November’s international break will allow fans to pause and reflect on a fascinating start to the season, the opening eight fixtures having provided plenty of intrigue with Leicester the surprise leaders at this stage following another victory this weekend.
The latest round of fixtures saw the Foxes edge Wolves at the King Power Stadium, whilst Tottenham moved up to second with victory at West Brom and title favourites Manchester City and Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw at the Etihad.
Manchester United secured a morale-boosting win at Everton, whilst there were impressive victories for Chelsea, Southampton and Aston Villa who all remain within touching distance of the league leaders.
Following another brilliant weekend of action we’ve decided to pick out some of the division’s star performers, here are six Premier League players who shone during gameweek eight:
Crystal Palace climbed to eighth in the division with a hugely impressive 4-1 thumping of Leeds this weekend, with Roy Hodgon’s side inflicting a third defeat in four fixtures on the newly-promoted outfit.
Amongst the highlights of the victory for Palace was a breakthrough performance from summer signing Eberechi Eze, who provided a timely reminder of just why his arrival from QPR was greeted with such excitement.
Eze established himself as one of the most exciting young talents outside of the Premier League last season, but has taken some time adapting to the step-up in quality since moving to Selhurst Park, his opening performances in a Palace shirt having shown just glimpses of his ability.
Against Leeds the 22-year-old announced himself in superb style with a goal and an assist, showcasing his set-piece threat with a pinpoint delivery for Scott Dann to head home the opening goal of the game, before doubling Palace’s advantage with a magnificent free-kick into the top corner.
Those moments of quality were mixed with an encouraging all-round display, his attacking contributions complemented by an industrious work-rate with no Palace player registering more tackles or interceptions.
Eberechi Eze for Crystal Palace vs. Leeds:
100% tackles won
87% passing accuracy
9 ball recoveries
5 tackles (most)
4 interceptions (most)
3 fouls won
2 chances created
A breakthrough performance. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/SxtYgJF2Le
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 7, 2020
Hodgson will now hope this is just the start for the England U21 international who will be tasked with helping unburden Wilfried Zaha, the Ivorian having long been a talismanic figure for the club and so often a marked man.
Injecting additional flair and forward threat to the side can only help ease the attentions Zaha is often subjected to, an encouraging scenario for Palace as they seek to progress this season.
Hakim Ziyech’s creative class had often been on display during a memorable four-year spell at Ajax, with the playmaker now showcasing his skills in some style in a Chelsea shirt.
The Moroccan magician had to be patient for his opportunity after sustaining an injury in pre-season, but having returned to full fitness has swiftly established himself as arguably the leading threat in Frank Lampard’s rapidly-improving side.
Ziyech was the star of the show during the Blues’ 4-1 win over Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge, his delivery from both open play and set-pieces exceptional with the 27-year-old possessing technique and vision few can match.
Ziyech had a hand in each of Chelsea’s opening three goals, firstly releasing Mateo Kovacic with a wonderful clipped ball for Tammy Abraham’s equaliser, before whipping in two sensational deliveries to assist both Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva.
Another two assists for Hakim Ziyech.
Chelsea have themselves a player ✨ pic.twitter.com/vu1x93R7Z4
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 7, 2020
No player has created more than Ziyech’s six chances this weekend in a single home fixture so far this season, his tally now standing at two goals and three assists in just four starts in all competitions.
Chelsea’s summer signings are beginning to settle following a fourth consecutive victory and Ziyech looks arguably their most exciting acquisition, a player capable of creating something out of nothing and one who could prove invaluable to the club’s hopes of challenging this season.
Leicester moved to the top of the Premier League after securing a sixth straight victory in all competitions with a narrow 1-0 win against Wolves, a solid defensive display once again led by the faultless Wesley Fofana.
The teenager has enjoyed a phenomenal start to his career in the Premier League since signing from Saint-Etienne during the summer, his latest performance seeing the 19-year-old widely acclaimed.
Fofana was excellent once more in a back three formation implemented by Brendan Rodgers, his confidence in stepping out from the back remarkable for a player of his relative inexperience with the youngster completing 89% of his passes in addition to making six ball recoveries, three clearances and two interceptions.
Goodness me, what a player Fofana is going to be/already is.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 8, 2020
The Foxes have now kept four clean sheets in the seven fixtures Fofana has played in all competitions, whilst they have only conceded two Premier League goals during the Frenchman’s time on the pitch.
Rodgers described Fofana as ‘absolutely colossal’ and it is not difficult to see why given the player’s reading of the game, pace and pro-active defending, the French U21 international seemingly another transfer market masterstroke from Leicester and a starlet with frightening potential.
Harry Maguire may wear the captain’s armband at Manchester United but it is Bruno Fernandes who is the leader of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, the midfielder once again shouldering responsibility in the club’s 3-1 win at Everton.
Recent results have seen the pressure significantly grow on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he had his Portuguese playmaker to thank for securing a vital three points on Merseyside, Fernandes scoring twice as United came from behind to win at Goodison Park.
The 26-year-old ghosted into the box to head home Luke Shaw’s cross in fine fashion to equalise, before his attempted cross evaded everyone to drift into the far corner and put the Red Devils in front.
Fernandes’ display was far from flawless as he regularly lost possession and subjected Everton’s players to some rash challenges, but his mix of competitive spirit and creativity remains a welcome sight to supporters who have become all too accustomed to insipid displays from their side of late.
Bruno Fernandes for Man Utd vs. Everton:
◉ Most touches (81)
◉ Most duels contested (19)
◉ Most shots (6)
◉ Most crosses (4)
◉ Most shots on target (3)
◉ Most tackles (3)
◉ Most goals (2)
◉ =Most assists (1)
Directly involved in all three goals. 👏 pic.twitter.com/L8EVqoVKpg
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 7, 2020
He capped his display with yet another assist after playing in Edinson Cavani for his first goal since moving to English football, taking his record to a staggering 22 goal involvements in 21 league appearances for the club, whilst he has now scored 10 goals in 10 away appearances.
No midfielder in the Premier League has scored more goals from open-play than Fernandes since his debut for Manchester United earlier this year, an impressive statistic for a player often bizarrely derided as a penalty merchant.
Aston Villa‘s club-record signing once again showed he can offer the cutting edge the club lacked for much of last season, taking his tally for the season to six goals in just seven appearances with a brace in the club’s impressive 3-0 win at Arsenal.
The 24-year-old has seamlessly adapted to the step-up in quality since signing from Championship side Brentford during the summer, providing Dean Smith’s side with a fine outlet and stretching defences ahead of the creative talents of Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley.
Watkins starred against his boyhood side this weekend and took both goals clinically, firstly heading home Barkley’s volleyed cross from close range before latching onto a Grealish through ball and confidently finishing past Bernd Leno.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 8, 2020
Watkins six goals means that only Dion Dublin and Dean Saunders have ever scored more goals after their first seven games in the Premier League for Villa, Smith’s investment in last season’s Championship Player of the Season proving money well spent.
Villa’s impressive recruitment – led by the thriving Watkins in attack – has already led to significant improvement from the side so far this season, with Smith’s side capable of becoming league leaders should they win their game in hand on the sides above them.
Harry Kane reached yet another goalscoring landmark this weekend with his 150th Premier League goal, his milestone moment ensuring Tottenham returned home with three points following a hard-fought 1-0 win over a stubborn West Bromwich Albion.
It was yet another vital contribution from the England captain who has began the season in scintillating form, his record in the division now standing at a phenomenal seven goals and eight assists in just eight Premier League appearances.
Kane’s return to full fitness and his finest form has been a huge boost to Jose Mourinho and his side, who have quietly climbed up to second in the division heading into the international break.
Harry Kane becomes the 10th player to score 150 Premier League goals ✨ pic.twitter.com/25mf3BQbzN
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 8, 2020
Mourinho is beginning to put his stamp on this side and their narrow win was a performance that will have pleased the Portuguese, the north London outfit remaining persistent to claim a vital three points courtesy of Kane’s winner just two minutes from time.
It was a huge win given their midweek excursions in Bulgaria and with an in-form Kane in their ranks the club will continue to harbour dreams of a title tilt, his 150th goal coming in just his 218th Premier League appearance – a record narrowly bettered by only Alan Shearer (212 games) and Sergio Aguero (217 games).