Taiwo Awoniyi secures Forest’s survival, Bryan Mbeumo proves he can ste up in Ivan Toney’s absence and Aleksandar Mitrovic stars for Fulham… but who is No 1 in this week’s POWER RANKINGS?
- The Premier League’s penultimate weekend saw Man City crowned champions
- Forest secured their survival while Leeds, Everton and Leicester are all still at risk
- PREMIER LEAGUE PERMUTATIONS: Who needs what ahead of the final day?
Last weekend’s Premier League action saw some of the lingering questions in the division at last answered, with fates decided at both ends of the table.
Manchester City were at long last crowned champions for a third successive season, having reeled in Arsenal over the course of the last few months, with the Gunners falling to a 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
And there was drama at the bottom, too, with that victory putting Forest beyond the clutches of relegation and confirming their Premier League status for another season.
Leicester, Leeds and Everton, however will go into next week’s finale still with their fates to be decided, with the Foxes and Toffees securing draws, while Leeds lost 3-1 to West Ham.
With the penultimate weekend of top-flight action now completed, Mail Sport takes you through our most recent Power Rankings.
Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions for the third season in a row
Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest secured their survival with a 1-0 victory over Arsenal
Sam Allardyce’s Leeds are left with a must-win match against Tottenham on Sunday to secure their survival
Last week’s top 10
10. Taiwo Awoniyi
9. Curtis Jones
8. Eberechi Eze
7. Pervis Estupinan
6. Martin Odegaard
5. Callum Wilson
4. Ilkay Gundogan
3. Mohamed Salah
2. Erling Haaland
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
10. Ilkay Gundogan (down six)
Last week’s No 4, Ilkay Gundogan slides down the power rankings after failing to find the back of the net or offering an assist in Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Chelsea – largely because he didn’t play in the game.
And if anything, it was a compliment – the German midfielder has played more minutes this term than in any other campaign and has been crucial to their Treble prospects.
Gundogan will be playing an integral role in the Champions League and FA Cup finals – have no doubt about that. But for now, he has earned a game off.
Ilkay Gundogan did not play for Manchester City on Sunday but lifted the trophy at the Etihad
9. Eberechi Eze (down one)
Eberechi Eze leapt into eighth spot last time out with a brilliant brace against Bournemouth, but failed to find the back of the net this time, although he did provide a sumptuous assist for Odsonne Edouard.
The young midfielder – who is reportedly on Gareth Southgate’s mind for his upcoming England squad – picked up the ball outside his own box, jinked past the attempted tackle of Tom Cairney and carried it 50 yards up the field.
Eze then slid a perfectly weighted through ball for the French forward to latch onto, before Edouard slammed home from the left-hand side of the box.
Eberechi Eze once again starred in midfield for Crystal Palace and provided a stunning assist
8. Erling Haaland (down six)
In all the celebrations of Man City lifting their third successive crown, it was of course of secondary importance that Erling Haaland failed to find the back of the net.
He was only on the pitch for 16 minutes, mind, but by his standards he might at least have scored a brace in that time. He instead remains on 36 goals for the campaign in 34 matches.
Much like his skipper, Haaland will be vital in the four remaining games for City, and although he’s only (only!) on 52 goals for the season, Dixie Dean’s 63-goal season record is still perhaps not quite safe just yet.
Erling Haaland had to sit on the bench on Sunday before lifting the Premier League trophy
7. Trent Alexander-Arnold (down six)
Trent Alexander-Arnold was well worth his top spot last week, with a stunning strike and clean sheet, but tumbles down the order to seventh this time, having endured a fairly anonymous Saturday against Aston Villa.
He was found out of position for Ollie Watkins to charge through and win a penalty, although that is to be expected given he is trying to learn a completely new role in the middle of a Premier League run-in.
However, he was found lacking at the back post for Jacob Ramsey’s opener for Villa, half-heartedly shoving Tyrone Mings in the back despite the defender being marked by Ibrahima Konate, rather than checking his shoulder to see the youngster on hand to poke home.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defending at the back post was suspect for Aston Villa’s goal
6. Mohamed Salah (down three)
While Roberto Firmino stole the headlines in the Villa game with his emotional farewell, Mohamed Salah was the man on hand to assist his long-term partner up top.
The Egyptian remained lively as the Reds sought to chase down a much-needed point to keep their Champions League hopes alive, but put in a peach of a ball to tee that equaliser up.
When found on the right-hand side of the box late in the game, Salah sent in a superb cross past the face of the goal with the outside of that left boot of his, with Firmino on hand to slam home the goal that would trigger an outpouring of tears from many within the ground.
Mohamed Salah provided the all-important assist for Roberto Firmino’s dramatic equaliser
5. Jarrod Bowen (new entry)
Jarrod Bowen was subject of some headline-grabbing chants in midweek after West Ham booked their place in the Europa Conference League final in Prague, and was back in the limelight with a stunning performance against Leeds.
Having gone a goal down to the visitors, the England international showed great vision and composure to loft it over to the back post for Declan Rice to slam home the equaliser for the Hammers.
He then put the icing on the cake that was a brilliant day out with a cute finish of his own with the outside of his left boot across goal and into the bottom right corner, ensuring that he comes into that continental final in great form for David Moyes and Co.
Jarrod Bowen netted a goal and an assist on Saturday against Leeds in scintillating display
4. Aleksandar Mitrovic (new entry)
After a lengthy ban for pushing an official, Aleksandar Mitrovic made his return to Craven Cottage in typically bludgeoning fashion.
Having already spilled his own blood down his shirt early on in the game, the big Serbian striker played the majority of the match with tissue stuffed up his nose to stem the bleeding.
But it didn’t stop him dispatching a penalty with the no-nonsense aplomb we have come to expect from the 28-year-old, high and very hard to the keeper’s right, before thundering home the most Mitrovic of headers from a free-kick in the second half to make it 2-1 to Fulham.
You get the feeling that not even a brick wall would have stopped him reaching it in the air, and you’d perhaps fear for the wall’s well-being if it looked to stand in his way.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a penalty before a strong header in Fulham’s 2-2 draw with Palace
3. Bryan Mbeumo (new entry)
Cameroonian forward Bryan Mbeumo has often played second fiddle to Ivan Toney at Brentford, but in his absence Thomas Frank will be confident that the 23-year-old will more than pick up the slack.
Against Tottenham, the former Troyes star ran riot, facing a backline of Ben Davies and Clement Lenglet that looked fearful at his every touch of the ball.
His 12-minute brace in the second half stunned Spurs, Mbeumo twice coming in off the right wing to finish with his left foot inside the box from an angle, the first coming from the edge of the box, the second after having burnt Davies for pace in impressive fashion.
Bryan Mbeumo was superb against Spurs, showing he can pick up the slack without Ivan Toney
2. Evan Ferguson (new entry)
Evan Ferguson’s breakout season at the Amex Stadium continued on Sunday, after the Republic of Ireland’s latest starlet netted a brilliant brace against already relegated South Coast rivals Southampton.
The 18-year-old netted his fifth league goal of the campaign with a ferociously struck effort from inside the box that squirmed under Alex McCarthy due to the power behind it to get the Seagulls off to a flying start.
His sixth came after some good work by the ever-energetic Kaoru Mitoma on the left, with the Japanese international whipping it across the box for Ferguson – who timed his run to perfection – to send back to the far post first time to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
Mitrovic and Mbeumo both scored twice, but in a tight race for second spot, Ferguson wrestled the other two aside by virtue of his age, impressing in the most competitive league in the world having only turned 18 in October.
Evan Ferguson scored his fifth and sixth goals of the league on Sunday at just 18 years of age
1. Taiwo Awoniyi (up nine)
And now we come to the coveted top spot, and there is nobody else deserving but Nottingham Forest’s hero – and Arsenal’s new nemesis – Taiwo Awoniyi.
Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal against Arsenal had ramifications at both ends of the table on Saturday
The Nigerian front man scored the most important goal in The Tricky Trees’ recent history on Saturday to confirm their stay in the Premier League would go on for at least another year, deciding events at both ends of the table.
After Morgan Gibbs-White intercepted a stray pass on the halfway line, Awoniyi ran off him for almost half the length of the pitch, creating space for himself to Gabriel’s left and forcing him to commit his attentions to the English midfielder.
But after receiving the ball perhaps a touch later than he might have wanted, the striker maintained his composure to finish low and hard beneath the on-rushing duo of Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale to get the only goal of the game.
His nine goals – with five in his last three – may not sound like much, but they have won Forest 16 points this season, and have come against the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, and relegation rivals West Ham and Southampton in a hugely impressive maiden season in the Premier League for this week’s No 1.
Source: Read Full Article