Premier League player – Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Never in doubt. When Romelu Lukaku has scored a hat-trick and still doesn’t get the nod, you know the winner must have played well. There is room in my heart for two.
Football League player – Danny Mayor (Bury)
After Nottingham Forest smash ‘n’ grabbed Aston Villa to the moon and back, the run of picking our own players is over. Instead I’ve gone for Mayor, who scored two belting goals to give Bury victory over Shrewsbury. Now 25, and having struggled to make the step up when joining Sheffield Wednesday in 2012, Mayor is showing the kind of form that has attracted Championship interest.
Fun fact: Mayor apparently joined Preston as a child because he had been given a free bottle of milk and a season ticket to the club for turning up to school.
European player – Francesco Totti (Roma)
Two weeks before his 40th birthday, Totti was brought on at half-time with Roma 2-1 down to Sampdoria. Forty-five minutes later, Totti had assisted Edin Dzeko’s equaliser and scored a last-minute penalty to hand his side victory. He’s now scored in every league season since 1994/95.
With five goals from his last eight shots on target in Serie A, Luciano Spalletti is already discussing another extension to Totti’s contract. “I’ve never seen him train like now,” Spalletti said. “He can also play more depending on what game it is. You can manage him and play him more because last year he showed he deserves to play more.”
Honourable mention to Celtic’s Moussa Dembele for being generally brilliant and Joel Pohjanpalo for scoring a 15-minute hat-trick for Bayer Leverkusen.
Best goal – Heung-Min Son (Tottenham)
Honourable mentions to Adam Lallana, Callum Wilson and Laurent Koscielny, but all the love goes to Son for the way he swept the ball into the top corner with a technique that we could only dream of mimicking. Effortless excellence; the bastard.
Best save – Mark Howard (Bolton Wanderers)
Not Howard’s only save of the game, but by far the best. When you tip a penalty onto the bar like this, you deserve the ball to land back in your hands.
Best pass – Dimitri Payet (West Ham)
It might have inspired a Watford comeback according to Troy Deeney, but we can’t agree with him that Payet’s pass was “disrespectful”. This was not just skill for its own sake, but the most efficient way of achieving the best result. And it was beautiful.
Best performance – Manchester City’s first half
Tottenham were excellent against Stoke, but Mark Hughes’ side did roll over to have their tummies tickled. Liverpool’s attacking prowess was far too strong for the defending Premier League champions, but there could only be one winner. In those first 40 minutes at Old Trafford, it felt like we were watching a new dominance being asserted.
Best tactical move – Alan Pardew (Crystal Palace)
James McArthur playing in an advanced midfield role? And Jason Puncheon behind him? Away from home? And it worked? Oh Chunky, you glorious fruit-smelling b*stard, how you are treating us.
Worst player – Ross Barkley (Everton)
Rotten. I mean properly rotten; Barkley was taken off at half-time against perhaps the worst team in the Premier League.
As Matt Stead detailed here, Barkley did not have a single shot, created a solitary goalscoring opportunity, completed 25 passes at an accuracy of just 80%, made one tackle, lost possession 11 times, and did not win it back once. Sexy.
Worst tactical move – Jose Mourinho (Manchester United)
Starting Jesse Lingard straight after injury. Giving Henrikh Mkhitaryan his first start in such a big game. Playing Paul Pogba in a two-man midfield, thus leaving Marouane Fellaini stranded. Leaving Wayne Rooney on for 90 minutes. Take your pick.
PR quick win – Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
— Scot Munroe (@scot_munroe) September 10, 2016
It’s mad to think that, under Manuel Pellegrini, away fans were often left ignored at the end of matches.
Dick move – West Ham fans
You’re literally fighting amongst yourselves, lads. It’s as stupid as it sounds.
Worst punditry – John Hartson on Oliver Burke
“He’s gone over to Germany and I can’t understand that, to be honest with you. I think that stinks of agents more than anything else,” said Hartson. “How much German football do we all see? We see highlights of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and that’s about it.”
“The Premier League is the place to be. I thought that was the next step for him. He’s gone to Leipzig, but what about a Burnley or a Sunderland or a West Brom? It’s only my opinion, but I think he is good enough for the Premier League. I think the Premier League would have tested him and I think that would have probably suited Gordon Strachan too. He could have had a better look at him.”
And you wonder why our European cousins consider English football’s progress hampered by our own arrogance.
“And the award for Best Actor goes to…”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 13, 2016
Total PL hat-tricks: Bale + Ronaldo = Lukaku
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) September 12, 2016
Fight me if you’re not impressed.
The haunted look of a man who is slowly realising quite what he's done. pic.twitter.com/1vMQSJ9nVc
— Football365 (@F365) September 13, 2016
Compiler of the week – Daniel Storey