Weekend Warriors: Top performers of the Matchday 5 in the Premier League
Matchday 5 in the English Premier League 2018/19 saw Liverpool and Chelsea carry on with their 100% win record while Watford came unstuck against Manchester United. There were regular victories for Manchester City and Arsenal whereas Tottenham suffered their first home loss of the season at the hands of a Roberto Firmino-inspired Liverpool.
Bournemouth won impressively against a returning Jamie Vardy and Leicester with a 4-2 scoreline. Everton will face bottom side West Ham while newcomers Wolves will duel with off-form Burnley in Sunday's doubleheader.
Southampton host Brighton at St. Mary’s on Monday night football to wrap up the Matchday 5 card.
Here is a look at the top performers in the key fixtures on the weekend:
Tottenham vs Liverpool
Result: Lamela (90′) 1 - 2 (Wijnaldum 39′, Firmino 54′)
Liverpool’s grand old man was indefatigable at Wembley. Starting his fifth match on a trot he continues to show improvement in his game awareness and management.
Often described as tenacious and a workhorse, Milner is showing technical nous and tactical intelligence unfamiliar to his style of play.
The uncompromising industry with clever passes, his performance became a thorn in Tottenham’s play. His set-piece led to the opening goal as well
Virgil van Dijk (MOTM)
The Dutchman was immense in the defensive organization of his team. Leading from the back he was faultless throughout the 90 minutes. He was a colossus in the air and pranced around with an air of superiority with the ball on the floor.
He carried Harry Kane and Lucas Moura in his back pocket without giving them a sniff or a whiff. This is the kind of fixture and performance for which Liverpool shelled out all those millions for.
Firmino was full of sacrificial running, selfless harrying and tiresome tracking back. But there was more to the quintessential ‘Firmino performance’. He was subtle with his touches, bright with sharp passes and hungry for goals.
Having been denied an early goal ruled offside, his link-up play, close control, and infectious energy were too much for Tottenham to handle. His goal was an easy tap-in for a richly deserved and proved out to be the winner. However, his afternoon ended on a somber note. He was forced to go off with a mysterious eye injury after colliding with Jan Vertonghen. The team’s display certainly nose-dived after his substitution.
His tally of two goals and two assists in five matches this term is a testament to his impact on the team adds to the fact that Liverpool has not lost an away game when he is on the scoreboard.
Manchester City vs Fulham
(Sane 2’, D. Silva 21’, Sterling 47’) 3 - 0
Bernardo Silva (MOTM)
He was the show stopper with some magnificent individual tricks to enthrall the spectators with. His play in the lead up to the second goal summed up his performance in a microcosmic exhibition- stunning, clinical and ruthless.
He was fast, frantic and fantastic. Scored a rapid-fire goal to get the things rolling and his goal literally knocked the stuffing out off Fulham. All of their best-laid plans went up in smoke after such an early concession of lead.
He was always dangerous with his slithering runs but not always clinical. He provided a great outlet and ample width to City’s play sticking wide on the left flank. This certainly helped the cause of the two Silvas: Bernardo and David.
He scored City's second goal and dictated the play throughout the match. He was not sensational but was a metronome in the City's passing display. He scored with a powerful drive, crashing off the crossbar.
Newcastle United vs Arsenal
(Clark 90+1’) 1 - 2 (Xhaka 49’, Ozil 58’)
Mesut Ozil was simmering if not on sizzling form. He was dictating the play without being spectacular. The first half shambles was largely down to the inept axis of Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi. Both Xhaka and Ozil improved after Lucas Torreira came on in the second half. Both even got on the score sheet.
He scored with finesse and composure that belied his recent performances hopefully will spur him on to better displays.
Defensively he can always do better and today was no exception to that rule. Better teams than Newcastle will hurt Arsenal if he does no tighten that aspect of his game.
The Greek was redoubtable in defense, particularly in the first half. Showing a massive improvement he needed to be on his top form as Shkodran Mustafi had a nightmarish first half.
He was still sloppy with his passing and a bit too quick with the tackle. Nonetheless, he was the defensive leader that Arsenal needed. He commanded the aerial duels and showed great tactical astuteness.
Lucas Torreira (MOTM)
The Uruguayan came on at halftime and seized the game by the scruff of its neck. Covering almost every blade of grass, he did more than just bring defensive teeth to Arsenal’s midfield. He made the game simpler by playing easy passes with accuracy. Arsenal scored twice after he entered the arena and did not look like dropping points but for a late scrap by the Magpies.
The disparity between the two halves highlighted what he brings to the Arsenal midfield: steel, speed, and simplicity.
Chelsea vs Cardiff City
(Eden Hazard 37, 44’, 80’ p) 4 – 1 (Sol Bamba 16’)
Eden Hazard (MOTM)
A royal display for the Belgian prince as Hazard was at his unplayable best. A signature dribble and shot for the opener were gorgeous, followed by a subtle and composed finish for the second and a trademark penalty capped off a showman’s performance.
He linked up delightfully with Giroud and showed glimpses of a potentially devastating partnership. Hazard his in the middle of fruitful return of goals and Chelsea would be hoping for it to continue as they the games come thick and fast.
The tall Frenchman size combined sublimely with Hazard all day. He showed subtle awareness to assist Hazard’s first-half double. Making his first Premier League start of the season, his performance will give a kick up the backside to the faltering Alvaro Morata.
Full of vim and vigor, the Brazilian was a constant menace with the ball. His direct approach was even more potent against a tiring Cardiff backline. He was awarded the penalty that Hazard dispatched to seal his hattrick.
He came on for Pedro in the second half and put the icing on the cake with a sumptuous curler as Chelsea ran riot at the Bridge.
Watford vs Manchester United
(Gray 65’) 1 - 2 (Lukaku 35’, Smalling 38’)
Red card-Nemanja Matic 90+3’
David de Gea (MOTM)
A spectacular one-handed save from Troy Deeney prevented Watford to get a lead and a head of steam. Again called in action late in stoppage time, Degea sprawled full-length to make an even better save from Christian Kabasele’s header.
The last gasp scramble is the clutch moment is what makes him the best goalkeeper in the World bar none. He will be disappointed with conceding though which leaves United with just one clean sheet in five matches.
Coming in for the injured Luke Shaw, Young continued his rich vein of form from last season. His set-pieces were instrumental in carving out the two goals and he remained an outlet on the left with Sanchez in front of him. Defensively he was aware and formidable and kept Will Hughes at bay apart from a couple of free kick concessions.
He does seem to possess a better delivery than Shaw, however, he might have to see a lot of the dugout when Shaw has recovered from his injury.
It was Fellaini’s head that met with Young's corners to set up the two goals for United. He was imperious again as the defensive screen in front of Smalling and Lindelof. He had a couple of frightful moments like nearly assisting Deeney for a goal but overall he was colossal in countering the direct aerial onslaught of Watford
Both again Burnley and Watford, his safety valve assurance in United’s midfield has all but kept Fred on the sidelines for now. He is fast becoming Mourinho’s special players notwithstanding his unpopular and robust play style for the fans.