MONDAY’S BIG STORIES
Spurs help Arsenal
“What do we think of Tottenham?”
Well, for once, Arsenal fans will not be replying with a four-letter word we cannot repeat here, and instead saying, ‘You know what? They’re alright, actually, and well done to Harry Kane on breaking the record, and what a lovely tribute that post-match parade was, too. Oh, and here’s that picture of Kane in the Arsenal top, so that explains that one.’
And as favours go, this could be seismic, with Manchester City’s torrid record at Spurs’ new stadium rumbling on and not a point gained when the Gunners gave them the chance. Frankly, some would say City did themselves no favours either. He has previously bristled at the notion he overthinks matches, but it is difficult to back Pep Guardiola’s starting team – even if hindsight does a lot of the heavy lifting.
Kevin De Bruyne joined Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte on the bench for the start of the match, and as it raised eyebrows aplenty, few were therefore unsurprised when Erling Haaland found himself starved of service. No shots or touches in the box tell you the afternoon the Norwegian had, and had De Bruyne started from the off then it’s hard to imagine Haaland having as quiet an afternoon.
“It’s a mystery to me,” said Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness, and too right, especially as Guardiola had explained this was a “tactical” decision. What’s tactical about leaving your best player, the best midfielder in the world arguably, out of the XI?
Whatever he anticipated, it did not work out the way Guardiola wanted, and so somehow a weekend that started with Arsenal fans fearing the worst, ended up with Arsenal fans counting their luck, and perhaps even wishing – if only we’d faced Frank Lampard’s Everton.
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 and become Tottenham Hotspurs all time goalscorer during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on February 5, 2023
Image credit: Getty Images
Welcome back to the Premier League, Sean Dyche, the man who lives and breathes every kick on the touchline and quite simply never stops barking out orders.
And evidently, that bleep test did the trick, with Everton covering more ground than any other match this season and stifling the league leaders time and time again.
“I wanted a performance,” said Dyche, with Everton picking up their first Premier League win since October 22.
“The players have put a lot of respect in the changes we have tried to make but I told them: ‘Actions, that is the key.’ You clearly saw the response.”
The victory gives us perhaps a rose-tinted view that Everton will now be just fine under Dyche, but the table still says otherwise.
Next, a trip to Anfield a week on Monday. Yeah. Big.
Oh Liverpool. Oh Chelsea.
It’s getting worse before it gets better for both Chelsea and Liverpool.
And that even counts Liverpool, who sit one point and one place below Chelsea in 10th.
Watch the moment Klopp refuses to answer journalist’s question over Liverpool coverage
With European football next season now an uphill battle for both Chelsea and Liverpool, it seems only a Champions League triumph will secure them a return to the competition this season. Otherwise, it’s Europa League at best, or the Conference League potentially awaits too.
IN THE CHANNELS
A tip-top response from MK Dons on Saturday…
It’s one of those clips – you cannot help but stop scrolling and watch.
A relatively quiet football evening. There’s Blackburn hosting Wigan in the Championship plus a smattering of European matches.
Beyond today, the Club World Cup starts this week, the FA Cup replays are on Tuesday and Wednesday, while Manchester United host Leeds in the Premier League on Wednesday.
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