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Premier League Awards: March hits Christmas cracker

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

Moment of the Week

Wolves left it late to secure Julen Lopetegui a debut win as manager, snatching the points late on in a dramatic six-pointer with fellow strugglers Everton.

Lopetegui’s new side could hardly have begun in worse fashion as Yerry Mina headed in an opener for Everton after just seven minutes, but Wolves bit back to come from behind and claim a priceless win.

Rayan Ait-Nouri scored a stoppage-time winner to spark jubilant scenes from the visitors, who secured a first away win of the season to move off the bottom of the Premier League.

The late, late drama lifted Wolves and piled the pressure on Frank Lampard and Everton, who have lost three consecutive Premier League games and six of their last eight.

An honourable mention goes to Bruno Guimaraes, who celebrated this, somewhat trivial, block as if the full-time whistle had just blown in a victorious cup final.

There’s something simultaneously amusing and commendable about players celebrating the less glamorous side of the game, and his willingness to work epitomises a Newcastle team daring to dream.

Player of the Week

Fulham’s impressive return to the Premier League continued with a 3-0 win at Crystal Palace, as the Cottagers capitalised on two red cards for the home side to record a comfortable win.

It was the menace that is Aleksandar Mitrovic that did the damage for Fulham, as the forward helped himself to a goal and two assists.

He created the first goal with a brilliant cross for Bobby Decordova-Reid to glance home a header, before demonstrating his threat in the air to nod down a set-piece and assist Tim Ream’s second.

Palace were bullied and bruised as Mitrovic dominated duels and proved a threat in the air, with the Serbian rewarded for his centre-forward clinic with a goal of his own.

Mitrovic’s goal was his tenth in the Premier League this season, just one short of the career-best haul he managed during the 2018/19 campaign. He now has a staggering 125 goals and assists in 190 appearances for Fulham, who sit just outside the European places.

Goal of the Week

Solly March has had to wait some time for a Premier League goal.

Since scoring away at Aston Villa in November 2020, the Brighton winger has waited 766 days and 62 shots on goal to next hit the net. His 27 shots without scoring was the most in the Premier League this season, but it’s fair to say his drought-breaking effort was one to remember.

A Christmas cracker.

Miss(es) of the Week

 

Jurgen Klopp insisted that Darwin Nunez played an ‘incredible game’ despite his wastefulness around goal during Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Aston Villa.

As ever, the centre-forward caused chaos for the opposition backline with his raw mix of pace, power and industry, but lacked the composure required when presented with goalscoring chances.

His four big chances missed were the joint-most in a Premier League fixture this season.

 

Stat of the Week

Home comforts rarely apply when Southampton and Brighton face off in an all-South Coast match-up. Brighton’s comfortable 3-1 win at the Saints continued a curious Premier League record.

The away team is now unbeaten in the last 11 Premier League meetings between the teams.

Donkey of the Week

There was little festive cheer for Crystal Palace fans this Boxing Day, as the Eagles suffered a humbling home loss to Fulham.

Things went from bad to worse for Palace, who conceded an early goal to Bobby De Cordova-Reid before seeing Tyrick Mitchell sent off for a high challenge before half-time.

James Tomkins then gave the home side a mountain to climb with a second booking, as the central defender put a high arm across Aleksandar Mitrovic. Sure, the Serbian striker made the most of it, but it was a stupid moment from an experienced player, already on a caution.

Palace collapsed following Tomkins’ red card on a disastrous day, as Fulham scored two further goals to secure a resounding 3-0 win over Patrick Vieira’s nine-man outfit.

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