Some of the Premier League’s biggest names produced star performances during the latest round of fascinating fixtures, the headline result seeing league leaders Tottenham inflict more misery on Arsenal in the north London derby.
Liverpool and Chelsea remain in pursuit of the table toppers after impressive wins against Wolves and Leeds respectively this weekend, whilst Jamie Vardy proved the scourge of Sheffield United once more and there were wins for both Manchester sides.
Following the weekend’s results we’ve picked out some of the Premier League’s finer performers, here are eight players who shone bright during gameweek 11:
Crystal Palace welcomed back Wilfried Zaha this weekend following a two-game absence, his return proving the catalyst behind an emphatic victory as the Eagles scored five times in a top flight away fixture for the very first time.
Roy Hodgson’s side dismantled struggling West Brom after the home side were reduced to 10 men, Matheus Pereira harshly sent off after consultation with VAR as the Baggies became the first Premier League side in six years to score an own goal and have a man sent off in the first half.
Zaha was the architect behind a ruthless display from Palace and looked lively from the opening minutes, his run and dangerous delivery leading to the opening goal as Darnell Furlong put through his own net.
The 28-year-old fired in a superb second after cutting inside and finishing powerfully, before turning in a second from close range after a surging run from the impressive Eberechi Eze.
It was a reminder of Zaha’s importance to Crystal Palace and took his tally to nine goal involvements in just nine appearances so far this season, already two more than he managed in the entirety of the previous campaign.
🗣 "His goals and assists have kept Palace in the Premier League, he could play for Real Madrid."
Graeme Souness is a massive fan of Wilfried Zaha and his importance to Crystal Palace pic.twitter.com/C6LROLf7cv
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 6, 2020
There are few players as difficult to contain in the Premier League when at full flight, the Ivorian’s talent and trickery essential to Palace’s hopes of a successful season with Zaha flourishing in a central attacking role.
The forward has long craved a second shot at a Champions League side and is likely to attract interest once more if he maintains his impressive start to the season.
Manchester United produced an abject performance during the opening 45 minutes against West Ham on Saturday evening, with the visitors hugely fortunate to head into the interval just a goal down at the London Stadium.
Fortunately for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he had a trump card amongst his substitutes in the form of Bruno Fernandes.
The Norwegian had hoped to rest the midfielder ahead of a crucial clash against RB Leipzig in midweek, though a sorry showing from the Red Devils was enough to prompt Fernandes’ introduction as a half-time substitute.
Fernandes’ has been a revelation since moving to the Premier League almost a year ago, and once again underlined his importance to the side with a transformative second half display.
The Portugal international instantly lifted the visitors and helped inspire a comeback victory in the capital, providing the assist for Paul Pogba’s equaliser before playing his part in United’s second.
Fernandes incredibly created eight chances from open play against West Ham, the most any player has provided in a Premier League game this season despite coming on at half-time.
Bruno Fernandes created 8 chances from open play vs. West Ham, the most any player has created in a Premier League game this season.
He came on at half-time. 🤯🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/raRNF9ROcm
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 5, 2020
The 26-year-old ranks first in the division for progressive passes, chances created and chances created from open play this season, Fernandes undoubtedly amongst the most productive midfielders in world football and an irreplaceable figure in United’s pursuit of success.
Liverpool reemphasised their status as title favourites with a thumping victory over Wolves on Sunday evening, the champions producing a hugely impressive performance to remain level on points with league leaders Tottenham.
The first fans to return to Anfield since the coronavirus outbreak were treated to a strong showing from the Reds, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson amongst those to impress.
Right at the heart of a fine display was Georginio Wijnaldum, however, with the Netherlands international producing a highlight reel moment to cap a typical performance of understated energy and importance.
The 30-year-old curled home a superb second goal for the home side, a welcome sight for a player who has scored prolifically at international level despite often being tasked with the ‘dirty work’ for his club side.
Georginio Wijnaldum misplaced just one pass against Wolves:
◎ 42 attempted
◉ 41 completed
And he capped it off with a beautiful goal. 🤤 pic.twitter.com/klq7LOK8KS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 6, 2020
Wijnaldum covered the ground superbly and was once again central to the side with his ability to retain and protect possession, completing 41 of 42 passes for a pass accuracy of 98%.
Speculation persists over his future with the star having entered the final months of his contract and Barcelona known admirers, agreeing a new deal should be of paramount importance for one of the club’s most reliable performers.
Mason Mount’s start to the season has been a welcome sub-plot in a new-look Chelsea side, the midfielder relishing the competition provided by a wealth of summer additions to take his game to new heights.
Mount has played in a variety of roles since being handed his opportunity under Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge, but a switch into the midfield three has unlocked the talents of a player quickly becoming the heartbeat of the side.
The 21-year-old is one of just two players – alongside Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne – to have averaged two shots, two key passes and two tackles per game so far this season, with his performance in Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Leeds this weekend outstanding.
Mount mixes industry with invention and was hugely influential as the west London side stretched their unbeaten record to 13 games in all competitions, creating a huge seven chances and capping his performance with an assist following a pinpoint delivery for Kurt Zouma to head home.
Mason Mount created seven chances against Leeds, the most by a Chelsea player in a single PL game this season.
No Blues player has created more in a game across the past five seasons. pic.twitter.com/MxA2QNOMNO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 5, 2020
It was the latest star showing from a young player who continues to make his doubters seem ever more foolish, Mount emerging as arguably the best of the bunch from Chelsea’s academy graduates and justifying the faith shown in him for both club and country.
Harry Kane just loves scoring against Arsenal, doesn’t he?
Kane became the highest-scoring player in the history of the north London derby with a clinical finish against Arsenal this weekend, lashing home his side’s second as Spurs secured bragging rights to remain top of the Premier League.
It was the England captain’s 250th goal in competitions for club and country and his eighth Premier League goal of the campaign, his strike coming after earlier setting up Son Heung-Min for the opener and his 10th assist of the season.
Kane’s 18 goal involvements in just 11 league fixtures is a staggering total and the tangible evidence of a player playing arguably the best football of his career at present, his performance this weekend another complete centre-forward showing as he provided Spurs with a cutting edge, dangerous outlet and exhibited more creative quality.
Harry Kane is now the all-time top scorer in the North London Derby with 11 goals 💥 pic.twitter.com/bJsDldSEF8
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 6, 2020
The 27-year-old and Son Heung-Min are the Premier League’s best double-act at present and continue to be the difference-makers for Jose Mourinho’s side, who are likely to be growing in confidence as they continue to pick up results.
Burnley have endured a difficult start to the season and have won just once in their opening 10 league fixtures, though responded to last weekend’s thrashing at Manchester City to secure a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Everton this weekend.
Key to their success was the return of Nick Pope in goal, who kept the Clarets in the contest on occasion including a brilliant reaction save to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin from close range in the first half.
The 28-year-old tipped a James Rodriguez effort from distance wide at full stretch in the second half, before denying Gylfi Sigurdsson a late winner after the Icelandic midfielder burst into the box in stoppage-time.
It was an impressive performance from the goalkeeper and it came under the watchful eye of England manager Gareth Southgate, who was in attendance as his two leading shot-stoppers went head-to-head at Turf Moor.
Nick Pope excellent again, whether reaction save or quick off his line, denying James Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin and Sigurdsson. Pickford remains Southgate’s No 1 but good to have options of the quality of Pope and Henderson. #eng #twitterclarets #BUREVE
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) December 5, 2020
Jordan Pickford made some strong saves during the clash but should have done better with Robbie Brady’s opener for Burnley, Pope winning the battle of the goalkeepers as each seeks to become England’s number one ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City’s main man showcased just why he is regarded by many as the Premier League’s finest player this weekend, controlling the club’s 2-0 win against Fulham at the Etihad from start to finish.
De Bruyne was in the mood in a performance that showed he may just be getting back to his brilliant best, providing the assist for Raheem Sterling’s opener with a driving run forward and through ball, registering his sixth assist of the Premier League campaign.
The Belgium international slammed home a second from the penalty spot to take his tally to eight goal involvements in just eight league starts so far this season, a remarkable figure for a player who has perhaps not hit full stride so far.
De Bruyne’s almost unrivalled productivity has made a mockery of suggestions he’s performed below expectations this season, with the 29-year-old providing a goal involvement every 68.6 minutes on average over his past seven appearances in all competitions.
🔥 Kevin De Bruyne's last 7⃣ matches for Manchester City:
🆚 Fulham ⚽️🅰️⭐️
🆚 Burnley 🅰️
🆚 Tottenham ❌
🆚 Liverpool 🅰️
🆚 Olympiacos 🅰️🅰️
🆚 Sheffield United 🅰️
🆚 Marseille 🅰️🅰️⭐️ pic.twitter.com/wLCXmrpDAo
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 7, 2020
His current record now stands at 72 assists in just 164 Premier League appearances and the midfielder is now just four short of reaching the all-time top 10, De Bruyne undoubtedly amongst the best creative talents the division has ever seen.
The second part of Tottenham’s deadly double-act to feature in our star performers of the week, Son Heung-Min continued his wonderful form this season with another brilliant performance against Arsenal this weekend.
Son was scintillating once more in tandem with Harry Kane in attack, opening the scoring with a stunning goal from distance after being played in in familiar fashion by his Spurs teammate.
The South Korean burst into the Arsenal half before opening up his body and curling the ball beyond the despairing Bernd Leno, his 10th league goal of the season with only Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin having provided more.
Son then turned provider for Kane as Spurs took control of the north London derby before half-time, a clever reverse pass resulting in the 11th goal combination between the two Spurs strikers this season – with the duo now just five short of levelling Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as the Premier League’s most fruitful partnership.
Son Heung-min is one of the best players in the world right now.
And I'm muting this conversation.pic.twitter.com/PpSNfZKAS1
— Goal (@goal) December 6, 2020
Much of the success of Jose Mourinho’s side this season has centred around a resilient defensive shape and the tantalising talents of their front two, a tactical plan which has continued to deliver results thus far.
Whether that continues remains to be seen, but in Son and Kane the north London side have two world-class players in sublime sync and at the peak of their considerable powers.