Premier League 2022-23 review: matches of the season
Brentford 4-0 Manchester United (13 August 2022)
The darkest hour is before the dawn, they say, and Erik ten Hags United regime began with two grim league defeats. After Brighton had won at Old Trafford, brilliant Brentford made hay in boiling temperatures as the new United, in attempting to play the ball out from the back, looked rather like the failing collective of the previous decade. David de Gea dropped clangers, Cristiano Ronaldo snarled at his teammates. [Ten Hag] will need to be an exceptional manager, a man of considerable moral courage, to recover from this, I wrote in my match report that day. He has gone a considerable distance to suggest he might be. Brentford, meanwhile, confirmed they were here to stay as a fly in any passing elite-level ointment.
Tottenham 1-2 Newcastle (23 October 2022)
Using this seasons Tottenham side as a gauge for anything is a dangerous pursuit but after an early-season draw with Manchester City, Eddie Howes team arrived in London to begin the upward curve that eventually qualified them for the Champions League. This was a statement win. Bruno Guimares and Joelinton dominated midfield and Callum Wilson scored an opportunists strike before Miguel Almirn, in the form of his life, lashed in after cutting in from the right. Harry Kane who else? pulled one back for Spurs but Newcastle later locked the game down. It was a textbook example of the solid style that has lately moved Alan Shearer to pen the purplest of prose in gushing tribute to Howe.