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HomeOpinion/FeaturesPremier League Awards: Dyche's reunion, Kane's record, and Liverpool's defensive horror show

Premier League Awards: Dyche’s reunion, Kane’s record, and Liverpool’s defensive horror show

Our weekly Premier League awards honour the best – and worst – of the football action from the weekend.

Moment of the Week

If Everton fans were unsure what to expect from Sean Dyche, they know now.

 

The images of Dyche forcing the club’s underperforming side into a mid-season bleep test circulated on social media this week, perhaps a microcosm of the no-nonsense approach he will bring to the role.

It might be unfashionable fundamentals, but Everton earned a huge win this weekend after outrunning and outworking Premier League leaders Arsenal at Goodison Park. Everton covered 116.4km in their 1-0 win, more than in any other game so far this season. First to second balls and into Arsenal with aggression, the tenacity of the Toffees unnerved their title-chasing opponents and breathed new life into the club’s season.

The club’s winning goal came in perhaps poetic fashion, as two former Clarets combined to earn Dyche a debut win. Dwight McNeil’s corner was met emphatically by James Tarkowski, a one-two punch from the Burnley old boys to get the new manager off to a dream start.

It was a performance that the Goodison Park faithful appreciated and one that can serve as the foundation for a push for survival. Hard work is the bare minimum of Dyche’s demands and the group responded this weekend.

Leaving the Premier League bubble briefly, we must mention the comeback of Sebastien Haller this weekend. The ex-West Ham forward was diagnosed with cancer just weeks after signing for Borussia Dortmund last summer, before returning – following four rounds of chemotherapy and two operations – to score his first competitive goal for the club against Freiburg.

It’s timing? On World Cancer Day. What a story.

Player of the Week

Harry Kane’s record-breaking moment secured Spurs a much-needed win over Manchester City, as the north Londoners continued their hoodoo over Pep Guardiola’s side in the capital.

It was a goal that saw Kane become Spurs‘ all-time record goalscorer, moving past the legendary Jimmy Greaves and out in front after his 267th in all competitions for the club. It was a special moment for a special footballer, one who is rapidly chasing down Alan Shearer’s Premier League benchmark.

Kane was brilliant as Spurs dug in to secure a win in the absence of Antonio Conte, using his body to bulldoze City’s centre-backs and hold up possession in another example of his evolution. Kane exploded under Mauricio Pochettino as a full-throttle forward of pressing intent, before developing into a footballer who combines creativity with a clinical edge.

It is a testament to his talent and desire to improve that he has remodeled his game so successfully and Kane now has 17 league goals for the season, already matching his total from 2021/22.

That his record-breaking number of goals have come without silverware will be mocked in an age where social media digs often outweigh tributes, but Kane’s achievements in a team not up to silverware standards perhaps makes them even more admirable. However, the dilemma on whether Kane chases honours elsewhere or further immortality at Spurs will be one that continues to be talked about.

Goal of the Week

Nottingham Forest are on an upward curve under Steve Cooper and extended their unbeaten run to five Premier League games after beating Leeds 1-0 at the City Ground.

Keylor Navas’ fine debut helped Forest keep out the visitors and protect the lead handed to them by Brennan Johnson. The 21-year-old – named as the EFL Young Player of the Season as Forest were promoted last season – has shown signs of truly finding his feet at the top level in recent weeks.

Johnson scored the decisive goal against Leeds with a crisp strike, controlling his volleyed effort to move Forest six points clear of the bottom three.

Stat of the Week

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side suffered a setback in their title pursuit after losing 1-0 in north London this weekend, continuing a wretched record at Spurs.

City have now lost all five games against Spurs at the club’s new home and have failed to score a single goal despite 84 attempted shots. Erling Haaland cut a frustrated figure during Sunday’s defeat, as the Norwegian failed to register a shot for the first time in a Premier League fixture.

Tweet of the Week

Someone give the Wolves admin a raise.

After hilariously trolling Nottingham Forest earlier in the season, Wolves were at it again after this weekend’s 3-0 win over Liverpool.

Wolves’ social media team issued the perfect response to Jurgen Klopp’s (bizarre) post-match comments that, in his eyes, the home side’s third goal did not count because Liverpool were on top at the time.

Quote of the Week

Nathan Jones issued a defiant defence of his credentials after Southampton were thrashed 3-0 at Brentford to continue a difficult start to his reign.

Jones – a left-field appointment from Luton following Ralph Hasenhuttl’s dismissal – claimed he has been forced to ‘compromise’ at the Saints and called himself one of the best coaches in Europe on a number of metrics.

Southampton have lost six of their seven Premier League matches since Jones became head coach and remain bottom of the Premier League table. It is a run that has already placed the Welshman under pressure, despite only taking the reins in November.

Donkey(s) of the Week

Liverpool’s season went from bad to worse as the club’s calamitous form in 2023 continued at Wolves this weekend.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were two goals down inside 14 minutes in a capitulation at Molineux, their defence non-existent in a horror show. It’s hard to believe that this is the same team that chased four major honours until the final days of last season, such has been the decline of a side crushed of all confidence and out of ideas.

In a team full of poor performances it was centre-back duo Joel Matip and Joe Gomez who, for the wrong reasons, stood out. Gomez was arguably at part-fault for all three goals, losing Hwang in the build-up to the opener before a miscommunication with Alisson contributed to the second.

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The defender then played Stefan Bajcetic into trouble as Wolves robbed possession and scored on the break, with Ruben Neves sealing a resounding win for the home side. Gomez, like many of his teammates, appears to be suffering from a crisis of confidence and looks a shadow of the defender who impressed during Liverpool’s 2019/20 title-winning season.

Klopp, deflated and dejected, is facing the toughest period of his reign at Anfield.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 22

Read Also – Six January deals you might have missed across Europe

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