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3 Stars of BPL Matchday 16

(Photo courtesy of AP)

Nearly half way through the Premier League season and we don’t seem any closer to a champion than we were at the beginning. That is, unless you’re a Leicester City fan. The Foxes remain in the No. 1 spot in the Premier League table after defeating defending champions Chelsea, who sit in 16th place, just one point off relegation.

Manchester City was able to secure a win against Swansea, while United fell to plucky Bournemouth. Tottenham Hotspur lost a shocker against Newcastle, while Arsenal notched yet another win against bottom of the table Aston Villa.

As always, the stars took center stage in the BPL, and here’s three of the best from this weekend.

Riyad Mahrez, Winger, Leicester City F.C.

While it seems like Mahrez finds his way into the three stars every week, he has arguably been the player of the season up to this point. With a goal and an assist against defending champions Chelsea, Mahrez now has 11 goals and seven assists on the season, the highest combined goal-assist ratio of any player in the Premier League.

Mahrez’s assist came in the first half against Chelsea, where he delicately placed a cross from the right side of the box onto the foot of Jamie Vardy, who slotted it past Thibault Courtois for the Leicester goal. His goal came on a brilliant piece of skill when he deftly maneuvered past Chelsea left back Cesar Azplicueta and rocketed home a shot in the top corner. It’s unlikely Mahrez will forget his performance against Chelsea, and Chelsea fans are even less likely to forget how the Algerian playmaker absolutely torched them.

Ayoze Perez, Striker, Newcastle F.C.

With two consecutive wins against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, Newcastle players are becoming a fixture in the three stars, with Georginio Wijnaldum making an appearance last week. Perez has been one of the lone bright spots for the Magpies this season, with four goals in 14 appearances for the club, though his goal this weekend is probably his most important.

As time wound down in the dying minutes of Newcastle’s matchup against the Spurs, it appeared to the Magpie faithful looking on at St. James’ Park that their side would earn a much-needed point against a top-four side, a very respectable result for a side many predicted to be in a relegation battle during preseason. However, Perez had other ideas.

He deftly slotted a ball near post in the 93rd minute past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to send the Newcastle faithful into pure ecstasy and secure the Magpies their first consecutive victory since November of last year. Newcastle fans are hopeful that these two wins over top-table clubs signal good things to come.

Junior Stanislas, Winger, AFC Bournemouth

If you score an olimpico against Manchester United, you’ll probably end up making the three stars. If you do it while playing for AFC Bournemouth, it’s an absolute guarantee. That’s exactly what happened to Stanislas against United, when he was able to tie up the game for the Cherries off a first half corner kick.

While Bournemouth have a small squad as a newly promoted side, and have suffered some of the worst injuries in the Premier League, they are surprisingly in contention to stay up next season. With consecutive victories against Chelsea and Manchester United, they have proven that they can keep pace with some of the top teams in England week in and week out. Cherries supporters have to be proud of the performance their side has put on this season.

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