The World Cup may be just around the corner, but for now, the Premier League continues to roll on at pace. A rare exhibition of midweek league matches was somewhat dampened by a top-of-the-table clash between Arsenal vs Manchester City being postponed by fixture rearrangements, and that disappointment seemed to set the tone for the Matchweek with only 13 goals being scored across the nine remaining matches.
However, the matchweek wasn’t without its highlights, with Manchester United overcoming Tottenham Hotspur, Nottingham Forest fighting tooth and nail to gain a point at Brighton and Newcastle United continuing their excellent recent form with a controlled win over Everton.
As always, from the matches that took place, we will pick one outstanding goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, forward and manager to make up our Premier League Stars of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson (Nottingham Forest)
After a difficult run of form, Nottingham Forest managed to get an absolutely crucial point on the board from their trip to Brighton, the bottom-placed side escaping with a hard fought 0-0 draw.
The result in part came down to Brighton’s profligacy in front of goal, but another huge part of that equation was the performance of Forest’s keeper Dean Henderson, who at times was putting on a one-man show to keep his team in the game. Throughout the game, Henderson made an impressive seven saves, repelling efforts from the likes of Leandro Trossard, Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck.
This isn’t the first time this season that Dean Henderson has been featured as star goalkeeper, and if his performances help his side claim a few more unlikely results like this, it won’t be the last either.
Defender: Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United)
Another week, another great Newcastle United result and another excellent performance from Kieran Trippier. The right back has been brilliant so far in a Newcastle team that have lost just once in the league this season, and against Everton he once again gave a captain’s performance with a brilliant blend of defensive solidity and the ambition to get forward.
Trippier made two tackles and four interceptions to stem the meagre Everton threat, and spent much of his time marauding the wing in the attacking half. There were no goal contributions for Newcastle’s number two today, but his crossing was once again very useful, and he created a great chance that midfielder Bruno Guimaraes was unable to take.
It’s no wonder that the Magpies are soaring up the table when being driven by a player as good as him.
Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
It’s fair to say that Manchester United’s performances against top sides this season have been a mixed bag, but in this midweek clash against Tottenham Hotspur, the Red Devils were close to their best and emerged as 2-0 winners.
It was a convincing team performance from United, but individually, attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes stood out above the rest. The Portugal international was a constant thorn in Tottenham’s side, having three shots on goal, creating one big chance and maintaining a 93% passing accuracy to set the United attacks in motion. The performance was capped with a fine goal midway through the second half to extinguish the Tottenham threat.
It was Bruno’s best performance of the season so far, with United now gradually climbing towards the top four.
Forward: Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)
It’s been some week for Liverpool. A hugely significant win over Manchester City on the weekend was followed up by another tough 1-0 victory over West Ham on Wednesday night. After Mohamed Salah had been the hero against City, this time it was new striker Darwin Nunez who made the difference against the Hammers.
The Uruguayan scored with a pinpoint downwards header midway through the first half to give the Reds a lead that they would not relinquish. Although he wasn’t able to grab a second goal, Nunez was lively during the hour that he played, crashing the post with another effort on goal and constantly proving a handful for the West Ham backline.
It’s fair to say that Liverpool’s record signing had had a rocky start to life in the Premier League, but gradually it seems like Nunez is adapting to potentially become a key player in this team.
Manager: Erik Ten Hag (Manchester United)
We’ve already mentioned Manchester United’s mixed fortunes in the Premier League this season, but here against Tottenham, Erik Ten Hag’s side were in control from start to finish.
The Dutchman set up his side to go for Tottenham’s throat and that’s exactly what they did, firing in almost thirty shots against a side with a tough-to-break-down backline. Even at half-time, with United clearly frustrated to not be ahead, Ten Hag maintained the same tactics and personnel, finally getting his reward when Fred made the breakthrough early in the second half. It was no more than United deserved, and from that point on there was never any significant doubt that the hosts would get the win.
Another big test that Ten Hag has come through in his early career at Old Trafford, and now if this form can be maintained it’ll be interesting to see what kind of position United can get themselves into before the mid-season break.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.