Dan Burke·18 September 2023
Dan Burke·18 September 2023
The Premier League came back from the international break with a bang this weekend.
And now it’s time for our awards.
But as a famous Manchester songsmith once wrote: “Shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to”.
And Doku seemed to take that wisdom onboard when he took to the pitch at the London Stadium on Saturday.
Playing on the left wing, the Belgian was a constant menace with the ball at his feet and his battle with West Ham full-back Vladimír Coufal was a joy to watch, with both players giving as good as they got.
But it was a trademark explosive burst of pace and a great finish from Doku early in the second half which produced his first goal in English football and got City back into a game they would go on to win.
His speed and ability to beat a man adds another dynamic dimension to the champions’ already frightening attack.
“I showed a little bit more today of what I’m capable of,” Doku said post-match. “I was less shy today.”
But then a well-worked corner routine ended with Bukayo Saka teeing up Leandro Trossard in the box, and with the side of his left foot the Belgian put the ball in the one place goalkeeper Jordan Pickford couldn’t reach, with his shot kissing the post on its way in.
That brilliant finish earned the Gunners their first away win at Everton in seven attempts.
On Saturday, they lost their first home match of the new season, and it was the Seagulls who once again did the damage.
It was not a shock result, despite Brighton’s starting line-up costing just £17m compared to United’s £347m XI.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side are a match for any team in the league on their day and aside from Ramus Højlund’s disallowed equaliser and Hannibal Mejbri’s consolation goal, the visitors controlled the game at Old Trafford and took their goals well, with Pascal Groß’s dummy to send Lisandro Martínez out for a hot dog being a particular highlight.
Brighton have now beaten United in four consecutive matches. “Can we play you every week?” sang the delirious visiting supporters at full-time, and who can blame them?
Richarlison managed just one league goal for Tottenham last season after joining in a £60m move from Everton, and the Brazilian revealed over the international break that he has been receiving psychological help for his struggles in front of goal.
His psychologist deserves a pay-rise if the striker’s cameo off the bench on Saturday is anything to go by.
Richarlison came on with Spurs trailing 1-0 at home to Sheffield United and it was his header in the 98th-minute which drew his side level, before he laid on Dejan Kulusevski to net the 100th-minute winner.
That win for Spurs means their manager Ange Postecoglou is now unbeaten in his last 50 home league matches (42 wins), a record which spans three different clubs (Yokohama F. Marinos, Celtic, Spurs).
And Saturday was a record-breaking day for Premier League yellow cards, with 44 of them brandished. That’s the most in a single day since the 43 that were shown on 22 August 1998.
Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom didn’t hold back when criticising the current standard of officiating following his side’s late defeat at Spurs.
“The officiating is appalling,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s not about the football decisions, just game management. My worry is that all the focus is on the yellow cards, time-wasting, the new guidelines.
“When I speak to the referees, they haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about. They’re officiating our games at the top level, and they simply do not know the game. We need to sort that, and sort it quick. It ruined the spectacle.”