As we prepare to take a breather with a second international break of the season already on our doorstep, almost one fifth of the Premier League season has already been completed.
Matchweek 7, as always, left us with plenty to pick apart, none more so than in Liverpool’s thrilling draw with Manchester City at Anfield, undisputedly the game of the season so far.
It was a match of such magnitude, drama and quality that it’s easy to let the other big Premier League headlines from this weekend bypass us, from Norwich City’s maiden point of the campaign away at Burnley to Brentford maintaining their terrific start to the season with victory at West Ham. As we wait for the league’s seemingly distant return almost two weeks from now, here is our seventh edition of this season’s Premier League Stars of the Week.
Stars of the week in Matchweek 7
Goalkeeper: Tim Krul (Norwich City)
A truly miserable start to the season for Norwich City finally passed the starting line in Matchweek 7 as the Canaries picked up a point on the road against Burnley.
Whilst Norwich were a bit lucky that Burnley’s finishing was wayward, goalkeeper Tim Krul more than played his part to earn the Canaries a desperately needed point. A faint touch on a dangerous set piece was enough to bail Norwich out of danger and avoid a penalty, and later on, the Dutchman had to have strong hands to beat away Dwight McNeil’s firm drive.
It wasn’t the most spectacular goalkeeping performance of the season by any means, but it was enough for a team low on confidence to hold firm in what was generally a drab 0-0 draw. Thanks largely to Krul, though, rock-bottom Norwich now, at last, have some positives to build on.
Defender: Diego Llorente (Leeds United)
A stuttering start to the season for Leeds United eventually got off the ground at the seventh attempt, as the West Yorkshire side narrowly overcame Watford 1-0.
Given their unconvincing defending so far, it’s no surprise that a first victory and clean sheet of the season coincided with a first full 90 minutes for centre-back Diego Llorente. The Spain international proved to be the hero for Leeds with a finish fitting of a seasoned goal poacher following a set piece, but more importantly, brought a much-needed assuredness and quality to the Leeds backline.
There were a few hairy moments, as one might expect from a team who had so far leaked goals in every match, but Llorente’s 90% passing accuracy and eight ball recoveries underlined how much Marcelo Bielsa’s side have missed him.
An increasingly crucial figure at Elland Road.
Midfielder: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
In Manchester City’s pulsating 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, it’s fair to say that there was no shortage of quality from either team, with the likes of Phil Foden and Mohamed Salah lighting up this fiercely contested fixture.
But amidst the end to end action, the most influential player was City’s Bernardo Silva, who has hit some absolutely sublime form since nearly leaving the club just a few weeks ago. Aside from running, running, and running some more, Bernardo was spectacular both going forward and in defence, with one mesmeric dribble, in particular, setting up Foden for a chance he should’ve scored from.
With 11 duels and three tackles won, this was a classic example of Bernardo’s all action style, invoking memories of his stunning performances in the victorious 2018/19 season. It’s no wonder City fans wanted him to stick around.
Forward: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Clinical beyond compare.
Mohamed Salah and his teammates certainly found themselves under the cosh for much of Saturday’s instant classic against Manchester City, but when the winger had rare moments to showcase his quality against the Champions, he took them with ruthless efficiency.
Salah, one of the best African players, beats Joao Cancelo with a brilliant second half dribble before sliding the ball through to Sadio Mane to give the Reds the lead. Not too long after, he embarked on an even better dribble that took him past four City players before finishing the chance to claim one of the Premier League’s all-time great goals.
The only disappointment for Salah will be that his efforts didn’t lead to a victory, but without them, Liverpool could well have walked away from this game with nothing. The best player in the Premier League bar none.
Manager: Thomas Frank (Brentford)
The fairy-tale start continues.
With just seven games gone so far, Brentford achieved their third league win of the campaign already with a last-minute victory away at West Ham – an extraordinary result against a very strong team.
As fans rush to applaud Brentford’s extraordinary start, let’s take a moment to appreciate the efforts of Bees’ manager Thomas Frank, who already seems to be loving life in the English top flight. His side’s uncompromising style of going toe to toe with whoever they’re up against was on display again here, and Brentford showed great character to rally and push for a winner after being pegged back level with just ten minutes of regular time remaining.
Thomas Frank and Brentford’s exciting brand of football is winning over plenty of admirers, and with just one defeat so far, the Dane looks a very early contender for manager of the season, if of course, they can maintain such promising form.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.