In a Saturday featuring three goalless draws and some last-minute winners, it was a few hours of Premier League football which saw a clan of criminally overlooked performers drag their respective sides over the line.
The oft-dependable Winston Reid nicked three points for West Ham United in the dying seconds against Sunderland, and Scott Arfield seemed to lose any trace of normality when he bellowed and charged upon scoring Burnley’s last-gasp winner over Everton.
But they weren’t necessarily the stars of the show. Here are three standout performers from across Saturday’s slate of top-flight tilts:
What a season Harry Arter is having.
The 26-year-old and teammate Andrew Surman are charged with bouncing around between their midfield and defence, breaking up opposition attacks and then promptly instigating one for the Cherries.
Even in the absence of Surman in Saturday’s visit from Tottenham Hotspur, Arter shone alongside Dan Gosling for Bournemouth in a fascinating midfield tussle with the similarly superb Mousa Dembele.
All in a day’s work for Arter. The former non-league player has made 30 tackles so far this campaign, some 14 tackles ahead of Bournemouth’s second-most successful man in the challenge, defender Simon Francis.
Arter plays internationally for Ireland through one set of his grandparents hailing from Sligo, but has only appeared in non-competitive fixtures. England interim boss Gareth Southgate would be foolish not to consider a cheeky swoop for the Londoner ahead of the next spate of World Cup qualifiers in November.
Xherdan Shaqiri won’t bounce one in off his backside or shin; he’d probably never score a tap-in, either. The minuscule Swiss only scores crackers.
Stoke City is up and running, and the former Inter Milan man took the goalscoring burden from Joe Allen to secure the 2-0 win at Hull City.
The first of his double came after his corner sparked a game of head tennis in the Hull area. Ryan Shawcross recycled the ball when it left the box, hoofing a ball back to the flank where Shaqiri was ambling back from following the set piece. He then cut inside and sprung an unstoppable left-footer into the top corner from around 30 yards.
His second, a free-kick, had dip and swerve of such ferocity that it was able to scale the wall and plant in the bottom corner from little over 20 yards. A sensational effort.
Aitor Karanka presumably asked Adama Traore to do what Modou Barrow did the week before.
The Middlesbrough new boy followed Swansea City’s bit-part player’s lead, ravaging Nacho Monreal down the right flank and even calling Laurent Koscielny into action on several occasions.
Boro was unlucky not to take all the spoils at the Emirates Stadium, and if Alvaro Negredo, Gaston Ramirez and Co. familiarise themselves with Traore’s end product, there’s no reason the Teessiders can’t still be in the top flight next season. There’s certainly reason for optimism in holding an Arsenal side which had collected seven straight wins.
Traore, like Idrissa Gueye at Everton, is one of a few players from Aston Villa’s disastrous relegation last term who hadn’t significantly damaged his reputation via lacklustre performances. And at 20, Traore is frighteningly still some distance from his peak.
He’s all-action and a gambler. His passing percentage in north London stood at a woeful 40 percent, but he ensured Arsene Wenger’s backline had a very uncomfortable afternoon with his non-stop surges forward.