Three things we learned in the Premier League
Manchester United’s mini-revival came undone in a 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth, while Tottenham and Arsenal’s chances of Champions League football next season suffered another blow in 1-1 draws with Everton and Wolves respectively.
Here, AFP Sports looks at three things we learned from the Premier League weekend.
Liverpool late shows rile Guardiola
Late winners for Liverpool and City kept the gap between the top two still at six points ahead of next weekend’s top-of-the-table clash at Anfield.
Liverpool scored twice in the final three minutes plus stoppage time at Villa Park to turn another losing position into a vital victory.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have now taken 10 points after falling behind in just 11 games and the European champions’ ability to find a way to win is beginning to get to City boss Pep Guardiola.
Sadio Mane scored Liverpool’s winner in the 94th minute after earlier being booked for diving.
The Senegalese also won late penalties at home to Leicester and Tottenham in recent weeks to turn 1-1 draws into 2-1 wins.
“Sometimes he’s diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute,” said Guardiola to already ramp up the animosity for next Sunday’s mouth-watering clash.
Arsenal going backwards
Unai Emery’s decision to leave Granit Xhaka out of the Arsenal squad for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Wolves removed the poison between players and fans at the Emirates.
But there was an air of apathy rather than anger as another two points were frittered away to further damage Arsenal’s top-four chances and Emery’s long-term job prospects.
After an encouraging start to his reign in charge, Emery’s Arsenal are rapidly going backwards.
They have won just twice in their last nine Premier League games and, despite the Spaniard’s constant tactical tinkering, he has failed to find the right balance.
After being ostracised for most of the season so far, Mesut Ozil was recalled against Wolves but made little impact, while club-record signing Nicolas Pepe spent the whole 90 minutes on the bench.
Top four pull away
Arsenal’s woes are compounded by the consistency of the top four with Leicester and Chelsea in pole position to join Liverpool and City in next season’s Champions League.
Leicester’s 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace means despite being in fifth, Arsenal are now six points off the top four and that gap could easily grow when Emery’s men travel to the high-flying Foxes next weekend.
Chelsea go from strength-to-strength under Frank Lampard with their 2-1 win at Watford a fifth straight in the Premier League and a club-record seventh consecutive victory away from home.
And the struggles of Manchester United and Tottenham, who are level on 13 points from 11 games in 10th and 11th, mean it is the unlikely trio of Sheffield United, Bournemouth and Brighton who occupy sixth to eighth.
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