Premier League Stars of the Week: Matchweek 26

Drama, drama, drama. That’s just about the only way that we can sum up the 26th matchweek of this Premier League season, a weekend in which the whole competition was blown wide open from top to bottom.

The show-stopper was undoubtedly Tottenham Hotspur’s incredible 3-2 win at Manchester City, probably the greatest game of the season so far, and one that reignited the possibility of a proper title race between City and Liverpool. The entertainment didn’t end there though – from Manchester United winning a fiery match twice over away at Leeds to Watford and Burnley picking up wins that greatly intensify the relegation battle, matchweek 26 might well be the one to remember when the season hits its conclusion.

From an unforgettable week of action, here are our five Stars of the Week.

Goalkeeper: Jose Sa (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

jose-sa-wolves-goalkeeper

We begin in goal with the ever-familiar presence of Jose Sa, one of the season’s standout performers and a cornerstone of Wolves’ excellent form since the turn of the year. In a Midlands derby against Leicester City on Sunday, Sa enjoyed another strong display between the sticks, making six saves throughout the game.

Although the 28-year-old had no chance with Leicester’s goal, scored from point blank range, he demonstrated his sharpness with two strong parries following efforts from Youri Tielemans, repelling the danger and not presenting other Leicester attackers with a chance to make something of the follow up.

It wasn’t quite his busiest afternoon of the season, but it represented yet another game in which he helped his side get over the line.

Defender: Tino Livramento (Southampton)

Tino Livramento (Southampton)

Wolves aren’t the only ones enjoying a strong patch of form, with Southampton also extending their excellent run of results with a comfortable and efficient 2-0 triumph over Everton at St Mary’s.

Whilst the Saints were excellent going forward, they also notably went almost completely unthreatened at the back, and rising star Tino Livramento wielded considerable influence at both ends of the pitch against the Toffees. With three tackles, two interceptions and two blocks, the young fullback certainly didn’t look out of place at all on his first Premier League start since December, and late on in the game it was his floated first time cross that was headed home by striker Shane Long to seal the points.

Another encouraging day in what is already an impressive first top flight season for Livramento.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

bruno fernandes Manchester United

Manchester United overcame recent frustrations to earn a second Premier League win in a row following a fiery clash with Leeds United on Sunday. Although it was a game they were forced to win twice over having relinquished yet another seemingly comfortable lead, it represented another positive step for midfielder Bruno Fernandes in his recent return to form.

With United already a goal up, the Portugal international made a trademark run into the box to latch onto the end of Jadon Sancho’s cross and plant a well-executed header into the ground to double his side’s lead. Although Fernandes was partly at fault for the Leeds equaliser early on in the second period, he continued to plug away at the game, and showed great strength and determination to set up Anthony Elanga late on to seal an eventual victory for the Red Devils.

A challenging but ultimately successful day for the midfielder.

Forward: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

harry-kane-england-celebrate-goal-euro-2020

It may not have been the best year so far for Harry Kane, but against league leaders Manchester City on Saturday evening the striker managed to craft one of the most incredible stories of this Premier League season.

Famously pursued by City last summer, the England Captain showed the Citizens what they were missing with a genius pass early on that put Son Heung-Min and Dejan Kulusevski in behind the defence to give Spurs the lead.

In true striker fashion, Kane drifted into space and finished clinically in the second half to re-give his side the lead. Despite being thwarted on occasions by both City goalkeeper Ederson and the offside flag, he did eventually have the final word with a dramatic 95th minute header that sent Spurs home with an unbelievable 3-2 victory.

Kane’s performance was just another potent example of the classic adage that form is temporary, class is permanent.

Manager: Antonio Conte (Tottenham Hotspur)

conte tottenham

How’s that for a shock victory?

For Tottenham’s Antonio Conte, the Etihad Stadium would likely have been one of the last places he’d have been wanting to visit following two dreadful defeats against Southampton and Wolves, but the plucky Italian instead walked away from the Etihad as the first visiting manager to win a league game there since October.

The new look trio of Kane, Son and Kulusevski worked wonders against the league leaders but in truth the whole Tottenham team stepped up and delivered a near perfect game, keeping City at bay for most of the 90 minutes and repeatedly slicing open a curiously fragile defence with devastating speed and incision on the counter attack.

This victory was just what the doctor ordered for Tottenham, and for Conte, who achieved the second Etihad victory of his Premier League career in just his third visit – an extremely impressive stat in the context of recent years.

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