Premier League Stars of the Week: Matchweek 25

From very few matches in 2022 to two rounds of Premier League action in the space of a week, how great does it feel to have the Premier League back in full flow?

Among this matchweek’s highlights in the English top flight were another botched result from Manchester United, letting another lead slip, whilst crosstown rivals Manchester City pummelled Norwich City to maintain the gap with Liverpool at the top of the table. At the other end of proceedings, Newcastle claimed a very impressive third win in a row to climb further away from trouble, whilst Everton broke with their rotten form to claim a victory in Frank Lampard’s first game in charge at Goodison Park.

With plenty to talk about, as always, here are our five latest Stars of the Week.

Goalkeeper: Fraser Forster (Southampton)

After achieving a stunning win over Spurs in the midweek matches, Southampton’s fine form on the road continued with a draw at Manchester United. Whilst the Saints were good value for the point they earned, they owe a degree of gratitude to goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who performed brilliantly between the sticks.

Although Forster was helpless to prevent Jadon Sancho from scoring a simple tap-in during the first half, he enjoyed a fine performance overall, making six saves. As well as making stops from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Dalot, a hand to claw out Harry Maguire’s injury time header and preserve a draw was probably his finest individual highlight over the 90 minutes.

The entire Southampton team seem to have gone up a gear since Christmas, and on this evidence it looks like Fraser Forster is the latest player to follow that trend.

Defender: Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Much like their South Coast brethren, Brighton are also enjoying a strong start to 2022, and having beaten Watford 2-0 back in August, repeated the same trick against the same opposition on Saturday.

Whilst victory for the Seagulls never looked to be under too much threat, the performance of Adam Webster at the back had a big influence in securing the result, with some important work at both ends. The defender kept Emmanuel Dennis and Josh King quiet, and eventually scored a scrappy, but nevertheless crucial goal to seal victory on the road.

There’s no doubt that Brighton lost a key member of their backline when Dan Burn joined Newcastle United on deadline day, but Webster has proven that there is still plenty of defensive talent on display at the Amex Stadium.

Midfielder: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United)

Jarrod Bowen

Another West Ham game, another round of rave reviews for midfielder Jarrod Bowen.

Perhaps the most in-form player in the country right now, Bowen was at it again on Sunday afternoon, taking apart Leicester’s more-than fragile defence with ease. The West Ham man took down a long ball just ten minutes into the game and dispatched a confident finish past Kasper Schmeichel to open the scoring.

With the Hammers chasing the game in the final moments of the 90, it was Bowen who once again came up with the answer, when his pinpoint corner was met by Craig Dawson to rescue a point for the visitors.

Since the turn of the year, has anybody been better than Bowen?

Forward: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Chelsea's Reece James battles with Manchester City's Raheem Sterling

Business as usual for Manchester City. Although their fixture against strugglers Norwich looked like a formality on paper, the league leaders would’ve been wary of being on the end of another potential shock on a ground where they’ve sometimes struggled in recent years. It wasn’t to be though, and Raheem Sterling was the driving force behind a cruising victory.

With City initially struggling to impose themselves on the game in their usual manner, it was Sterling who curled home a brilliant finish from left hand side to open the scoring and swing the balance in his side’s favour. He then grabbed a trademark goal with a header from a yard or two out, and completed a perfect hat-trick when his saved penalty rebounded kindly for a simple tap-in.

An excellent reminder to the ever-shrinking circle of doubters as to just how crucial he is to this team.

Manager: Frank Lampard (Everton)

Derby County manager \ head coach Frank Lampard

The Premier League often demonstrates that it’s not easy for a manager to revive a team that is shot of confidence and on a poor run of form, especially an incoming manager, but for Everton’s new boss Frank Lampard, the first game at Goodison Park couldn’t have gone much better.

Lampard’s Everton set out to attack a depleted Leeds from minute one, and although they got the swing of the luck when Leeds hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions, the Toffees played some of the best football they had in months, racing into a two-goal lead within 25 minutes. The attacking midfield partnership of Anthony Gordon and Donny Van de Beek in particular looks like a much-needed area of excitement.

A terrific first home game for Lampard overall, and one that could begin to patch up Everton’s wounds after a few months of awful form.

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