Oh var. Can’t we go a week without some kind of refereeing controversy?
VAR has attracted a considerable level of heat and attention since its introduction to the Premier League three seasons ago, but it’s hard to remember a Matchweek with as many VAR-induced talking points as this one. In one weekend we’ve seen West Ham, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion all have goals scored with varying degrees of controversy, and the focus is now very much on that system and how its use can be improved by those charging it.
Apart from those incidents, however, there was some brilliant football played over the weekend, with the likes of Brighton, Brentford and Bournemouth all putting up stunning performances leading to memorable wins.
Here are the latest Premier League stars of the week
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (Everton)
The first Merseyside derby of this season was confusing; despite being loaded with chances, neither Everton nor Liverpool could convert any of their opportunities, with the match ending scoreless.
The result largely comes down to the performances of both goalkeepers, and while Alisson shone, his counterpart Jordan Pickford was even better. The Everton number 1 made eight saves throughout the game, including a brilliant spike off the bar from Darwin Nunez’s volley and a backlash from Roberto Firmino’s effort in the box.
A big point for Everton and a great performance for Pickford to build on.
Defender: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea)
Chelsea’s shaky start to the season threatened to descend into further chaos against London rivals West Ham on Saturday, fears that came to fruition when Michail Antonio put the Hammers 1-0 down on the goal line.
Of all the people who could have saved Chelsea, few would have expected Ben Chilwell to make such a telling contribution after being substituted on the pitch in the 70th minute. The left winger made a quick impact with a perfect finish just minutes after being substituted, and with the clock approaching 90 his brilliant cross was converted by Kai Havertz to give Chelsea a lead they wouldn’t give up .
The late VAR controversy will no doubt be front and center in the headlines, but that shouldn’t take away from a breakthrough performance from Ben Chilwell.
Midfielder: Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion)
Brighton and Hove Albion may have lost their league unbeaten streak last week at the hands of Fulham, but the Seagulls proved that result was just a blow, bouncing back with a thrilling 5-2 win over Leicester City.
Pascal Gross has been a star in Brighton’s midfield so far this season, but that victory was entirely down to team-mate Alexis Mac Allister. The Argentine attacking midfielder scored a candidate of the season goal early in the second half, only to have him controversially sent off. Like all good players though, Mac Allister carried on, confidently converting a penalty after great work from Leandro Trossard, and firing home a fantastic free-kick just from the death to cap off a sparkling performance.
Just another gem unearthed by Brighton’s brilliantly run scouting network.
Forward: Ivan Toney (Brentford)
A three-game winless streak came to an abrupt end for Brentford in matchweek six, with the west London side returning to form with their own 5-2 win over Leeds United.
As has so often been the case since Brentford’s promotion in 2021, Ivan Toney was the star of the show for the Bees. The striker won then calmly sent a penalty after half an hour to open the scoring, and fired home a postage stamp free-kick just before half-time to double his side’s lead .
After finding himself with the ball in midfield and an empty net in front of him in the second half, Toney showed icy composure to take a few touches and score home a finish that would seal his second round of the hat in the Premier League.
Calls for him to have a chance with England are only growing – could a call-up be imminent?
Coach: Gary O’Neil (Bournemouth)
What a difference a single week can make.
After enduring a notoriously tough run of encounters at the start of the season that culminated in a 9-0 humiliation at Liverpool just over a week ago, caretaker manager Gary O’Neil got Bournemouth back to form after an incredible comeback win over Nottingham. Forest.
After losing 2-0 to the hosts it would have been easy for Bournemouth to fold, especially given their bruising start to the season, but O’Neil’s side stayed in the competition and, after some clever substitutions , climbed up. back in the game. Substitute winner Jaiden Anthony following a Forest error at the back underlined both Bournemouth’s relentless and never-saying attitude to the game, as well than O’Neil’s clever management.
Suddenly, things aren’t so bad for the Cherries.