The first edition of midweek football in this fledgling season did not disappoint. While Matchweek 5 may not have been as goal-heavy as it has been in recent weeks, what it lacked in goals made up for in the drama with Liverpool’s 98th-minute winner against Newcastle on Wednesday night standing out as the highlight of the season so far.
Other highlights include West Ham’s London derby with Tottenham, Southampton delivering another early-season blow to Chelsea with a stunning victory, and Erling Haaland proving again what a ridiculously good goalscorer he is with a second hat-trick in four days.
From explosively brilliant to understated efficiency, here are our final picks for the Premier League stars of the week.
Stars of the Week: Matchweek 5
Goalkeeper: Neto (Bournemouth)
The beginnings were difficult for Bournemouth. After being at the end of a record 9-0 humiliation over the weekend that resulted in the first management sacking of the season, the Cherries managed to steady the ship a bit in the home clash of Wednesday night with Wolves, securing a 0-0 draw.
Among the changes is the debut of Brazilian goalkeeper Neto, who put in a solid performance in his first Premier League appearance. The former Barcelona man made three saves throughout the game, including a fantastic one-on-one save from Wolves striker Raul Jimenez that looked certain to end in a goal.
It wasn’t the most Hollywood goalkeeping display of all time, but if it helps propel Bournemouth towards recovery, it could well prove to be one of the most important.
Defender: John Stones (Manchester City)
You always thought there would be goals in Manchester City’s home draw with newly-promoted Nottingham Forest and those assumptions were clearly proven with City as 6-0 winners.
While all the attention of the match was understandably on goalscorers Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez, City defender John Stones also had a great night at the back. Having steadily increased his influence over the last two games, Stones produced a Rolls Royce of performance against Forest, finishing the game with 96% passing accuracy and winning all three duels he played.
The England centre-back even contributed at the other end of the field, assisting Haaland’s hat-trick with a fine header shortly after his own goal was ruled out for offside.
Back in the team and back in shape.
Midfielder: Tomas Soucek (West Ham United)
West Ham’s stuttering start to the season has been well documented, but a draw coupled with an encouraging performance against top-flight Tottenham Hotspur was the latest sign the Hammers are starting to get back on track.
The home side were one goal short and in a difficult half-time position, but put in an inspired performance in the second half, with midfielder Tomas Soucek at the heart of it. Ten minutes into the second half, the Czech international fired one of his trademark bursts from midfield to fire a strike past Hugo Lloris, after good work from Michail Antonio.
Along with his goal, Soucek also had a productive night in midfield, making two blocks, two interceptions and four tackles.
Attacker: Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Another game played, another goal record broken by Erling Haaland.
As we learned on Saturday, where there are goals there is Haaland, and the new striker’s start to life in the Premier League accelerated against a Forest side who simply couldn’t live with him . The Norwegian superstar hit a cross off the half-volley after just ten minutes to put City ahead, and soon after he scored a tap-in with his right foot to double the advantage.
A close-range header on 38 minutes wrapped up a perfect hat-trick as well as three points for City, with Haaland becoming the first player to score back-to-back Premier League hat-tricks in nearly five years.
Who can stop it?
Coach: Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton)
Southampton’s first four games of the season were just beginning to bring quiet optimism to St Mary’s, and that feeling was heightened tenfold after a fantastic win over Chelsea on Tuesday night.
After leading his team to a whopping three-pointer, Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is well deserving of the applause he is receiving. Chelsea may not have been great so far this season, but Southampton’s contrast between this game and the same game last season, which they lost 6-0, is remarkable. A busy transfer window has led to an influx of exciting young players who fit Hasenhuttl’s ideals, and it’s these youngsters like Romeo Lavia and Armel Bella-Kotchap who have been some of the best players on the pitch against the Blues.
They have their ups and downs, but this lively, fresh-looking team looks like it could go somewhere under Hasenhuttl.