Premier League Stars of the Week: Matchweek 10

Another manager is gone. As the Premier League season surpasses its tenth matchweek and 100th game, the trials and tribulations of management claimed its biggest casualty yet with the sacking of Tottenham’s Nuno Espirito Santo after just four months in charge. Meanwhile, Italian manager came back in the Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur have announced that they appointed Antonio Conte as a new head coach.

For his opposite, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as well as Cristiano Ronaldo, it was an occasion to remember as Manchester United demolished Spurs 3-0 in the tie of the weekend. It wasn’t the only talking point, though, as Manchester City suffered a shock defeat at home to Crystal Palace and Liverpool threw away a two-goal lead against Brighton to open up a bit of daylight for leaders Chelsea at the top of the table.

Arsenal’s impressive win at Leicester also features in the latest edition of Stars of the Week, as we look back on this weekend’s finest performers.

Stars of the Week in Premier League – Matchweek 10

Goalkeeper: Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

The game that Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy had against Brentford recently stood out as perhaps the goalkeeping performance of the season so far, but in Arsenal’s 2-0 win at Leicester on Saturday, Aaron Ramsdale might just have pipped him with an even better display.

After the Gunners raced into an early 2-0 lead, it was inevitable that Leicester were going to bite back, and Ramsdale needed to be at his very best to preserve a clean sheet. The England goalkeeper made an incredible save from James Maddison’s free kick to preserve a 2-goal lead at half time, and later blocked efforts from Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes as Arsenal escaped un-breached.

Premier League legend Peter Schmeichel even cited the Maddison save as the best he had seen in years – high praise indeed, but nevertheless fully deserved for Ramsdale.

Defender: Reece James (Chelsea)

tuchel and james

It took Chelsea a little while to get going against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon, but in the end, the floodgates opened for the league leaders as they recorded a 3-0 win. Needing a bit of inspiration in the second half, it was astonishingly Reece James who came up with the goals for the second week running.

The wingback has shown us a few times already this season just how lethal his shooting can be, and he fired in two belting strikes against the Magpies to claim a crucial win for Chelsea. The first came from his apparently weaker left foot as he hit a strike into the top corner after touching down a deflected cross, and he later took advantage of a premature dive by Newcastle Keeper Karl Darlow to hammer home another great strike on his other foot.

James and Ben Chilwell, his partner on the other side, already have seven Premier League goals between them this season, and are jointly becoming an increasingly potent weapon for Tuchel’s title chasers.

Midfielder: Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace)

conor gallagher crystal palace

From one Chelsea Academy graduate to another, midfielder Conor Gallagher did his parent club a massive favour on Saturday by inspiring Crystal Palace to an amazing win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Just a few minutes into the contest, Gallagher robbed City defender Aymeric Laporte of the ball and played a quick exchange with Wilfried Zaha for the latter to squeeze a shot home and put Palace in the lead.

Having shown his range of qualities by helping to keep Palace steady when the champions fought back, the young loanee eventually helped to seal the victory that he’d kick-started by bursting into the box and scoring with an effort in off the post to make it 2-0.

Amidst an indifferent start to the season for Palace, Gallagher has shone brightly for the South Londoners, and his stock is only going one way.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

ronaldo celebrates goal against villarreal

You can’t keep a world class player down for long, can you?

If United ever needed a performance from Ronaldo, this was the occasion for it, and he rose to the challenge with typical brilliance as the Red Devils defeated Tottenham Hotspur to somewhat ease their recent plight.

Near the end of a tense first half, Ronaldo darted into the box and got on the end of a dinked pass from Bruno Fernandes to strike a perfect volley into the far corner from an improbable angle. In the second 45, he led a textbook counter attack before sliding a pass through to strike partner Edinson Cavani, who finished clinically to take the game beyond Tottenham’s reach.

It’s still a bumpy road for United and some serious tests lie ahead, but this was a desperately needed result powered by a brilliant performance from their main man.

Manager: Patrick Vieira (Crystal Palace)

Manager Patrick Vieira (Crystal Palace)

As always, there are several managerial candidates who deserve a mention when it comes to our manager of the week, particularly Graham Potter who inspired Brighton to a brilliant comeback draw against Liverpool, and David Moyes whose dominant win at Aston Villa kept West Ham firmly in the top four.

This time though, there can only be one winner – Crystal Palace’s Patrick Vieira, who masterminded an astonishing win against Manchester City, the club where his coaching career began.

We mentioned the contribution of Conor Gallagher, who was excellent, but Vieira set his team up to be bold and unsettle the hosts, which paid dividends rapidly with an early goal. Palace were no doubt aided by Aymeric Laporte’s clumsy red card, but they still maintained their shape and discipline to stifle City and leave Manchester with a deserved three points.

There was a question of sink or swim when Vieira took over the reins at Selhurst Park, but this victory was perhaps the strongest sign yet that he is the right man to take Palace forward.

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