Premier League weekend review: Five talking points

Liverpool edged past Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield, while Manchester City's title hopes suffered a blow against Newcastle United.

Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring against Brighton & Hove Albion.   -  Getty Images

Liverpool remains on course for a first ever Premier League title after a nervy 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, while Manchester City could only manage a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.

Jurgen Klopp's side endured a tense finish at Anfield after goalkeeper Alisson was dismissed with 14 minutes remaining, but it held on for a 13th win in 14 games this season.

City, meanwhile, was far from its fluid best at St James' Park and was denied a vital win by Jonjo Shelvey's superb late strike.

Jose Mourinho racked up a second consecutive Premier League win since taking over at Tottenham, Dele Alli proving to be the star man in a 3-2 win over Bournemouth, while West Ham pulled off a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool battles, City buckles

The only Premier League match Liverpool have won by more than a single goal since mid-September was against City last month and even after Virgil van Dijk's early double at home to Brighton on Saturday they had to endure a nervy finale.

The runaway leader survived a nervy finale to equal its longest unbeaten run in the top flight and capitalise on City's slip-up.

A Trent Alexander-Arnold free-kick set up the opener for Van Dijk in the 18th minute and the same combination soon provided a second goal as Brighton was found wanting at a corner.

Brighton was given an unexpected lifeline when Alisson was sent off for handling outside his box – meaning he will miss Wednesday's derby clash with Everton – and Lewis Dunk caught out replacement goalkeeper Adrian with a quick free-kick.

The Seagulls could not find a late equaliser, though, and while Leicester City can cut Liverpool's advantage at the summit to eight points by beating Everton on Sunday, there looks to be no stopping a team which has now gone 31 league games unbeaten, matching its record streak from May 1987 to March 1988.

“The boys threw everything on the pitch,” said a delighted Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. “It's unbelievable how much they want to win.”

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Jonjo Shelvey shoots to score Newcastle's second goal against Manchester City.   -  Getty Images

 

By contrast, when the going has got tough, City has not got going. Its hopes of claiming a third consecutive Premier League title suffered a fresh blow, with Shelvey's late intervention leaving it 11 points behind Liverpool.

Saturday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle was the fifth time Pep Guardiola's men have conceded two or more goals this season and on each occasion they have dropped points.

Worse could even be still to be come. After a tricky trip to Burnley on Tuesday, City faces five of the top nine before the new year.

Mourinho's perfect start continues

Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham and Olympiacos in Mourinho's first two matches and was good value for its latest triumph at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, despite another late collapse.

The host made a slow start but took the lead midway through the opening period through Alli, who slotted the ball underneath Aaron Ramsdale after being teed up by Son Heung-min's first-time pass.

The England international scored a second early in the second half before Moussa Sissoko added a third with his first league goal in his past 69 appearances.

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Dele Alli looks to have found his form again under Jose Mourinho.   -  Getty Images

 

Harry Wilson pulled two goals back for Bournemouth in the closing stages - one of which was a superb free-kick - but Tottenham held on for back-to-back league wins for the first time since April to climb to fifth, six points off a Champions League place.

The Portuguese now smells blood and has two of his former employers in his sights.

Spurs travels to Manchester United, which sacked Mourinho 11 months ago, on Wednesday and hosts Chelsea in three weeks' time.

“We play Chelsea by the end of December. If we play them tomorrow, it is with six points difference, it would be a fantastic situation to play them. But we play them in the end of December and we have to keep as close as possible.”

Pressure eases on Pellegrini after fine win

Aaron Cresswell scored the only goal of the game as West Ham eased the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini and ended its seven-game Premier League winless streak at Chelsea.

The Hammers became only the second side to win at Chelsea in the league this season and Frank Lampard's side, which lost at Manchester City a week prior, could have few complaints about the result.

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David Martin celebrates a save with Angelo Ogbonna during the match against Chelsea.   -  Getty Images

 

Cresswell scored the winner early in the second half and West Ham could have extended its lead before surviving a late rally from the host to secure its first victory since it beat Manchester United on September 22.

Crystal Palace, meanwhile, beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor courtesy of goals from Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp.

VAR rescues Leicester

Leicester was in danger at the break after Richarlison headed home to put Everton into a half-time lead, while Ben Chilwell saw a penalty for a trip from Mason Holgate overturned by VAR.

Jamie Vardy's neat strike – his 13th in the league this season – brought Leicester level, though, before drama ensued deep into second-half stoppage time.

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Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers speaks to his players while they celebrate the winning goal.   -  Getty Images

 

Iheanacho latched on to Ricardo Pereira's excellent throughball and rifled his shot past Jordan Pickford, only for the linesman to curtail his knee-sliding celebration.

But a check with the video assistant showed Yerry Mina had played the striker onside to leave Leicester in outright second and pile more pressure on under-fire Toffees boss Marco Silva.

Defensive woes for Arsenal, home struggles for Manchester United

Emery may have departed Arsenal but it was a familiar story for the Gunners defensively under Ljungberg.

Norwich stole ahead when Kenny McLean was afforded too much space to pick out Teemu Pukki, whose deflected effort beat Bernd Leno after David Luiz had backed off the striker.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled from the penalty spot at the second attempt having been handed a reprieve when his first attempt was saved by Tim Krul, only for VAR to spot an encroachment.

Aubameyang levelled again in the second half but only after more poor defending had seen Todd Cantwell put Norwich in a 2-1 half-time lead.

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Arsenal's defensive woes continues after Emery's departure.   -  Getty Images

 

Manchester United was again off the pace in a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, which led through Jack Grealish's stunning curling opener.

Marcus Rashford saw a header from Andreas Pereira's whipped cross cannon off the post and hit Tom Heaton on the back before nestling in the goal to bring United level and it led when Victor Lindelof nodded home in the 64th minute.

Just two minutes later, United was caught napping when Matt Targett clipped a second ball in from a cleared corner and Tyrone Mings volleyed past David de Gea.

Sack race in full swing

Just over a week after Mourinho replaced the fired Mauricio Pochettino, there was also change across north London as Arsenal sacked Unai Emery on Friday.

Less than 48 hours later, Quique Sanchez Flores became the latest Premier League manager to lose his job after Watford fell to the bottom of the table with a 2-1 defeat at fellow struggler Southampton.

Marco Silva could soon follow as Everton were undone by Kelechi Iheanacho's stoppage-time winner for Leicester to slip just two points above the relegation zone ahead of Wednesday's trip to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby.

However, the Toffees may take note of West Ham's decision to give Manuel Pellegrini an extra week to turn around his side's fortunes.

The Hammers travelled to Stamford Bridge on an eight-game winless run, but were the perfect blend of disciplined in defence and dangerous on the counter-attack to hold Chelsea scoreless in the Premier League for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.

(With inputs from AFP and Opta)

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