MW11 in the Premier League marked a historic game week as it we saw small numbers of fans back in stadiums for the first time in months. It marked a weekend to remember for some, and one many will wish they could forget. Jozef Kostecki provides a rundown of the best performers from this week’s games…
Premier League Matchweek 11 Results
|4th December 2020||Aston Villa||POSTPONED||Newcastle United|
|5th December 2020||Burnley||1-1||Everton|
|5th December 2020||Manchester City||2-0||Fulham|
|5th December 2020||West Ham United||1-3||Manchester United|
|5th December 2020||Chelsea||3-1||Leeds United|
|6th December 2020||West Bromwich Albion||1-5||Crystal Palace|
|6th December 2020||Sheffield United||1-2||Leicester City|
|6th December 2020||Tottenham||2-0||Arsenal|
|6th December 2020||Liverpool||4-0||Wolverhampton|
|7th December 2020||Brighton & Hove Albion||1-2||Southampton|
Premier League Matchweek 11 Manager of the Week – Jurgen Klopp
” To be successful, you need results in a row. You can’t win, lose, win, lose. ” Jurgen Klopp once said this, and he is clearly leading by example with his Liverpool team right now. Klopp has faced an undeniably steep task in maintaining results with the huge number of injuries his side has faced. Going into this weekend’s game against Wolves his side was missing six players, with an additional doubt in Trent Alexander-Arnold, and yet Klopp produced a managerial masterclass. It was an impressive game for Liverpool as well, easily dispatching a normally top side in Wolves four nil.
Eleven weeks into the Premier season with masses of injuries, Liverpool stands second in the table with only goal difference keeping them away from top spot. This valiant level of fight being shown as the Merseyside club look to defend their Premier League title is commendable. One thing is very clear: despite setbacks and slip-ups, now the Red side of Liverpool have had a taste of Premier League glory, they won’t stop chasing till they get another.
Premier League Matchweek 11 Player of the Week – Kevin De Bruyne
When you consider the player’s of the season so far, some surprise names come to mind, especially with the unpredictable nature of the Premier league so far. One name that is no surprise however is Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian has been his usual exceptional self so far this season and against Fulham this was no different.
Last season’s Manchester City Player of the season was the key to their win against Fulham, having an involvement in both goals. He dribbled forward with confidence before assisting Raheem Sterling, and then he coolly sent Alphonse Areola the wrong way when dispatching a penalty. If performance’s like these continue, he’ll surely be picking up his fourth player of the season award at Manchester City.
Goalkeeper: Caoimhin Kelleher (7.6 Player Rating)
What a week for Caoimhin Kelleher. First, he makes his Champions League debut starting against Ajax and pulls off the incredible feat of keeping a clean-sheet and scooping up a man of the match award. Then in the Premier League against Wolves, he kept another clean sheet against Wolves, making three saves along the way.
Whilst the brutal honesty is starting game time will be severely limited when Alisson makes his return from injury, it is great to see a young keeper thrive in the meantime when the opportunity came about. With Adrian making a series of howlers already this season when deputising, Liverpool fans will be more than happy with a new safe pair of hands happy to step in when called upon.
Defender: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.6 Player Rating)
With over a season now spent in Manchester, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is just getting better and better. Against West Ham Wan-Bissaka was easily the best defender on either side and looked unbeatable every time he was called upon. He picked up eight tackles, including one that was the last man, covering an enormous distance to make up for his own admittedly clumsy mistake.
This denied West Ham what looked to be an all but guaranteed goal. Whilst his full-back partner, new summer signing Alex Telles, may have picked up an assist, it is Wan-Bissaka that deserves heaps of praise.
Defender: Joel Matip (7.7 Player Rating)
Matip was at his very best against Wolves and alongside Kelleher in between the sticks he was probably one of the two reasons they kept a clean sheet. This was made even more impressive when considering how Matip performed to such a high standard with only one of Liverpool’s traditional back five playing because of injuries. Matip also did well to pick up Liverpool’s third goal, getting on the end of a smartly worked corner routine to put the game beyond any doubt.
We should put the praise on Matip into context, with Wolves not looking a shadow of themselves without star striker Raul Jimenez after his skull fracture has ruled him out for the foreseeable future.
Defender: Jan Vestergaard (8.0 Player Rating)
Making a return to the TOTW after featuring in gameweek six, Jan Vestergaard was vital in securing Southampton a win against a Brighton side that again arguably deserved more. Scoring his goal in a classic Southampton way, Vestergaard placed a beautiful header into the net when getting onto the end of a James Ward-Prowse corner.
After conceding to a somewhat unlucky penalty, Vestergaard took it upon himself to make sure that would be the only goal that got past him. As a result he won thirteen duels marshalling his team to three points.
Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez (8.1 Player Rating)
While every single one of this weeks TOTW midfielders have featured in previous weeks, it is only Riyad Mahrez and Man City counter part Kevin De Bruyne that featured in last weeks. The Manchester City winger was again exceptional, and while he may have missed out on being man of the match to his teammate, he was still amongst the very best performers this week.
The best players in the world do so much more than just score or assist, and against Fulham did just this whilst proving why he is among the cream of the crop with elite wingers in world football.
Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne (9.2 Player Rating)
And here he is, the player of the week and last seasons’ PFA Player of the Season. Against Fulham Kevin De Bruyne has once again excelled, showing that in a team full of stars he was the one shining the brightest.
Whilst he usually benefits from roaming out towards the right, against Fulham De Bruyne was deployed across the whole of the midfield. As a result, it brought about a far more rounded performance. A goal, an assist, and key chances created, De Bruyne was at his very best for sure.
De Bruyne’s ability to excel no matter where he is deployed across the attacking side of the midfield is undeniably what has placed him amongst the best midfielders in the world, with an argument to be made for him being the very best.
Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes (8.1 Player Rating)
Appearing in his fifth TOTW of the season, Bruno Fernandes was once again the difference maker for Manchester United this week. Initially left on the bench as a means to rest him and fellow star Marcus Rashford ahead of Tuesday’s huge Champions League tie, Bruno was forced onto the pitch after Manchester United simply were not at the races in the first half against West Ham.
Introduced at the start of the second half, with his side trailing, Bruno displayed pure quality and leadership, dragging his side back into the game. The Portuguese international made eight key passes, created two key chances and picked up an assist, no small numbers if he was given ninety minutes, not forty-five.
With recent comments from Mino Raiola again throwing Paul Pogba’s Manchester United future into serious doubt, it perhaps is undeniable at this stage that it is now Bruno who is Manchester United’s star player.
Midfielder: Mason Mount (8.3 Player Rating)
Deployed as almost an out and out left midfielder against Leeds, Mason Mount was the star of the Chelsea team. This is not the first time this season, and it will not be the last. With all the summer signings, it seemed possible Mason Mount would no longer be a starter at Chelsea. Now, with eleven Premier League gameweeks gone, there is simply no chance of this becoming the case.
On the weekend Mount produced seven key passes and created two big chances. He was a class above everyone else on the pitch, and did well to grab an assist, however was unlucky to only come away with one.
Superb performances like this should work wonders to wipe away the unfair criticism Mount receives when he gets picked in the England set-up and shows why Lampard and Gareth Southgate continue to back him.
Forward: Mohamed Salah (8.4 Player Rating)
With every season that passes, Mohamed Salah seems to become a more complete football player. Picking up a goal and an assist against Wolves, he’s showing how he is more than ever a team player, one who seems to excel in all aspects of a forward’s game.
The maturity he has now in his later years is shown by how his goal came from just three shots, it’s no longer a matter of taking as many shots for Salah, but taking the ones that have the highest percentage of scoring. With the likelihood being that Jurgen Klopp will have to choose who of his star front three stays at the club for the longest time, with all three reaching their later years. Salah seems almost indispensable.
Forward: Christian Benteke (9.0 Player Rating)
It has been a very, very long time since the words “Christian Benteke, the Premier League’s best striker on the weekend” have been said, and yet over this game week that is one hundred percent the case. The big Belgian was making his first Premier League start of the season and after a performance like this all but guaranteed he will start next week as well.
Firstly, he did well to peel away from his marker to head low past the usually rock solid Sam Johnstone. He then had a vital role to play in Crystal Palace’s fourth goal, before brilliantly turning and slotting home for their fifth. Benteke also deserves praise for the fact it was clear he wanted more, despite getting his second late on in the game he carried on chasing another. Here’s hoping the return of a high level performance from Benteke will be a regular thing, as he shows form is temporary but class is permanent.
Forward: Wilfried Zaha (9.0 Player Rating)
Once again Zaha is the star of the Crystal Palace show, no simple task this weekend with so many excellent performances in the team. He was full of flair and finishing prowess as the Ivory Coast star scored two goals of Palace’s five, one being an exceptional out of the box effort curled perfectly into the net.
One criticism that has been raised at Zaha before is his lack of consistency, however with six goal contributions in his last five games this could well be a thing of the past.
After such a strong weekend this leaves Zaha only one goal behind becoming Crystal Palace’s twelfth all time top goalscorer. If he wants to secure that role, he must be at his very best next weekend against Premier League leaders Spurs.
Honourable Mentions for Premier League TOTW 11
Kurt Zouma: After another brilliant showing grabbing a goal, the question again arises. Is Chelsea’s best centre-back Kurt Zouma? The man who has been at the club for over six years now has stamped his place in the starting eleven.
Roy Hodgson: The oldest manager in the Premier League was tactically exceptional. His Crystal Palace team were brilliant away to West Brom and gave the Baggies a warm welcome back to the Premier League.
Heung-Min Son: Once again, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane were Spurs’ shining lights. Did well to get an assist, but secured his place in the weekend’s papers with an incredible goal. An elite finish for an elite player.
Dean Henderson: An impressive Manchester United Premier League start for Henderson wasn’t quite enough for him to secure a place in the TOTW, however the Englishman was brilliant when called upon and could do little to stop the Hammers goal.
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