In Focus: The Premier League stars who lit up Matchday 15
Goals were in rich supply on Matchday 15, with a season-high 37 strikes coming across the weekend’s 10 games.
Leaders Arsenal ground out a precious win at Chelsea after seeing Manchester City leave it extremely late to edge past Fulham, meaning things remain tightly poised at the top.
And there were plenty of outstanding performances elsewhere — read on to see which five faces made it into LiveScore’s stars of the weekend.
Liverpool have not been the reliable force of old so far this season but there are still some things Reds fans can set their watches to — like Mohamed Salah delivering when the pressure is on.
The Egyptian has netted seven goals in five Champions League games, notched the winner against Manchester City last month and can now add Tottenham to his list of recent victims after bagging a brilliant brace in North London on Sunday.
His first strike saw him finish a flowing move that he had helped start, cleverly tucking a pass into Harvey Elliot on the halfway line before flying forward 50 yards to eventually drill a low drive past the helpless Hugo Lloris.
If the opener was the finish of a seasoned striker, the second had a large slice of the star quality Liverpool’s No11 has become synonymous with.
Capitalising on a wayward Eric Dier header, Salah needed just three devastating touches to double the lead.
In such situations, there remains nobody better in world football.
Unai Emery’s return to the Premier League could hardly have kicked off in better fashion as his Aston Villa side took apart Manchester United, with young Jacob Ramsey at the heart of their success.
Four-time Europa League winner Emery trusted the 21-year-old academy graduate with a creative licence in the Villans’ midfield and was generously rewarded with an assist and a goal in what was a virtuoso performance.
First, the England Under-21s star found acres of space between the lines to slot in Leon Bailey for the Villa opener before winning the free-kick that Lucas Digne whipped into the top corner less than five minutes later.
Though he was unfortunate to deflect Luke Shaw’s wayward shot into his own net on the stroke of half-time, the Brummie bounced back after the interval to hammer home a stunning third for his side from 16 yards.
While the Qatar World Cup is almost certain to come too soon, regular repeats of such performances will surely see Ramsey force his way into Gareth Southgate’s England plans very soon.
Someone who harbours more immediate hopes of an England call-up is James Maddison — and many would argue the Leicester midfielder’s recent form is deserving of a spot on the plane.
Maddison has not yet managed to add to his sole senior Three Lions cap earned in November 2019 but continued a stunning individual campaign at club level by laying on two assists as the Foxes downed Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park.
As well as teeing up Youri Tielemans for one of the season’s most spectacular strikes and sliding in Harvey Barnes for a late second, the 25-year-old also had time to crack the post himself with a fizzling effort.
With Southgate’s England squad announcement later this week, Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers said: "This boy is built for a World Cup. This boy can go into a 150,000-seater stadium and it doesn’t matter.
"He can take the ball, he’ll pass the ball, he’ll be creative. That’s his stage. Everyone has seen it and that’s why I keep getting questions on it."
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle continue to be one of the Premier League’s most reliable outfits with their latest 4-1 rout at Southampton enough to see the Magpies soar up to third in the table.
While their success has very much been a team effort, two names have stood out in recent weeks — the influential midfield performances of Bruno Guimaraes and the relentless scoring of Miguel Almiron.
It is the Paraguayan who takes the plaudits on this occasion, taking a recent hot streak to seven strikes in as many league outings with a typically determined driving run and cool finish.
Picking up a lay-off from Callum Wilson 35 yards from goal, Almiron kept running at a terrified Saints defence who were unable to halt his progress, duly allowing him to slot home the opener.
Occasionally a figure of ridicule in the early part of his spell on Tyneside, the 28-year-old is now rewarding Newcastle’s faith in spectacular fashion.
Leeds and Bournemouth played out the most exhilarating contest of the weekend — and it was home substitute Wilfried Gnonto who proved an unlikely difference-maker in the game’s closing stages.
Prior to a late cameo in the Whites’ win at Anfield, 19-year-old Gnonto had been restricted to EFL Trophy appearances this term despite having featured in all six of Italy’s Nations League clashes this year.
Jesse Marsch unleased the former FC Zurich forward at half-time on Saturday with the Cherries 2-1 up and when Dominic Solanke made it 3-1, his chances of making a telling impact looked slim.
However, Gnonto’s outstanding close control and terrifying pace was imperative to one of the season’s most sensational comebacks, most notably in the winning goal when his brilliant run and through ball allowed Crysencio Summerville to slot home.
It was a performance that made Premier League fans sit up and take notice. Gnonto now looks certain to be a more permanent feature in Leeds’ line-ups for the rest of the campaign.