Premier League Player of the Week: Son Heung-min leads Spurs as Tierney inspires Arsenal against West Brom
Who impressed in the first matches of the New Year?
The crazy Premier League season showed no signs of slowing down in the first matchweek of 2021, with even more big talking points to mull over.
Southampton beat Liverpool to give the two Manchester clubs the upper hand in the title race, after City put together the perfect first-half display to beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal’s rejuvenation continued too with their third win in a row, meaning the Gunners now sit just six points off the top four. After looking back over the weekend’s action, we’ve picked a four-man shortlist for the Premier League Player of the Week.
Tottenham headed into their match with Leeds on the back of a four-match winless run in the Premier League, and it looked as though the Whites could make it hard for the Lilywhites to stop that from becoming five.
But yet another impressive display from Spurs’ front two, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, eased those fears and helped the North London side to a 3-0 win.
With Kane opening the scoring through a penalty, it was Son who put the game to bed with a delightful run in between two Leeds defenders before a delicate touch put the ball in the back of the net.
A threat throughout, Son continued to press forward, harry and harass the Leeds defence, before eventually playing his part in the third goal, whipping in a sumptuous ball on a corner from the right straight onto the head of Toby Alderweireld in a play straight off the training ground.
With another goal and assist, Son moved to 12 league goals for the season and five assists. Just where will his figures end up this year?
Two quickfire doubles in each half sealed an impressive 4-0 away win for Arsenal against West Brom, but they were helped by the Baggies’ lack of fight.
That being said, Kieran Tierney looked up for this game from the warm up, wearing just a t-shirt and shorts while the snow poured down at The Hawthorns, conditions the young Scottish left-back thrived in.
After 23 minutes of constant pressure but with nothing to show for it, the former Celtic star decided to take matters into his own hands, and in some style too.
Midway into the West Brom half, down the left wing, Tierney knocked the ball past Darnell Furlong before turning him inside out, cutting inside, taking a few more touches before curling one past Sam Johnstone with his weaker right foot to open the scoring.
Tierney wasn’t done there, with his side 3-0 up, he thundered across a ball from the left wing to be met by Alexandre Lacazette’s right foot for his second of the evening, sending the Gunners 4-0 up. Tierney grabbed a goal, assist and clean sheet on arguably the best performance of his Arsenal career to date.
Kevin De Bruyne
With six first-team players out through a Covid outbreak, few expected Manchester City to tear through Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the way they did, with three first-half goals all they needed to control the game.
And with those players missing, it was down to playmaker Kevin De Bruyne to lead from the front, with the Belgian leading the line for City.
While others around him, namely Phil Foden, also impressed, it was the Belgian that everything still seemed to go through, and he made his quality tell against his former side.
Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring with a lovely strike, but De Bruyne helped to double their lead after his precise low cross was turned home by Foden just 20 minutes into the match.
If the game wasn’t over then, it was over by the 34th minute as provider turned scorer, with De Bruyne getting his name on the scoresheet. A poor pass from Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante allowed Raheem Sterling to break.
While the English winger couldn’t find the back of the net, his shot came back off the post to fall at the Belgian’s feet, allowing him one touch to set himself before slotting it into the bottom right corner.
When the defending Premier League champions come to town, it’s going to take something pretty impressive to stop their front three from getting on the scoresheet.
And that’s exactly what happened at St. Mary’s. Not only did their front three fail to score, but the Saints put together a defensive masterclass, without their first-choice goalkeeper and centre back, to seal three points.
An early Danny Ings goal gave Southampton the lead they needed to sit back with something to hold onto, and their defence held on for dear life, led by Kyle Walker-Peters.
The usually marauding right back was everywhere, defending like his career depended on it rather than just the three points. But he wasn’t only defensively sound, he provided the Saints with an outlet when they could grab a chance to breathe after Liverpool’s attacks.
To keep Sadio Mane quiet is an impressive feat, so therefore we think the young right-back deserves the praise for the Saints win here.
There are plenty more we could have gone on to list, with Harry Kane running Son close in our vote, as well as Vicente Guaita and Eberechi Eze for Crystal Palace. Lacazette’s double shouldn’t go unnoticed too, plus James Maddison ran the Leicester show against Newcastle.
But which of our four contenders will get the nod from you? Cast your vote in our Twitter poll.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.