VAVEL's Matchweek 11 Premier League Awards
(Photo by John Powell/ 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.

Premier League football has been synonymous with soulless showings for the large part of 2020. Not too dissimilar to the rest of the world, sporting cathedrals have been bereft of fans. 

For the first time since March, fans returned to stadiums across match week eleven, and for many, it was a day they will never forget. 

Burnley continued their quest for valuable points as they held out for a 1-1 draw at home to Everton, while West Ham supporters saw their side crumble to a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United. Chelsea kept the pressure on Tottenham Hotspur with an impressive showing at home to Leeds United. 

Meanwhile, a five-star display from Crystal Palace and Liverpool took the crown for best team performances of the week. A rare Christian Benteke double secured the Eagles' biggest ever away win in the English top division.

Harry Kane continued his scintillating scoring record against Arsenal, becoming the North London derby's all-time top goalscorer, also notching his 250th career goal and rounding up an exciting round of fixtures in the process. 

  • Player of the week - Wilfried Zaha

Not only did this weekend see the return of football with fans, but also a Crystal Palace side reinstated to winning ways via an instrumental performance from Wilfried Zaha

For years, it has been common knowledge that the 28-year-old Ivorian can become among the league's best players, and the mauling he gave to West Brom on Sunday was his magnum opus. 

Operating alongside Benteke in a role that allowed the Palace superstar to roam from his position suited Zaha, leading to an omnipotent display.

His presence in pockets of space across the Palace frontline was felt at The Hawthorns, complemented by his linkup with Eberechi Eze's propulsive advancements and Benteke's aerial prowess.

Zaha's early cross on the right flank found its way to Darnell Furlong, who inadvertently struck the ball into his side's net, confirming to Roy Hodgson how pivotal his main man is for the Eagles going forward.

The Wilfried Zaha spectacle didn't stop there as, just inside the second half, he doubled the Eagles' tally. He picked the ball up from a tight angle on the left side of the box and caressed the ball into the top right corner of Sam Johnstone's goal. 

In the latter stages of the affair, Eberechi Eze carved out another opportunity for him, and the Ivorian calmly slotted home for his second of the game and his seventh of the season. 

Palace's main man has now scored more goals this season than he did in the entirety of the last campaign. Clinical. 

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  • Performance of the week - Liverpool

Liverpool were in cruise control at a floodlit Anfield on Sunday night as they welcomed a Wolverhampton Wanderers side who were without their 'Lobo Mexicano,' Raul Jimenez.

With Alisson Becker sidelined again, it looked set to be a difficult contest for the Reds and their makeshift defence, but this wasn't to be the case. The young goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher has established himself as Liverpool's new number two with back-to-back clean sheets in European and domestic competition. 

Joel Matip had another excellent performance in the red shirt, scoring a goal at the Kop end, much to the delight of his fans. On the other side of the defence, Fabinho continued to show his intelligence to read the game and thwart Wolves attacks while Andy Robertson held a high line and kept Adama Traore quiet.

It was midfield where Jurgen Klopp and his side won the game. Gini Wijnaldum was nothing short of sensational, and his scorcher of a goal provided sufficient evidence of that. 

A special mention has to go to Mo Salah; it wouldn't be a game at Anfield without the Egyptian influencing the game. Sunday saw the talisman score and assist a goal in the same Premier League game for the 17th time since his arrival to Merseyside; this is five times more than any other player (Son Heung-min, 12)

Klopp waxed lyrical about his side's dominant display, as he hailed it a "perfect night." 

"With the fans of course it’s different. We played a super game against Arsenal, we played a top game at Chelsea. We played a few really good games already this season. But tonight we could only play this one game and that was a top performance against a really, really good side who couldn’t really get in the game tonight," he explained to liverpoolfc.com.

"I think that was first and foremost because of the way my boys played. It was really difficult for us tonight. It was a really, really good, high-level performance.

"I don’t have a favourite moment on the pitch because the game was too good for that. You prepare for Wolves, which is difficult anyway, and you don’t know which system they will play.

"You see the line-up and we still don’t know which system they will play because Dendoncker usually played against us, I think in the last game, in the last line, [but] today he played in midfield. We are not too detail-obsessed, but we are in the details. 

"You think, ‘OK, what can I tell the players? Be prepared for five in the back?’ and then there is four in the back and stuff like this. Not too many things change for us, but a few things changed actually, so the boys adapted just exceptionally well and used our formation in a really good manner, played in the space we had to play – that’s what I enjoyed the most.

"[There were] plenty of sensational individual performances, from the young boys it was really great. Neco Williams, we only took off because obviously the plan of Wolves was to bring Traore on the left wing and maybe Neco makes one more foul and then maybe he gets the second yellow and stuff like this. 

"That was the only reason; he played really, really good. Sadio had a few moments where he controlled which I still don’t understand how he can do that, these kind of things. A lot of good performances and that’s why you can win a football game."

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  • Manager of the week - Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho was at his machiavellian best when Arsenal took the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend. A vintage, counter-attacking strategy left their bitter North London rivals in the dirt.

Only Arsene Wenger has won more London derbies than Mourinho. The Spurs manager's win rate of 64% (40 wins in 63 games) is the best of any of the seventeen managers to manage in at least twenty in the Premier League. 

Two goals in the first half, produced by the Premier League's best partnership Heung-min Son and Harry Kane, proved to be enough to see Spurs triumph in the 202nd edition of the North London Derby. 

Arsenal failed to make amends for their early capitulation, despite possessing 70% of the ball and having eleven shots to Spurs' five. Vintage Mourinho made a return in the capital, and his management masterclass piloted the white side of London to the top spot once again. 

The Champions League-winning tactician has urged his Spurs squad to drop their niceness and "be more ruthless"; they achieved just that against an Arsenal side that finds themselves only five points above the dropzone. 

Mourinho has never failed to win a trophy in his second season in charge of a new club and, if his game management remains intact, his team's performances warrant just that this time out.

There was a 'clear and obvious' gulf in class between the two sides on Sunday. Mourinho has well and truly built on Mauricio Pochettino's foundations and moulded a team characterised by grit and determination.

Pierre Emile Hojberg has vindicated himself as a valuable midfield asset, Kane has become not only a world-class striker but a complete footballer, Eric Dier has evolved into a well-equipped centre-half. And this is all thanks to Jose Mourinho. 

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  • Goal of the week - Heung-min Son

To rub salt in Arsenal's gaping wounds, Spurs make the VAVEL awards on two accounts this match week. Son's speculative shot from far out took the crown for the best goal, and rightly so.

Spurs fans will not be forgetting this one for a while...

 

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