The latest round of Premier League action saw Jose Mourinho get the better of old adversary Pep Guardiola once more, Tottenham’s win over Manchester City lifting the north London side to the top of the Premier League.
Frank Lampard’s expensively assembled Chelsea side continue to gather momentum and won at Newcastle, whilst Liverpool set a new club record by extending their unbeaten run at home to a staggering 64 league games.
Elsewhere Brighton pulled clear of the bottom three with a win at Aston Villa, whilst Everton returned to winning ways at Fulham and both West Ham and Manchester United secured narrow victories.
Following the action we’ve picked out some of the Premier League‘s finer performers, here are eight players who shone brightly in gameweek nine:
David Moyes is quietly doing a solid job at West Ham with the club having made a bright start to the season despite having already played four of last season’s top six, victory at Sheffield United making it back-to-back wins and lifting the Hammers to eighth after nine fixtures.
Several players have enjoyed a renaissance under Moyes at the London Stadium including the likes of Aaron Cresswell and Pablo Fornals, but could club-record signing Haller be the next player to revive his career with the club?
The forward has largely flattered to deceive since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt last summer and has come under fierce criticism from his own supporters for his lack of work rate, his languid style in stark comparison to the all-action performances of Michail Antonio.
Antonio’s absence through injury has handed Haller his chance in recent weeks and he produced a much-improved performance at Bramall Lane this weekend, winning more duels than any other player on the pitch and having more touches than in any other Premier League fixture so far this season.
⚽️ Sebastien Haller’s contribution for @WestHam today
54 touches – 8 in opposition box, his most in PL this season
24 duels – won 12/17 aerials, more than any player
3 chances created
4 shots, 2 on target
2nd PL goal this season pic.twitter.com/YEKXQC3bGL
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 22, 2020
The 26-year-old – who scored on his international debut for the Ivory Coast during the international break after changing his allegiance from France – proved to be West Ham’s match-winner in a hard-fought clash against the struggling Blades, firing home a fierce effort from outside the area for his second league goal of the campaign.
Moyes and Declan Rice both commented in the aftermath of this weekend’s clash that Haller had returned from international duty with a new-found confidence, and those in West Ham circles will be hoping it is just the start for the forward as he bids to deliver on a consistent basis.
It wasn’t so long ago that Liverpool supporters would have dreaded the prospect of a team sheet without the name of Mohamed Salah upon it, but the Egyptian’s absence was barely felt as the champions breezed past Leicester this weekend.
Amongst the key factors in an impressive performance was another superb showing from Diogo Jota, a player already emerging as one of the shrewdest signings of the Premier League season.
Jota started on the right-hand side of the Liverpool attack and produced another lively performance full of attacking intent, the Portugal international having slotted seamlessly into the champion’s side since signing from Wolves.
There were many who felt that Wolves had got the better end of the £40m deal for Jota during the summer, though there a few questioning the business now following his sensational start at Anfield.
4 – Diogo Jota is the first player in Liverpool's history to score in each of his first four home top-flight league appearances for the club. Fantastic. pic.twitter.com/AcQ1za4mYE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 22, 2020
It’s now eight goals in just 12 appearances in all competitions for the 23-year-old following his glancing header against Leicester this weekend, a remarkable return for a player who has crucially demonstrated his ability to thrive in each of the forward three positions.
Liverpool have rarely faltered when it comes to their recruitment in recent years and Jota is looking more and more like another fantastic addition, a player who combines the perfect mix of ability and application to flourish amongst Klopp’s attacking options.
Tottenham‘s 2-0 victory against Manchester City moved the north London side to the top of the Premier League and provided a perfect example of a Jose Mourinho masterclass, a performance of dogged determination frustrating long-term rival Pep Guardiola.
Key to a resilient defensive showing for Spurs was Eric Dier, who – despite the mass of criticism he is often subjected to – is beginning to become a key figure in Mourinho’s new-look Tottenham team.
Dier produced his best performance for Spurs at centre-back to repel the dominant visitors, who boasted 66% of the possession and managed 22 efforts on goal, only to be denied time and time again.
The England international made a series of vital blocks and interceptions, putting his body on the line for the cause and excelling in partnership with Toby Alderweireld.
No player in the Premier League has made more headed clearances this season than Dier, a player whose commitment cannot be questioned and the sort of character Mourinho is likely to appreciate as he bids to build a winning culture in north London.
Manchester United made it back-to-back league wins this weekend but there will be few queuing up to praise the Red Devils, who laboured past winless West Brom with a twice-taken penalty securing a narrow 1-0 win.
Fernandes endured a frustrating evening and was fortunate to escape conceding a penalty for a trip on Conor Gallagher, though he was again comfortably his side’s best player and the one name who looked capable of providing inspiration.
The Portugal international provided Anthony Martial with a guilt-edged chance that the forward spurned on his return from suspension, before keeping his cool to score a penalty at the second attempt, after West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone had jumped off his line to deny the first effort.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 21, 2020
So often the midfielder can look as if he’s trying to make things happen by himself and his occasional carelessness in possession can frustrate, but his continued rescue missions beg the question just where would both United and Solskjaer would be without his contributions.
Further down the table and perhaps out of work, if we’re being brutally honest.
Carlo Ancelotti sprang a surprise during Everton‘s 3-2 win at Fulham, opting for a back three system with wing-backs for the victory at Craven Cottage.
Perhaps not a great surprise given the popularity of the system in the Premier League at present, but the deployment of Alex Iwobi at right wing-back certainly raised a few eyebrows.
Iwobi has largely struggled to perform on a consistent basis since moving to Everton from Arsenal with the winger’s lack of attacking contributions a major concern, the Nigerian international having scored just once in 33 league appearances since moving to Merseyside.
Ancelotti opted to utilise the 24-year-old in an unfamiliar defensive role at Fulham and the early signs were encouraging, Iwobi’s attributes seemingly tailor-made for the position as he thrived rampaging from deep.
+3 We Mooove pic.twitter.com/V37jHhYmZi
— Alexander Iwobi (@alexiwobi) November 22, 2020
Iwobi made two tackles, two interceptions and two clearances, whilst his energy and dribbling ability saw the Nigerian complete five of his six attempted take-ons, including a superb surging run past three Fulham defenders in the build-up to Everton’s second goal.
Ancelotti will have been pleased with the experiment as Iwobi offered his manager food for thought with a hugely promising performance.
Solly March marked his return from injury with a famous winner as Brighton won at Aston Villa for the first time in their history, edging away from the Premier League’s bottom three with a valuable victory on the road.
March has largely featured in a wing-back role since the arrival of Graham Potter but demonstrated the threat he poses in attacking areas this weekend, his winning goal a superb finish on his weaker foot that left Emiliano Martinez helpless.
The versatile 26-year-old has now provided three goal involvements in just eight league appearances, already half of the tally he managed last season with March having been a bright spark in the early weeks of the Seagulls’ season.
Pick that one out! 👌
The ball falls to Solly March on the edge of the area, and he cooly finds his spot 🎯
Advantage Brighton once again… pic.twitter.com/T4JSWGjByl
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 21, 2020
Brighton have so far failed to get the results their performances have deserved so the Seagulls will have been relieved to have survived a late VAR call, March the fortunate party as his trip on Trezeguet was overturned on consultation with the replays.
A huge sigh of relief for a player who played a big part in just Brighton’s second win of the season, following a thoroughly entertaining clash at Villa Park.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the leader in the race for the Premier League’s Golden Boot once more, the forward taking his tally into double figures with a brace in Everton’s 3-2 win at Fulham.
There was little spectacular about either of his finishes as the 23-year-old twice found himself in the right place at the right time, a situation that is becoming somewhat of a habit for the Toffees’ number nine and one that will delight manager Carlo Ancelotti.
The England international is now remarkably just three goals away from matching his best-ever Premier League season after scoring 10 goals in just nine appearances, becoming the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to reach double figures for non-penalty goals.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s game by numbers vs. Fulham:
100% shot accuracy
10 duels won
6 touches in the opp. box
4 ball recoveries
3 fouls won
2 tackles made
Inzaghi is that you? 😉 pic.twitter.com/guUuo1URhE
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 22, 2020
Brilliant in the air and ever-improving with his link-up play and anticipation around the penalty area, Calvert-Lewin has developed into the perfect focal point for Ancelotti’s attack, his brace reigniting Everton’s season following three successive defeats.
Few players have been as regular a source of praise from our columns this season as Harry Kane, a forward currently playing at the peak of his powers and once again superb this weekend.
Kane was in brilliant form once more as Tottenham moved top of the Premier League with a hard-fought victory over Manchester City, the north London outfit producing a performance of dogged defensive work and clinical counter-attacking to secure three valuable points.
In what is becoming a now customary fashion, the England captain dropped deep to hassle the Manchester City midfield, dragging defenders out of position and picking up possession to make things happen for his side.
It was a masterclass performance as a sole striker as he continually won fouls and provided an outlet for Spurs, whilst his movement caused nightmares for City’s centre-backs in a complete centre-forward display.
In just 15 games, Harry Kane has been directly involved in 24 goals this season pic.twitter.com/XOtUWXgH8W
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) November 22, 2020
Kane’s deeper role provided the space for Son Heung-Min to exploit and open the scoring, before the 27-year-old provided his ninth league assist of the season for the onrushing Giovani Lo Celso.
It’s now a remarkable 24 goal contributions in just 15 games for the Spurs striker in all competitions, Kane seemingly unstoppable at present and the early favourite for the Footballer of the Year awards.