Premier League takeaways: Captain McTominay, Dyche delight, Lockyer shock

We pick out the big talking points after the weekend action in the English top flight

Scott McTominay, right captained Manchester United for the first time on Sunday. AFP
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McTominay leads Man United to Anfield point

It was a proud day for Manchester United's Scott McTominay when the Scottish midfielder was asked to captain the side against fierce rivals Liverpool.

After a desperate week that saw United humiliated 3-0 at home by Bournemouth then exit the Champions League after finishing bottom of their group, a trip to Merseyside seemed like a daunting prospect.

But Erik ten Hag's side showed some old-fashioned – and much-missed this season – grit and determination to earn a draw at Anfield, with McTominay leading his troops to an unlikely point.

“It’s the biggest honour of my career captaining this football club," said the 27-year-old, whose team had survived 34 Liverpool attempts on goal.

"I’ve been a young boy and come through the system here, and it’s one of the biggest honours of my career. I’m thankful to be in this position and I want to go for more.”

English veterans struggle against Rice and Saka

Two ageing English veterans found the going tough in North London during Brighton's 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.

James Milner and Adam Lallana, who have more than 900 Premier League appearances and nearly 100 international caps between them, found themselves outplayed by two current England regulars at the Emirates Stadium.

Milner, playing at left-back for Brighton, was up against Bukayo Saka whose pace easily trumped the experience of the 37-year-old, who won his last England cap in 2016.

Nothing went right for Milner who was tormented by his 22-year-old opponent from the start, earned a booking for a cynical foul on Saka after just 15 minutes and was eventually put out of his misery with the hook on the hour.

Lallana, 35, who started in midfield and last played for England in 2018, found himself up against the mighty Declan Rice in the Gunners' engine room and came off a distant second.

"We have great players that can define games and finish actions," said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. "We showed a lot of maturity, and a lot of intelligence. This game against them [Brighton] requires them to be really intelligent."

Man City again pay for lack of killer touch

Manchester City head into their first Fifa Club World Cup – they face Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday – on the back of yet another stumble in their domestic title defence.

City, who are looking to become Premier League champions for the sixth time in seven seasons, conceded two late goals in Saturday's draw against Crystal Palace that leaves them fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Arsenal.

The Eagles went into the game at the Etihad having only won one of their last 10 games but despite dominating possession and having 19 shots on goal to the opposition's five, City failed to come away with all three points as Palace scored with their only two efforts on target.

It means City arrive in Saudi Arabia having won just once in six matches, and the 34 points they have won from 17 games is the fewest since Pep Guardiola took charge in 2016.

“We gave away two points,” admitted Guardiola. “We had a good performance … but Crystal Palace’s second goal cannot happen at this level. We took bad decisions in the 18-yard box and we were punished.”

Miley gets off the mark for Magpies

After the misery of their Champions League exit after losing at home to AC Milan midweek, the smiles returned to Newcastle United and St James' Park on Saturday.

After thumping defeats against Everton and Tottenham – followed by the Milan loss that also saw Newcastle miss out on a Europa League spot – Eddie Howe's team ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against 10-man Fulham on Tyneside.

And it was a day that Lewis Miley will never forget as the Geordie midfielder became Newcastle's youngest Premier League goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 229 days.

Newcastle's injury nightmare this campaign has been well-documented and there looks to be no end in sight after both Fabian Schar and Joelinton came off with hamstring problems against the Cottagers.

But those injuries have given Miley an unexpected extended run in the team and the England youth international has grabbed his chance with both hands.

“His all-round performances have been so good,” said manager Eddie Howe. “He's an incredible talent, he's started his Newcastle career in a great way.”

Dyche dishes out misery to former club

Out of the anger and fury of their 10-point deduction for breaking Premier League financial rules has risen a new-look Everton side determined to right the perceived wrongs inflicted against the club.

Momentum is building for the Merseysiders, whose 2-0 win against Burnley on Saturday was their fourth on the spin and 10th victory in the past 14 games across all competitions

Everton are now up to 16th in the table, seven points clear of the relegation zone.

The victory also gave manager Sean Dyche three points against the club who sacked him in 2022 after 10 years and 425 games as manager. Defender Michael Keane – another former Claret – also scored the second goal at Turf Moor.

“I said when I left here it was another chapter finished for the club and me,” said Dyche, who was given a warm reception before the game. “I have huge respect for the club, the people around the club and the fans.”

Football world in shock after Lockyer collapse

Horrific scenes at Bournemouth on Saturday when Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer collapsed on the pitch forcing the game to be abandoned midway through the second half.

Luton later confirmed that Lockyer had suffered a cardiac arrest but was “stable and currently undergoing further tests” in hospital.

In late May, Lockyer had also collapsed on the pitch during Luton's Championship play-off win over Coventry City and subsequently underwent heart surgery but was given the all-clear in June to continue playing.

Updated: December 18, 2023, 2:54 AM