Premier League hits and misses: Scott McTominay and Raheem Sterling produce match-winning performances to silence doubters Football News

Plus: Tottenham show they are in the Premier League title conversation with 10 men with hard-fought win at Luton; Sheffield United are unfortunately poor…

21:19, UK, Saturday 07 October 2023

Forgotten man McTominay redeems Ten Hoag with Man Utd spirit

One line from Scott McTominay’s post-match interview jumped out. He described the two-goal injury-time match-winning magic as „a favorite moment on a football pitch” and how it could be a turning point for the struggling side, there was a report.

„I’m happy to contribute and show them I can do it.”

Does he mean boss Eric den Haag and his coaching staff, who left him on the bench in last week’s defeats to Crystal Palace and Galatasaray? Or the Man Utd supporters who have spent the summer anticipating the arrival of midfield solutions from the transfer market?

Whatever McTominay’s motivations, it’s interesting to hear him appreciate the Man Utd ethos of never giving up, and how his journey with United played out from the start as a five-year-old to the final whistle.

The inevitability of a Fergie-time comeback win was not the overriding feeling as United labored to break Brentford down on Saturday. Indeed, Kristoffer Ajer’s disallowance of an own goal felt like the final act of another damaging defeat.

But despite what his detractors say, McTominay has quality. Coupled with belief, determination and determination to fight for victory until the last second, it will be a dangerous prospect for any opponent at Old Trafford.

McTominay could find himself in a key role after the international break.
Peter Smith

Sterling reacts to Southgate snub

Raheem Sterling isn’t the only one sending a message to Gareth Southgate. He grabbed the bureau, wrote the words, put it in an envelope, went to Southgate’s house, opened his front door and punched the England manager in the throat. It’s an insightful show. And brimming with world-class talent.

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Sterling, despite being one of Southgate’s go-to boys and with 82 caps to his name, has been overlooked for a second successive team, with Jarrod Bowen and Eddie Nketiah now further up the pecking order. This performance makes that decision look silly.

Chelsea, a team lacking creativity for large parts of recent football, turned to Sterling in every attack. His direct running and hitting from his full backs was the driving force behind this latest classy Chelsea performance. He scored one goal and was instrumental in three others.

Sterling may be overlooked, but he will not be forgotten.
Louise Jones

Spurs should be taken seriously as title contenders

The Tottenham players, in their full gray replacement strips, stood at the final whistle at the Oak Road stand to applaud their fans. In many ways, Spurs were colorless to the capital letters of this frenetic encounter. But they found a way to win, as they had already done on many occasions.

At home against Sheffield United and Liverpool last weekend, they celebrated dramatic late wins. Even on the road, they are trailing Brentford, Burnley and Arsenal and picking up points.

It can no longer be seen as a fluke, but a trend under the charismatic Postecoglou. It should have been more routine than Richarlison’s clear early sitter, which sparked a competition among Tottenham players for the worst misses of the season so far.

Such incivility would be punished against better sides, but it was only after Pissauma’s senseless sending-off for a blatant dive in front of referee Brooks that we saw streetwise Spurs among the early-season pacesetters.

Before this round, 10 teams faced fewer shots and attempts on goal than Tottenham – and Luton here had 12 – but with Maddison in the side, even up to 10, there’s always a chance.

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It was his quick thinking that earned him the three points and from that point on, Postecoglou set his side up to masterfully manage the remaining minutes. Gary Neville claims Tottenham are not title contenders, but the evidence to the contrary is increasingly compelling.
Penn Field

Sheff Utd are just as poor unfortunately

„Things that can go against us go against us.”

Paul Heckingbottom must have spent the summer walking under ladders and past black cats.

Sheffield United are rock-bottom of the Premier League with one point from eight games, with no better luck in sight.

Fulham fans will argue that the Blades’ should have equalized after the visitors opted to play on when Issa Diop was injured and sacrificed possession deep in his own half.

United had already lost captain Chris Basham to a horrific accidental injury before Wes Fotheringham’s back-to-back fluke own-goal restored the hosts’ lead.

Fulham’s Tom Cairney celebrates after Sheffield United goalkeeper Wes Fotheringham scores an own goal

But it is clear that Sheffield United seem ill-equipped to survive at this level. Fulham’s win may have looked fortunate in the end, but it was undeserved. Own goal is the Blades top scorer this season.

Basham’s injury had nothing to do with Sheffield United’s lack of shots in the first half or the way Fulham counter-attacked with ease or consistency down the right.

„You get what you deserve and we’re where we need to be,” Heckingbottom added. And it’s hard to argue with that.
David Richardson

Everton turn corner under Dyche

Sean Dyche was in chipper mood after Everton secured their first home win of the season with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday. They have not scored twice in a game at Goodison in their last 17 attempts.

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„Three wins out of four now – one is a cup game, but don’t they mention those cup games when you lose? So it’s fair to mention them when you win.”

„Three wins out of four is not easy at any level,” added the Everton boss.

He is not wrong. Everton last made a run at the start of the 2021/22 season under Rafael Benitez. Back-and-forth fighting continued.

Everton have been a club in turmoil for the past couple of years. Diche, fans hope, can be a steady hand on the plow in uncertain times ahead of him. Although only Luton spent more than Everton’s £38 million in the summer transfer window, he is working hard to improve the players at his disposal to make the team competitive again.

Last weekend’s defeat to Luton was a reminder of the weakness at Goodison. Everton’s problems are far from over, but they turned a corner against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Ginny Boswell

Murillo stuns in second Forest appearance

It’s early days, but Nottingham Forest clearly have a player in Brazilian Murillo. On a dull evening of football in south London – in stark contrast to the unseasonably warm but welcome weather – the young defender was a bright light.

Murillo is clearly adept in defence, but it’s really in the forward areas where the 21-year-old comes alive. He created a superb first-half chance for Morgan Gibbs-White, the latter volleying over the crossbar.

A Brazilian upbringing usually equals Ball’s class and Murillo seems to have that quality in spades. He has taken no time to quickly get up to speed with the Premier League and will be a real asset to Steve Cooper as he tries to put other newcomers to bed during this ongoing transition at the City Ground.
Laura Hunter

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