humbling by Tottenham still vivid ahead of the trip to St James’ Park.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were hindered further by the absences of the suspended Anthony Martial and the injured Mason Greenwood, placing an increased onus on Marcus Rashford who was restored to a central attacking role.
Rashford led the line superbly as the Red Devils left it late to seal all three points in the North East, playing a crucial role as United scored three late goals to secure a 4-1 victory.
The England international linked the play in fine style and won a penalty before providing assists for Bruno Fernandes and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, later racing clear in stoppage-time to put the gloss on the result and score his second league goal of the campaign.
Shooting boots ✔️ pic.twitter.com/u2IyNsNyk2
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 18, 2020
United will need more performances of this ilk as they bid to bounce back from an indifferent start to the season, starting with a difficult trip to face last season’s runners-up Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League group stage opener tomorrow evening.
The critics were beginning to increase following Timo Werner’s uninspiring start to life at Chelsea, failing to open his Premier League account for the club despite producing performances of typical industry and effervescence.
This weekend saw Werner returned to a central striking role after being deployed on the left-hand side by Frank Lampard in recent fixtures and it proved an inspired move, the Germany international enjoying a fine individual performance in the 3-3 draw with Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
Werner terrorised the Saints’ backline with his direct running and insatiable work-rate, scoring twice with two excellently taken goals to get himself up and running in the Premier League this season.
His first came after a sharp turn and dummy saw him race towards the Southampton box, jinking past a succession of challenges before firing home to open the scoring.
The speed of the German was once again evident as he got in behind the visitor’s defence to double Chelsea’s lead, Jorginho’s superb pass putting the forward through before he confidently did the rest, lifting the ball over the goalkeeper before heading in his second of the game.
Werner then provided the assist for Kai Havertz’s first Premier League goal after rolling the ball into the path of his compatriot, the performances of the exciting summer signings encouraging despite familiar defensive flaws in Lampard’s side.
Everton’s star turn is becoming a regular in this feature and was once again at the heart of the club’s best moves during their Merseyside derby draw with Liverpool, oozing effortless class on the right-hand side of Carlo Ancelotti’s attack.
Effortless may just be the right description of the Colombian international who has taken to the league impressively despite his remarkable sprint statistics, incredibly producing a Man of the Match performance against West Bromwich Albion last month despite failing to register a single sprint throughout.
Against Liverpool it was much of the same as the 29-year-old floated around the pitch, playing the game at his own pace despite the intensity of a local derby and picking up clever pockets of space, his switch of play to the onrushing Lucas Digne amongst the trademarks of Everton’s season to date.
James Rodriguez has been directly involved in six goals in the Premier League for Everton this season:
◉ 5 games
◉ 3 goals
◉ 3 assists
Loving life in Merseyside. pic.twitter.com/l4ssAdzquS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 17, 2020
A player previously deemed as ‘lazy’ by former managers has quickly shown his ability to star once placed in a team where he very much feels the love, his creative class shining through and trumping all in a league famed for its pace and physicality.
Arguably the star of the Premier League season to date, Harry Kane is currently enjoying a rich vein of form in a free-scoring Tottenham attack.
No player has ever been directly involved in more goals over the first five matches of a Premier League season, Kane having scored five times in addition to providing a league-leading seven assists, his tally increased with another fine performance in Spurs’ 3-3 draw with West Ham.
Harry Kane has been directly involved in the most goals ever by a player in their opening five matches of a Premier League campaign 😳 pic.twitter.com/2rWeysVnYn
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 18, 2020
Kane has long been an elite goalscorer and will have his sights set firmly on winning a third Golden Boot this season, but it is his creative qualities that have shone through during the opening weeks of the season for Jose Mourinho’s side.
The England captain has dropped deeper to link the play and has sprayed the ball with the quality of the game’s very best playmakers, his superb assist for Son Heung-Min – remarkably his sixth directly to the South Korean already this season – the latest example of his vision and passing range.
Jamie Carragher hailed the 27-year-old as ‘one of the best passers in world football’ following his latest showing and it appears Kane has taken his game to even greater heights, keeping the forward fully fit crucial to Spurs’ hopes of a successful season.
Bernardo Silva was one of the Premier League’s premier performers just two seasons ago after helping Manchester City to an unprecedented domestic treble, his performances seeing the Portugal international nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award and finish ninth in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
After appearing to edge closer to world-class status the playmaker – like many of his City teammates – endured a drop off in performances last time around, but looked back to his best during the club’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal this weekend.
In the absence of the departed David Silva and injured Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo assumed the mantle as City’s chief creator and linked the play, proving a bright spark throughout during an important victory for Pep Guardiola’s side following two games without a win.
City will hope this is the start of Bernardo getting back to his brilliant best, especially with no confirmation on when De Bruyne – injured on international duty last week – is set to return.
Aston Villa’s perfect start to the season continued with a late victory against Leicester this weekend, Dean Smith’s side having now won each of their four fixtures to sit second in the division, with a game in hand on league leaders Everton.
The club’s smart recruitment has been a key factor behind their rise and arguably the most shrewd acquisition looks to be the signing of Ross Barkley, the on-loan midfielder having scored for the second successive game since arriving from Chelsea.
Barkley failed to truly make an impact at Stamford Bridge, but he seems to be enjoying his football once more with a feel-good factor surrounding Aston Villa at present.
The England international grew into the contest at the King Power Stadium as Villa’s most advanced midfielder, picking up the ball in clever positions and driving forward in trademark fashion, his performance capped with a sweetly struck stoppage-time goal to seal victory.
💎 @RBarkley8 💎
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) October 19, 2020
Barkley’s arrival has helped relieve some of the creative pressure on Jack Grealish and the two seem to have formed a blossoming relationship, the former hoping his regular opportunities and resurgence can lead to an England recall ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
Now we’re not ones to includes players in this feature based on just one moment, with overall performance key, but there is no disputing Manuel Lanzini’s sensational strike at Tottenham is a deserving exception to that rule.
Spurs seemed to be cruising to a London derby victory following an exhilarating first-half attacking performance, only for West Ham to fight back in a dramatic conclusion to a thrilling contest.
🚀 Manuel Lanzini.
That’s outrageous. We love football.pic.twitter.com/BWKisgaMjj
— thesportsman (@TheSportsman) October 18, 2020
Fabian Balbuena’s header and a Davinson Sanchez own goal set the scene for substitute Lanzini to make his mark, hitting a sublime equaliser from distance with the last kick of the game, in what was one of the greatest comeback goals in the division’s history.
It’s just a shame that Lanzini’s moment of magic occurred in the continued absence of supporters, an effort worthy of the euphoric eruption it would have undoubtedly caused in the away end.
Read Also – Premier League Team of the Week for Gameweek 5