The final round of Premier League matches in the month of January brought about something of a change in trends, as Liverpool returned to their best with a 3-1 victory at West Ham and Manchester United stuttered again with a tame 0-0 draw at Arsenal. Outside of the top four, Brighton finally notched their first home win of the season with a shock victory over Tottenham, whilst Leeds also reached a high point in their season by dispatching Leicester City 3-1 on their own patch. We’re back at it with a look at the finest performers in the latest completed round of Premier League fixtures.
Stars in Premier League – Gameweek 21
Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
How good is this guy? Aston Villa may have had a bit of luck with decisions in their narrow victory over Southampton on the south coast, but the contribution of Emiliano Martinez was anything but lucky. Once again, the Argentine proved why he is being touted as the best goalkeeper in the league this season, making some wonderful saves and interestingly also attempting the most passes of any Villa player. Another outstanding performance to add to an ever-growing collection.
Defender: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
After seeing rivals Manchester United lose to Sheffield United just a few days earlier, Manchester City were able to navigate past a potential banana skin by beating a spirited Blades side 1-0. This fifth clean sheet in a row was owed in large part to Ruben Dias; a performance of composed defending interspersed with a few brilliant last ditch interventions from the Portugal international was vital towards getting City over the line. Much like Martinez, Dias has also enjoyed a remarkable season so far.
Midfielder: Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea)
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s playing time was criticised for being somewhat limited under Frank Lampard, but in Thomas Tuchel’s new regime, the young winger is already showing signs of just how good he can be. Deployed as a wingback in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Burnley, Hudson-Odoi assisted the first goal, created some excellent chances for his teammates and was unlucky not to score himself. If this is a sign of things to come, then it’ll be much harder to leave him out this time around.
Forward: Patrick Bamford (Leeds United)
Leeds United’s crazy season hit its zenith on Matchweek 21, The Whites coming from a goal down away at Leicester to claim a stunning 3-1 victory. Patrick Bamford, relatively quiet in recent weeks, was back to his best here, scoring an inch-perfect equalising goal that was sandwiched between two smart and unselfish assists for Stuart Dallas and Jack Harrison. To top it all off, the forward admitted to owning himself in his own fantasy football team, reaping the benefits of his own performance – a great day all round for Bamford and Leeds.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
Despite a few recent struggles, Liverpool were looking much more like their old selves in their victory over West Ham, making light work of what appeared to be a very tricky opponent. Manager Jurgen Klopp deserves credit for resurrecting his side’s attacking verve – some of the forward interplay was stunning and the lightning fast counter attack that resulted in the team’s second goal summarised exactly what Liverpool are all about. This was a sign that Klopp is once again getting his team moving in the right direction.