After a record-breaking gameweek 23 of Premier League action, gameweek 24 had a lot to live up to.
It didn’t quite reach the same lofty heights of that free-scoring weekend, but there was plenty of drama and enough thrills to go around – Liverpool survived a scare against Burnley, Arsenal absolutely walloped West Ham United, and Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur all secured important late wins.
Here are 90min’s five best players from gameweek 24, ranked.
The festive period was a rather testing one for Newcastle, but the Magpies have quietly gone about their business in a professional manner so far in 2024.
Since their humbling defeat to Liverpool on New Year’s Day, Eddie Howe’s men have won four of six games across all competitions, with their only defeat coming in stoppage time against Manchester City. That’s hardly catastrophic, is it?
On Saturday, Bruno Guimaraes scored twice to propel Newcastle to a 3-2 triumph at Nottingham Forest, stepping up and providing the goods just when his side needed him.
If Guimaraes is to stay at Newcastle in the long-term, the club should definitely look at sourcing another defensive midfielder – he’s just too good on the ball to have patrolling the centre circle.
The writing appeared to be on the wall for Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino when his side went into half-time 1-0 down at Crystal Palace and having registered one measly shot to that point.
But the Blues came out fighting at Selhurst Park and earned a memorable comeback win largely thanks to the exploits of former Eagle Conor Gallagher.
The England midfielder, who Pochettino has fought to keep in his ranks amid transfer interest from Tottenham, brought Chelsea level with a powerful drive just after the break and then put them ahead with 91 minutes on the clock.
Those were Gallagher’s first two Premier League goals of the season, but they had been in the post for a while now and he saved them for an opportune time.
For 71 minutes, Everton appeared to have sussed Manchester City.
The treble-winners had been reduced to a series of half-chances and most of their shots either trickled wide or were blocked.
That added just a little bit more spice to Erling Haaland’s phenomenal opening goal, lashing in a volley with his weaker right foot and scoring with his side’s first shot on target.
He then made mincemeat of the impressive Jarrad Branthwaite to secure his brace, bowling over the young defender before rolling the ball beyond Jordan Pickford.
With such a comprehensive 6-0 win at West Ham to boast, Arsenal could easily have registered all five players on this list. But we’re trying to be fair to everyone here, so they’ll have to settle for just the top two this week.
Coming in second place is Bukayo Saka, whose endeavour and energy allowed the floodgates to open at London Stadium.
The winger was desperate to score and avenge his missed penalty from last season’s fixture, earning the chance to exorcise those demons when he was hauled down by Alphonse Areola. He made no mistake from 12 yards on this occasion.
Arsenal went into the break 4-0 up and were able to take their foot off the accelerator in the second half, but Saka was still able to pop up with a more trademark finish, plonking himself between Nayef Aguerd and Emerson Palmieri before beating Areola at his near post.
West Ham had already chalked up two wins against Arsenal this season by the time they met again at the weekend, with former Hammer Declan Rice barely having a say in either of those encounters.
All that changed on a seismic Sunday in east London.
The Gunners have reigned supreme from set pieces this season, and Rice’s expert delivery yielded assists for two of their opening three goals.
It was fitting that Rice himself rounded off the scoring at the London Stadium with an effort from distance containing so much venom it left Saka speechless (see above for reference).
Talk about biting the hand that used to feed you. Even Football Manager wouldn’t have been this harsh on West Ham.
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