A quarter of the season is now already behind us, and how delightful it is to see the Premier League is just as competitive as we hoped it would be.
As we passed the 11th matchweek milestone, it was surprisingly the return of some exceptional goalkeeping displays, which has been missing from recent matchweeks, that came to dominate this weekend of action. In fact, multiple Premier League keepers gave their best performance of the season so far.
Beyond the exceptional goalkeeping that was commonplace this weekend, there is still plenty left to analyse and comb over, from Liverpool’s hugely significant 1-0 win over Manchester City to Arsenal’s narrow 1-0 triumph against Leeds United that left the Gunners four points clear at the top of the league.
As always, from the ten matches that took place, we will pick one outstanding goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, forward and manager to make up our Premier League Stars of the Week.
Premier League Stars of the Week in Matchweek 11
Goalkeeper: Kepa Arrizabalaga (Chelsea)
As previously mentioned, Matchweek 10 was one of the greatest weekends for goalkeeping that the Premier League has seen in a long time, with the likes of Brentford’s David Raya, Wolves’ Jose Sa, and Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale all performing to an incredibly high standard.
However, just edging in front of all of those names with the best performance of the weekend was Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Spaniard, who has recently wrestled back his place in the team from Edouard Mendy, was at the top of his game against Aston Villa on Saturday to help the Blues leave the West Midlands with a 2-0 victory.
With his team 1-0 up, Kepa made an incredible triple save to maintain the lead, and later on in the first half made an even better stop to tip Danny Ings’ header over the bar with one of the saves of the season so far.
Eventually, Chelsea got the second goal that would ultimately kill off the hosts, but this victory was built on Kepa’s brilliant goalkeeping. Could this game mark a turning point in his Chelsea career?
Defender: Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)
How’s that for a well-timed revival?
Like most of his teammates in the Liverpool backline, Virgil Van Dijk has been the subject of some criticism since the start of this campaign following a poor start by last season’s runners up.
The Dutch centre back faced the ultimate test at Anfield on Sunday against free-scoring Manchester City, but turned in a vintage performance to help his side claim a clean sheet in a monumental 1-0 win for the Reds. Van Dijk made two tackles, one interception and seven clearances against City, commanding the defence brilliantly and managing to keep Erling Haaland and co quiet.
Astonishingly, Van Dijk has still never lost a league game for Liverpool at Anfield, and despite many thinking that record would come to an end against City, a colossal performance by Liverpool’s number 4 ensures that that particular record goes on.
Midfielder: Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Revival seemed to be a running theme in the Premier League this weekend, and much like Kepa Arrizabalaga and Virgil Van Dijk, Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount also looked to be back to his best in Matchweek 10.
Having also been the target of some criticism in the opening portion of the season, Mount’s form has taken a gradual upturn since the appointment of Graham Potter as Chelsea manager a few weeks ago, and along with Kepa, Mount played a key part in his team’s victory against Aston Villa. The attacking midfielder pounced on a poor defensive header by Tyrone Mings early on to put Chelsea in front with his first goal of the season, and later put daylight between the two teams with a stunning free kick midway through the second half.
It was a top performance by Mount, and perhaps a display like this will help the England international build some momentum and confidence between now and the start of the World Cup next month.
Forward: Ivan Toney (Brentford)
Following a brief dip in form, it was back to winning ways for Brentford on Friday night, who despatched Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 for their first victory in four games.
Their most recent victory, which came against Leeds United, was powered by an Ivan Toney masterclass, and unsurprisingly it was Toney who was once again at his best here to make the difference. The striker produced a brilliantly improvised finish in the 27th minute to put Brentford in front, and later converted a penalty emphatically to help the Bees solidify an important victory. Two goals from two shots on target underlines his clinical display in front of goal.
Even more remarkably, Toney has scored every one of the 20 penalties he has taken for Brentford, and now sits third in the Premier League scoring charts this season with eight goals already.
Could a call-up to England’s World Cup squad be on the cards? It’s looking increasingly difficult to argue against.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
What an incredible victory for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
The beleaguered manager made some big calls going into this game. Perhaps feeling that his hand had been forced by a disappointing defeat to Arsenal last week, Klopp brought Joe Gomez and James Milner into shore up the right-hand side of his defence, a gamble but one that paid off perfectly as Manchester City’s wingers were kept relatively quiet.
The German also stuck to his guns with some of the big-name players who have been below par in recent weeks, notably the aforementioned Van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, and it paid off with both players making a huge contribution to the victory.
On this evidence, Klopp is still one of the very best when it comes to preparing his players for a big game, and this was a statement victory to all of the onlookers who claimed that Klopp and Liverpool were on the decline. Could this be the result to finally kick-start Liverpool’s season?
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.