VAVEL's Matchweek Six Premier League Awards
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

After every Premier League matchday of the 2020/21 season, VAVEL will reveal its picks for best player, performance, manager and goal of the week.

The latest round of fixtures saw the demise of the league's two remaining unbeaten records. First, Aston Villa were taken apart on home soil by Leeds United and then Southampton proved too strong for Everton

Liverpool moved joint top with their hard-fought victory against Sheffield United, while Manchester City and Arsenal both dropped points. 

The biggest fixture of the weekend failed to ignite as Chelsea and Manchester United played out a forgettable goalless draw on Saturday evening.

Player of the week - Patrick Bamford

Before this season, Patrick Bamford had one goal in 27 Premier League appearances. The man who had scored 61 goals in the second tier appeared ill-equipped for the first. We've seen countless strikers consigned to that purgatorial position. 

But after an explosive start to the campaign, Bamford is beginning to transform his reputation. He has scored six goals in his first six matches, having doubled his tally with a sublime hat-trick at Villa Park on Friday night.

The first was a standard case of 'right place, right time' but there was nothing straightforward about the two that followed. Indeed, his second strike made him a contender for another of our awards - goal of the week. He received Mateusz Klich's pass outside the penalty area, swivelled into position and proceeded to pitch the ball into the top right corner with an almost casual side-footed effort that left Emi Martinez a spectator.

And the masterclass was fittingly completed 15 minutes from time as he steered an effort into the opposite corner with four claret and blue shirts in close company. His confidence was clearly at an all-time high.

This treble, Leeds' first since the days of Mark Viduka, is the finest you are likely to see all season.

It is tempting to credit Marcelo Bielsa for at last 'extracting the best' from Bamford. But perhaps that would do the Englishman a disservice.

"Everything Bamford gets, he gets because he deserves it, not because I have any sympathy for him," the manager says, as quoted by The Athletic.

"From my point of view he’s a player with a lot of qualities. If he continues to improve his efficiency he’ll receive greater plaudits."

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Performance of the week - Leeds United

On a weekend where the extraordinary 20/21 season began to show signs of settling down, it was Leeds who preserved the fireworks.

This was a Villa side who had defended exceptionally well amid the chaos elsewhere and who had at their disposal the attacking quality to humiliate the Premier League champions. 

And with skipper Liam Cooper and England international Kalvin Phillips injured, Leeds were without two crucial cogs of the Bielsa machine. 

It would take some vital interventions to keep Villa at bay. Filling at centre-half, Luke Ayling cleared a Jack Grealish effort from beneath the crossbar, while Illan Meslier was in fine form, thwarting Grealish at the end of a dazzling run before stretching to tip over an Ezri Konsa volley.

But, going the other way, they overwhelmed Dean Smith's 100 percent-ers. Charging forward in numbers, as ever, they ran riot with an air of continental quality. It was one of their most impressive performances under this manager.

Leeds sit sixth in the table with an excellent 10-point return. Already, they are one of the most feared sides in the division. 

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Manager of the week - Marcelo Bielsa

Though for the sake of variety Ralph Hassenhuttl was considered, realistically Bielsa must complete the clean sweep.

A 21st-minute tactical substitution epitomised his bravery, his disregard for strategic convention. Yes, Pascal Strujik had been booked, but still most managers would have trusted him to operate with the appropriate caution. Nonetheless, Bielsa's decision paid off, with replacement Jamie Shackleton producing a fantastic performance. The manager had detected the need for more 'agility and mobility' in midfield and he got it.

More generally, and most impressively, there has been no visible transition period at Elland Road. Perhaps this owes itself to Bielsa's notoriously furious training ground routine. Stylistically, the step-up has appeared almost seamless, with Leeds putting together a number of rapid, incisive moves each game.

It's difficult to dispute the argument that Bielsa and his team are the most exciting Premier League arrivals in recent memory. 

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Goal of the week - Tom Cairney

It counted for little in the end, arriving as it did deep into stoppage time, but this 25-yard, precise piledriver still deserves recognition.

A shame that both Cairney and his Fulham team had little cause to celebrate.

 

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