We’re in Week 6 of the Premier League season, and for the first time all year, it feels like we’re coming back to Earth.
Chelsea beat Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, meaning Arsene Wenger still has yet to beat Jose Mourinho in a competitive match. Manchester City were stunned at home by West Ham, who have climbed all the way to fifth in the table, and behind a brilliant performance by a young French international, United took down Southampton. Tottenham won, Liverpool drew, and Bournemouth continues to surprise us all.
Here are three of the best performances from an exciting weekend of Premier League soccer.
Kurt Zouma, Center Back, Chelsea F.C.
While the Chelsea defense has hardly been impressive this season, against Arsenal they returned to form with captain John Terry on the bench and young Frenchman Kurt Zouma in the starting eleven. Zouma is known for his incredible aerial ability, and he showed it on Saturday, not just in his own half, but on the offensive end as well.
Zouma scored the go ahead goal for the Blues in the 53rd minute off a Cesc Fabregas free kick, which would be all Chelsea needed to secure a victory over their London rivals. While Eden Hazard would score later in the game, Zouma’s goal set the tone for Chelsea, and with Arsenal down to nine men after two red cards, Mourinho’s men were able to easily hold on to victory.
Zouma completed 81 percent of his passes against Arsenal and was a rock on the defensive end, a quality that should earn him many more chances as Mourinho’s first choice center back.
Matt Ritchie, Midfielder, AFC Bournemouth
While Callum Wilson has been the story of the Cherries’ inaugural Premier League season, Matt Ritchie is arguably their best player. After Wilson scored his fifth goal in six Premier League games just five minutes into Bournemouth’s match with Sunderland, Ritchie emerged from his right back position to score arguably, the goal of the season thus far in the Premier League.
While Ritchie normally plays further up the field, he settled in at right back against Sunderland, and was able to contribute to the attacking play, while simultaneously keeping a clean sheet against the Black Cats.
If Eddie Howe and his Bournemouth team can somehow avoid relegation this season, it will be arguably the best story in Premier League history, and there is little doubt that players like Wilson and Ritchie will play a huge role if the Cherries can stay up.
Anthony Martial, Striker, Manchester United
Once lauded as an overpriced teenager, Anthony Martial appears to be worth every penny of his $56 million transfer fee after his brace against Sunderland. Martial has been a dynamic option in the attacking third for United, something they have sorely lacked with Wayne Rooney’s age and injuries.
As Martial continues to build his rapport with young winger Memphis Depay, it’s becoming more and more clear they incredible attacking tandem that Louis van Gaal has put together at Old Trafford. United plan on challenging for the title this season and the addition of Martial and his current form puts Man U squarely back in the title discussions.
This young, French striker has a very bright international future, and it will be thrilling to watch him develop with the Premier League’s winningest side.