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Premier League - Gameweek 8 Awards

Game of the Round – West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace

 

Despite being just London’s 19th biggest derby, the Saturday night spectacular absolutely popped. Some stupendous passing patterns, chances aplenty, heroic goalkeeping and late VAR-drama combined to make this a truly riveting piece of theatre, more West End than East. 

 

The Hammers were expected to continue their stonking start to the campaign that saw them go into the weekend in fifth place. Their 1-0 lead came from an exquisite sequence of passes that would have made Barcelona proud.

 

They were only denied from scoring more by the immense reflexes of Eagles stopper Vicente Guaita. Patrick van Aanholt levelled from the penalty spot on the hour mark to set up a thrilling final 30 minutes which had your arse firmly glued to the edge of your seat.

 

When Jordan Ayew’s goal through the keeper’s legs two minutes from time was ruled offside, VAR was summoned to take a closer look. The photo-finish that ensued must have had poor old uncle Roy and his red-eyed counterpart Pellegrini, the two oldest managers in the division, fearing their tickers could be about to give out. After an excruciating delay, the goal was chalked on and Palace and the travelling fans could finally go berserk.

 

 

Hero of the Round – Aaron Connolly

 

It must be a terribly bitter pill for Newcastle’s Matty Longstaff not to get this accolade after bagging the winner on his debut against Man United. You’d have to do something pretty darn special to outdo that…like say scoring not one but two on your full Premier League debut in a 3-0 victory against Spurs just as Brighton’s Irish teenager did?

 

His two goals either side of the interval was a composite masterclass, blending killer poachers instincts and a nose for scoring that will strike fear into opponents' hearts. His sumptuous second goal was a joy to behold, controlling the ball with his head before dribbling thoughtfully into the area and caressing a beautiful curling shot into the corner.

 

Tottenham’s capitulation grabbed all the headlines but the Irish U.21 international’s heroic fairy tale is worthy of its very own Marvel comic book movie. Just listen to what he had to say afterwards.

 

 

Goal of the Round – Douglas Luiz

 

The tastiest strike of the entire weekend was also probably the most unimportant. The Brazillian’s long-range effort in the 83rd minute which put Aston Villa five goals to the good against Norwich helped to secure the Villains biggest Premier League win since April 2013.

 

His first touch to control the ball with his studs and roll it out of his feet oozed class and the curling right-footed effort from outside the box was an absolute beaut.

 

 

Chump of the Round - Declan Rice

 

You can forget about the youngster’s contribution to West Ham’s goal. Any credit earnd by that incisive pass was swiftly withdrawn after committing a handball in his own penalty box that would have made Maradona sit up straight.

 

As the Hammers threw bodies back to protect their narrow one-goal lead, the least popular lad in Dublin must have misunderstood the instructions, throwing up his arms in some utterly outlandish 'defending' as if playing beach volleyball. The penalty was more stone-cold than Steve Austin. Queue Palace’s equaliser followed by their eventual VAR-induced winner.

 

Harry Corton

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Cover image - PA