The Premier League Awards: Austin, Alli & Mertesacker

This weekend's top Premier League stories came from the instantly impactful Austin, Alli's worldie, and a badly timed case of the Mertesackers.

by Jim Weeks
Jan 25 2016, 1:17pm

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This article originally appeared on VICE Sports UK.

Charlie Austin, for making Ronald Koeman feel very clever

Having briefly looked like relegation dark horses, Southampton have sorted their shit out big style over the past month. Boxing Day's 4-0 tonking of Arsenal showed there was something worth salvaging at St Mary's, and despite two subsequent defeats they have since embarked on a three-match winning streak.

Saturday's 1-0 triumph over Manchester United will have been the sweetest of those for boss Ronald Koeman. Firstly, he'll have relished a chance to get one over on fellow countryman Louis van Gaal; secondly, who doesn't enjoy winning at Old Trafford, apart perhaps from Louis van Gaal?

And, most importantly for Koeman's ego, the win came courtesy of a goal from new signing and substitute Charlie Austin. Introduced on 79 minutes, Austin headed past David de Gea less than 10 minutes later to seal the game for the Saints. Every manager loves the validation of a sub or a new signing finding the back of the net to win a big game – and Austin gave Koeman both.

They were looking over their shoulders before Christmas, bit now the Saints are just four points adrift of fifth-placed United. Adding Austin's proven goalscoring abilities to the squad will be crucial if they're to kick on even further.

Honourable Mention: David de Gea. Real Madrid have a transfer ban so he's locked into this drab nightmare for the foreseeable.

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Dele Alli, for services to sheer brilliance

Are we meant to write something about this? Really? You've seen it plenty of times already but it's an absolute guarantee that you're about to watch it again. Go on, get it done.

Dele Alli is 19 years old, he is English, and he does stuff like this without fear. It doesn't matter which club you support – just enjoy it.

Honourable Mention: Nacer Chadli, scorer of an excellent goal himself, albeit one overshadowed by Alli's purebred belter.

Per Mertesacker, for his valiant impression of a charging cow

Per Mertesacker is Arsenal's de facto captain. Technically Mikel Arteta is Arsene Wenger's representative on the pitch, but the Spaniard is so frequently injured (and arguably surplus to requirements) that it's more a ceremonial role. More often than not, the self-styled Big Fucking German wears the armband.

Except in yesterday defeat to Chelsea he did not, with Theo Walcott leading the Gunners out and then being given the armband to wear. He duly did so, albeit upside down, in celebration of his 10 years at the club.

Or perhaps there was another reason. Perhaps, in a moment of great foresight, they had foreseen Per lumbering towards the on-rushing Diego Costa with all the certainty of a cow charging towards a frozen lake. The result wasn't all that different. Mertesacker was the last man, and Mark Clattenburg had no option but to produce a red.

With Arsenal reduced to 10 men Chelsea quickly pounced and, despite a few attacking flurries, were never seriously tested. On a day when the North London side's title credentials took a serious hit, they really needed their Big Fucking Captain to pick them up. Unfortunately he was the one who helped to inflict the damage.

Honourable Mention: Diego Costa, for doing more of the good football thing and less of the being a horrible shit thing.

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