Dan Burke·4 December 2023
Dan Burke·4 December 2023
It was another fascinating weekend in the Premier League, and the title race is heating up nicely.
Now it’s time to hand out our awards.
For the second weekend running, Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a big goal for Liverpool, with his winner in the 4-3 comeback against Fulham on Sunday following on from his equaliser at Manchester City last Saturday.
The right-back (if it’s appropriate to call him that these days) also had a brilliant free-kick go down as an own goal in the first half, and that hybrid full-back-attacking-midfield role he is playing these days seems to have taken the Reds up a notch.
Whether Gareth Southgate will find a place for him at next summer’s Euros remains to be seen, but if Alexander-Arnold keeps playing like this he’s going to give the England boss one hell of a selection headache.
We thought Alejandro Garnacho had done enough to win the Goal of the Season award with his overheard kick at Everton last weekend, but on Sunday his compatriot Alexis Mac Allister scored a stunning goal for Liverpool which will surely be in contention come the end of the season too.
The outcome of Saturday’s match at Turf Moor felt potentially pivotal for the respective managers, and so it has proved.
The tone was set when Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring for Burnley inside the first 16 seconds, and thereafter the Clarets put in a performance reminiscent of their displays in the Championship last season, ultimately battering fellow newly promoted side Sheffield United 5-0.
It was a day of vindication for manager Vincent Kompany, who has stayed true to his philosophy this season despite it failing to produce results in the top flight prior to Saturday.
While that defeat appears to have signalled the end of the road for Paul Heckingbottom, with the Blades reportedly taking it as a sign that he cannot and will not keep them up.
Jack Grealish’s goal in the 81st minute of Sunday’s brilliant match at the Etihad appeared to have condemned Tottenham to a fourth straight defeat.
It was a day when not much went right for the champions: Ederson was at fault for Tottenham’s early opener, Erling Haaland missed an open goal, they rattled the woodwork twice while conceding two goals that went in off the post, and then there was a shocking decision from referee Simon Hooper to not play advantage when Grealish was through on goal late on.
But ultimately, City only had themselves to blame for not getting the job done against a depleted Spurs side, and Wednesday’s tricky trip to Aston Villa could see their current slump get worse before it gets better.
Whether it’s a case of complacency creeping in, tiredness taking its toll or them just taking a while to warm up, Pep Guardiola’s side have not been firing on all cylinders so far this season. It means we have a proper title race on our hands.
Manchester United’s defeat away at Newcastle on Saturday evening means they have still not won a Premier League away game against a team starting the day in the top eight of the table since beating Tottenham under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in October 2021 (three draws, 10 defeats in that time).
“Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment.”
Guardiola appeared unwilling to be drawn into a media storm like his former colleague when asked by Sky Sports for his view on the late refereeing decision at the Etihad on Sunday, before the City boss did go on to comment on the incident anyway.
And Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou was even more reluctant to give the press an easy headline in his post-match press conference.
What more can you say?