Premier League Player of the Week: McTominay shines for Man Utd and Vardy downs Tottenham
Who was the top flight’s standout performer?
There were some big scorelines and plenty of big talking points in the latest round of Premier League action.
Liverpool have tightened their grip on top spot after their 7-0 win against Crystal Palace, while Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton all got important wins in the hunt for European places.
After looking back over the action, we’ve picked out a four-man shortlist for our Premier League Player of the Week.
Roberto Firmino doesn’t tend to score too many goals, but he offered a reminder of how important he is to Liverpool in their thumping win over Palace.
His clever reverse pass to set up Sadio Mane for the second goal was typical of the Brazilian, who went on to add two goals himself.
His first rounded off a great counter-attacking move, then he lifted the ball over Vicente Guaita from a tight angle to get his second.
A win like this sends out a message to the rest of the league, and if Firmino and Liverpool are in this form, it’s hard to see anyone stopping them from retaining the title. Liverpool are odds-on favourites at 5/6.
Manchester United and Leeds United waited 17 years to renew their rivalry in the top flight. But it only took Scott McTominay three minutes to bag a brace and set the hosts well on their way to a 6-2 victory.
We’ve seen McTominay play well in big games before. But not many would have expected him to pull out the quality he displayed for both of his strikes.
Bruno Fernandes teed him up for the first and the Scotland international arrowed shot right into the bottom corner, leaving Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier helpless.
His second goal was arguably even better. As Anthony Martial held the ball up, the midfielder ran in behind. Martial played the ball through and McTominay showed incredible footwork to control the ball with his right foot, then firing home with his left.
He wasn’t finished there either. His energy set the tone for United’s display and he also created the fifth goal, finding Daniel James with a driven pass, before the winger slotted in through Meslier’s legs.
Leicester City moved up to second after a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, with Jamie Vardy playing a huge part for the Foxes.
The first-half was fairly even, but Serge Aurier brought down Wesley Fofana just before the break, giving Vardy the chance to score from the spot. He made no mistake, hitting the ball low and hard, and the momentum swung Leicester’s way.
They had a goal chalked off just after the interval when James Maddison was ruled to be offside, but it didn’t take long for Brendan Rodgers’ side to get their second and seal the points.
Marc Albrighton picked up the ball on the right flank and looked up to see Vardy pulling into space at the backpost. Mousa Sissoko couldn’t catch the 33-year-old, whose header hit Toby Alderweireld on the way in for an own goal.
Vardy now has 11 league goals this term, with only Mohamed Salah (13) having scored more. He’s 9/2 to finish as top scorer for the second year running.
After back-to-back defeats against Everton and Wolves, Chelsea will have wanted to steady the ship and get back to winning ways against West Ham United on Monday.
But after losing both fixtures against the Hammers last term, West Ham will have fancied their chances of causing another upset at Stamford Bridge.
It was crucial for Chelsea to make a good start and stop the visitors from growing into the game. And Thiago Silva obliged, rising to meet a Mason Mount corner and power a header into the net.
Silva did his part at the other end of the pitch too, blocking shots and ensuring the Chelsea backline kept its shape.
With the Brazilian setting the platform, Tammy Abraham scored two quickfire goals in the closing stages to round off a much-needed win for the Blues.
Cast your vote
So, there we have it. Four top-class performances and four contenders for this week’s honour. Special mentions go to Bruno Fernandes, Mohamed Salah and Jack Grealish, who weren’t far off making it onto the shortlist either.
Who do you think should win? Cast your vote in our Twitter poll.
#LFC have a 4 point gap, #CFC got back to winning ways, #MUFC put 6 past #LUFC, #LCFC put in a strong performance to end a rotten week for Jose and #THFC but who was your stand out performer this weekend?
— Coral (@Coral) December 22, 2020
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.