The most traditionally fixture-dense part of the Premier League season is now underway, and got off to a surprising start as every team within the big 6 failed to win their matches. Although the results for those teams weren’t quite as damaging to some as they were to others, the real winners of the weekend were the likes of Leicester, Southampton and West Ham, who have curiously found themselves creeping back into this season’s fledgeling title race. It’s no surprise, then to see players from some of those teams feature in our 12th edition of this season’s Stars of the Week.
Stars in Premier League – Gameweek 12
Goalkeeper: Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace)
Crystal Palace’s recent resurgence continued with a hard fought 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur, which, given Tottenham’s form in recent weeks, will be seen as a very good point indeed for the Eagles.
Key to the result was goalkeeper Vicente Guaita; It may seem a little bit strange to include him seeing as his mistake gifted Spurs a goal, but the Spaniard more than made up for this with five saves in total, including a world class stop from Eric Dier’s free kick.
In truth, it was a masterclass from the Crystal Palace goalkeeper in how to recover from an early error.
Defender: Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton)
I mentioned that it was a great weekend for Southampton, who swept aside a dire Sheffield United side 3-0 in their biggest win of the season so far.
Whilst the forwards did a good job of putting their chances away, Jannik Vestergaard had yet another brilliant game at the heart of the Saints defence, and makes his way into our Stars of the Week for the second Matchweek running. The Denmark international won more duels than any player on the pitch, had a 100% tackle success rate and even made some promising forays into midfield.
Almost certainly the most improved player in the league this season.
Midfielder: James Maddison (Leicester City)
After some hit and miss performances in recent weeks, Leicester looked back to their best against Brighton, perhaps buoyed by a successful conclusion to their Europa League group stage midweek.
The Foxes put Brighton to the sword within 45 minutes, and midfielder James Maddison was key to the victory. Leicester’s number 10 reminded everyone of his quality with a clinical brace, the second of which was a sensational effort on his weaker foot that arrowed into the top corner.
In a promising start to the season for Leicester, Maddison seems determined not to be left out of the limelight, which can only be a good thing for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Forward: Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
From a Leicester fan favourite to a Leicester legend, it’s great to see that there are no signs of Jamie Vardy slowing down just yet. The former England striker turned in a vintage performance against the Seagulls, scoring a poacher’s goal and providing two straightforward assists to fellow star James Maddison.
It’s now the sixth season in a row that Vardy has reached double-digit goals in the Premier League, an incredible level of consistency for a player who spent such a large chunk of his career in England’s non-league.
Manager: Scott Parker (Fulham)
A lot of managers are contenders for this prize this week, not least Carlo Ancelotti and Sean Dyche for achieving brilliant victories. However, this week’s award goes to Scott Parker, whose Fulham side turned in a spirited performance against champions Liverpool.
Although the game eventually ended 1-1, Fulham were all over Liverpool in the first 45 and if not for some below-par finishing The Cottagers could’ve been almost out of sight by half time. Parker will be disappointed his side didn’t get the win, but that says a lot about Fulham’s improvement recently in comparison to the early weeks of the season.
This result is a lifeline for the London team, perhaps their most morale boosting point of the season so far.