Dan Burke·2 October 2023
Dan Burke·2 October 2023
It was a remarkable weekend in the Premier League with big shocks, loads of goals, and VAR’s most controversial outing yet.
And now it’s time to hand out our awards.
In the second half of last season, Ollie Watkins was one of the Premier League’s most prolific strikers, scoring 13 goals between Boxing Day and the end of May.
But the Aston Villa man took a little while to get going this term. He scored a hat-trick against Hibernian in the Europa Conference League but had to wait until last week’s win over Chelsea – the sixth game of the season – for his first league goal.
That strike appears to have opened the floodgates, because Watkins was on fire in Villa’s impressive 6-1 thrashing of Brighton, bagging his second hat-trick of the season and chipping in an assist for good measure.
The 27-year-old became the first Villa player to score two hat-tricks in the same season since Andy Gray in 1976/77. Take a bow, son.
Defenders step onto football pitches every day dreaming of firing a pearler into the top corner.
On Saturday, Crystal Palace centre-back Joachim Andersen lived that dream by scoring a beauty at Old Trafford to earn his side a huge victory.
A set-piece found its way to the Dane at the back of the penalty area and he caught it perfectly on the bounce with a shot which flew past goalkeeper André Onana and nestled into the top corner.
A great moment for defenders everywhere.
With just one point to their name prior to Saturday’s trip to Everton, a few people were wondering whether Luton Town were about to take Derby County’s record 2007/08 record for the lowest points tally in a Premier League season.
But after they were stunned by League One Exeter City in the EFL Cup last week, the Hatters bounced back superbly at Goodison Park to pick up their first ever Premier League victory, with goals from Tom Lockyer and Carlton Morris giving them a historic 2-1 win.
That puts Rob Edwards’s side on four points for the season, meaning they only need eight more to avoid matching Derby’s unwanted record of 11.
Another side on the receiving end of an EFL Cup upset last week were Wolves, and their form in the Premier League so far this season hadn’t exactly set the world alight either.
It seemed like there would only be one winner when league leaders Manchester City rocked up at Molineux on Saturday, with former Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes in tow.
But Nunes received a little taste of karmic justice as his old club pulled off an unexpected 2-1 win against the champions, with Hwang Hee-chan scoring what proved to be the winning goal.
City boss Pep Guardiola forgot Hwang’s name in the pre-match press conference, referring to the striker instead as “the Korean guy”. He won’t make that mistake again.
At the same stage last season, only five Premier League players had seen red. Yikes.
Two of those red cards were shown to Liverpool players in their 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Saturday, but that was far from the refereeing controversy the game will be remembered for.
Luis Díaz thought he’d put Liverpool 1-0 up in the first half when he converted following Mohamed Salah’s pass, only for the goal to be disallowed following a VAR check for offside.
However, replays showed that Díaz was clearly onside, and PGMOL, the body responsible for referees in the Premier League, admitted that the goal should have stood.
“The goal by Luis Díaz was disallowed by the on-field team of match officials. That was a clear and obvious factual error and should have resulted in the goal being awarded through VAR intervention, however, the VAR failed to intervene.
“PGMOL will conduct a full review into the circumstances which led to the error. PGMOL will immediately be contacting Liverpool at the conclusion of the fixture to acknowledge the error.”
Their apology is no good to Liverpool, who eventually lost 2-1 with a sickening Joël Matip 96th-minute own goal, and this incident has prompted the biggest inquest into VAR’s suitability and the standard of officiating yet.