Man Of The Match: The curious case of Kyle Walker-Peters

The dust has settled on the first weekend of the Premier League and aside from Manchester United topping the table, pretty much nothing went as anyone had planned. Huddersfield are in the top four, Chelsea went down to Burnley and, for some bizarre reason, Kyle Walker-Peters received the Man of the Match award for his performance against Newcastle.

Apart from being what happens when a Pokemon version of Kyle Walker evolves, we can’t seem to wrap our head around the reasoning for this. Whilst it was hardly a poor display from the 20-year-old it begs the question as to what the criteria is for capturing the MOTM honour anymore, because it’s starting to feel like the Sunday League days when you were more used to seeing them handed out to the kid who hadn’t had one all season.

Given the circumstances behind Walker’s sale and Trippier’s injury it made all the sense in the world for KWP to come into the team, and when it comes down to the analysis of how he played then there really isn’t all too much to harp on about.

Spurs weren’t saved by a youthful full-back like they have been in the past because the reality of the situation is that they won in SPITE of the obvious nerves that Walker-Peters possessed. Christian Atsu, who isn’t exactly at that ‘world-class’ level, ripped him to shreds and at times last season’s runner-ups looked in serious danger of conceding courtesy of a cross from that side of the pitch.

The hype around him is understandable given that he’s a promising young talent, but at some point in the near future a better winger than Atsu is going to have an absolute field day against him. There was clearly a lot of emotion involved in this decision, and it brings us back to the giant elephant in the room when it comes to this oh so prestigious ‘Man of the Match’ award.

For years now, there’s been this sense of laziness surrounding the awarding of the MOTM, especially in televised games. Spurs themselves have found themselves to be guilty of this, too, with Harry Kane notching up many of these titles courtesy of his goals.

There have been instances in which the back four have been as solid as a rock for Spurs, meanwhile, Harry gets one lucky chance and takes advantage of it and all of the plaudits go to him. Why? It shows that the Premier League are doing a massive disservice when it comes to actually analysing who the best player on the pitch was, and are instead more interested in going with what’s ‘trendy’ or ‘fashionable’.

Players have certainly had worse debuts than Kyle Walker-Peters, but there are just as many that have had even better ones. The local lad will certainly get better as time goes on, but this issue needs addressing if the league and companies like Sky want to restore any kind of sporting credibility.