A week after the sudden postponement of football following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the Premier League returned with a reduced round of fixtures ahead of the season’s first international break, with the English top flight now taking a back seat until the 1st of October.
With the original seventh Matchweek now set to be played at a later point in the season, this latest round of Premier League fixtures still felt some of the effects of the previous week’s postponement, with just seven fixtures being played instead of the usual ten. Among the highlights were Arsenal returning to form with a convincing win at Brentford, Tottenham sweeping aside a stubborn Leicester City 6-2, and Fulham claiming a comeback win over fellow promoted side, Nottingham Forest, to continue their impressive start to the season.
From seven matches, here are our five standout Stars of the Week.
Goalkeeper: Neto (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth’s mini-revival since late August continued against Newcastle United on Saturday, the South Coast side fighting valiantly to claim a 1-1 draw and stretch their unbeaten run in the league to three matches.
For the second time across those three matches, Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto made a massive contribution to his team’s result. The Brazilian made six saves at St James Park, including a quick double stop from Joelinton and Ryan Fraser in the first half to keep the scores level at 0-0.
An emphatically taken penalty from Newcastle’s Alexander Isak prevented Neto from coming away with a clean sheet on this occasion, but it goes down as another impressive display from Bournemouth’s emerging hero between the sticks.
Defender: William Saliba (Arsenal)
League leaders Arsenal rectified a testing defeat at Old Trafford by dispatching Brentford 3-0 in Matchweek 7, and in the process exorcised some demons from this fixture last season when The Gunners infamously lost to The Bees back in August 2021.
One of the players absent from that team and now making a name for themselves in this new look Arsenal is William Saliba, and the defender continued his excellent start to Premier League life with another assured performance here. Arsenal’s rising star defended stoutly, making two clearances and three tackles, and successfully nullified the dangerous Ivan Toney.
Not only that, the France international also opened the scoring within 17 minutes, with his flicked header just about crossing the line to give him his second goal of the season already.
He really embodies the optimism surrounding Arsenal at the moment.
Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Manchester City’s second visit in a row to the West Midlands went as well as Pep Guardiola could’ve hoped, with the reigning champions making light work of a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that had developed a reputation for being defensively robust and hard to break down in the opening weeks of the season.
Unsurprisingly, it was midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne who held the key to unlocking Wolves yet again. Following a stunning four-goal display on this ground last season, De Bruyne wasted no time in getting back to that level and immediately delivered a stunning cross that was converted by Jack Grealish to give City the lead within the opening minute of the match. With ten man Wolves still threatening deep into the second half, another fine pass from De Bruyne was swept home by Phil Foden to extinguish the host’s resistance and seal the victory.
That’s six assists for the season already now for De Bruyne, with the Belgian looking as dangerous as ever in this revitalised Manchester City attack.
Forward: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur)
Every now and then, a top player will fall slightly short of expectations and begin the season in a bit of a rut. This has been the case for Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min in the opening weeks of this campaign, in an echo of his teammate Harry Kane’s poor start this time last year.
But as the old saying goes, form is temporary and class is permanent, and Son’s world-class ability was underlined spectacularly in an incredible 30-minute display against Leicester City. Subbed on for Richarlison at a point where Leicester were threatening an equaliser, Son scored two belting goals from outside the box, one on either foot in quick succession, to bury any hopes of a comeback. Another clinical finish soon followed to wrap up the South Korean’s third Premier League hat-trick, and he really is up and running for the season now.
Did you really expect anything else from last year’s golden boot winner?
Manager: Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)
As always, there are a few worthy candidates for the manager of the week award, not least Fulham’s Marco Silva, but for Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta, a composed and emphatic victory at Brentford sees him scoop the prize.
This fixture away at Brentford could’ve represented a real nightmare for the Gunners; not only would last season’s opening day defeat to this opposition have been at the forefront of Arteta’s thinking, but the disappointment of a 3-1 loss at the end of a promising performance last time out could’ve proven both damaging and unsettling to this young group of players.
Arsenal instead passed the test with flying colours, playing with both a composed style and unflappable grit when required, and never looked to be in any real danger after going 2-0 up in the opening 30 minutes.
Another early marker of progress from Arsenal, and a much needed one as well with some huge tests set to come in October.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.