We use the Opta Player Ratings to analyse the stats of the Premier League players of the week from Matchday 15.
For a quick primer on how the Opta Player Ratings are calculated, you can check our explainer here.
In short, the Opta Player Ratings take into account over 100 different metrics to provide an accurate measure of performance for every player over a single match, specific period or whole season. Those metrics power six subcomponents for each player – categories like shooting, passing and defending. Then, those subcomponents are combined to calculate a total score (from 20-100) according to a player’s position in the match.
These ratings are at the heart of our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, so if you think you can predict the upcoming Player Ratings each week, you should have a go at playing. There are a ton of prizes to be won. In fact, one astute player won our Opta Five jackpot in this week, scooping up a $8,500 prize!
Without further ado, let’s dive into the top performers from Matchday 15 in the Premier League.
1. Tom Cairney – 97.1 (FULHAM 5-0 Nottingham Forest)
2. Raúl Jiménez – 96.4
3. Alex Iwobi – 95.5
Whenever you win a game by five goals – as Fulham did on Wednesday night with a 5-0 victory over Nottingham Forest – there’s a strong chance that plenty of your players had a good game.
That was certainly the case for Fulham, with the top three players in our Matchday 15 Player Ratings all coming from the Cottagers’ resounding win over struggling Forest.
Despite being almost ever-present in Fulham’s Championship campaigns between 2017 and 2020, club captain Tom Cairney has struggled for playing time in the Premier League. A serious knee injury in the 2020 pre-season saw his action limited to just 10 games in 2020-21, and since then his appearances for the club in the top-flight have mainly been as a substitute.
But he rolled back the years on Wednesday in what was just his fourth start of the campaign, capping off Fulham’s dominant display with his first goal in 16 top-flight appearances.
Cairney’s goal was just reward for a brilliant, all-round performance in which he completed 98 of his 102 attempted passes, as well as touching the ball 118 times. Unsurprisingly, all three of those metrics were career-highs for Cairney in his Premier League career.
Fulham’s pass map below shows just how integral Cairney was in linking their attacking and defence:
Raúl Jiménez got Fulham’s second goal of the game, slotting in from close range after Andreas Pereira slipped him through on goal.
There’s no doubt that Jiménez is not the same player since his career-threatening head injury in 2020, but it’s great to see him back in form and scoring goals again. His second of the night was a delight, showing great strength to bully Ola Aina off the ball, before rounding Odysseas Vlachodimos and cheekily backheeling the ball into an empty net.
The Mexican forward has now scored three goals in his in last four top-flight appearances, the same number as he managed in his previous 47, while his brace was his third in the Premier League overall and his first since January 2020.
This fixture was the first time Jiménez had 6+ shots in a Premier League game in over three years, while he’s only ever registered more expected goals – 1.46 in this game – in a single top-flight match once (1.98 vs. Southampton for Wolves in January 2020).
Another Fulham man who scored a double on Wednesday was Alex Iwobi. It was his first brace in the Premier League on what was his 234th appearance, and he scored as many goals in 75 minutes against Forest as he did in the entirety of last season in the competition.
The Nigerian has proven an exceptionally versatile asset for Marco Silva this season, lining up all over the pitch, and he started on the right of an attacking three behind Jiménez in this one.
His second goal of the game, and Fulham’s fourth, came from the opposite flank though, with Iwobi bursting into the box at the far post to finish off Harry Wilson’s cross. That was one of 10 off-the-ball runs into the area that Iwobi made, second only to Jiménez’s 13 in the game.
4. Gabriel Jesus – 94.9 (Luton 3-4 Arsenal)
Much has been made about Gabriel Jesus’ lack of proficiency in front of goal, particularly going into Arsenal’s trip to Luton with the Brazilian forward only scoring once in nine matches. We ourselves have pondered whether it matters that he is a below-average finisher in front of goal.
But we know that Jesus brings so much more than just goals to Arsenal’s forward line. He’s an exceptional presser; he’s adept with his back to goal, strong enough to hold off defenders and bring teammates into play; and he’s an on-field leader and multiple-time Premier League winner.
Those traits were on full display in Arsenal’s frantic 4-3 win against Luton on Tuesday night.
First, there was the quick thinking for the Gunners’ opener, with Jesus sprinting over towards the sideline to pick up the ball and throw it in quickly to set Bukayo Saka free.
Then there was his goal, timing his run into the box beautifully to connect with Ben White’s floated cross.
And his final telling contribution came in his assist for Kai Havertz’ equaliser to make it 3-3. Saka hoisted a hopeful pass up to him, and Jesus showed great physicality to hold off Teden Mengi. He married that strength with a deft touch, cushioning the ball into Havertz’ path for the German to poke past Thomas Kaminski.
In fairness, Jesus has been far more lethal in Europe this season than domestically. He’s scored in all four of his Champions League appearances and has now been involved in six goals in his last five appearances in all competitions for Mikel Arteta’s side, both scoring and assisting a goal in three different games in this run.
5. Scott McTominay – 94.0 (MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 Chelsea)
Scott McTominay continues to polarise opinion among Manchester United fans, but, come on, what more can you ask for? The Scot scored two more vital goals for Erik ten Hag’s side as they overcame Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Those two strikes took McTominay to five goals for the season, making him United’s top goalscorer in the league in 2023-24. What’s more, all five of those strikes have been absolutely invaluable. As well as his brace on Wednesday night, he scored two last-gasp goals to turn defeat into victory against Brentford, and got one in United’s 2-1 win against Sheffield United.
It means that his goals have won eight points for Man Utd this season. That’s the joint-most of any player in the Premier league (tied with Spurs’ Son Heung-min).
Where would the Red Devils be without him?!
Top Performers by Game: Matchday 15
Here were the top-performing players in each game in MD 15:
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Burnley: Hwang Hee-Chan, 76.7
Luton Town 3-4 Arsenal: Gabriel Jesus, 94.9
Brighton 2-1 Brentford: Billy Gilmour, 85.0
Crystal Palace 0-2 Bournemouth: Adam Smith, 75.2
Fulham 5-0 Nottingham Forest: Tom Cairney, 97.1
Sheffield United 0-2 Liverpool: Dominik Szoboszlai, 89.1
Aston Villa 1-0 Manchester City: Leon Bailey, 90.0
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea: Scott McTominay, 94.0
Everton 3-0 Newcastle: Dwight McNeil, 91.3
Tottenham 1-2 West Ham: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 89.9