Premier League: Five things we learnt from the week gone by

Liverpool extended its at the top by eight points, while Tottenham Hotspur slipped down to 12th. Leicester City and Chelsea leapfrogged Manchester City.

Liverpool now has 34 points from 12 matches.   -  Getty Images

Liverpool extended its lead at the top by eight points as it silenced Manchester City at Anfield, while Tottenham Hotspur slipped down to 12th on the points table with a draw against Sheffield United.

Leicester City and Chelsea moved up the standings, whereas Manchester United looked to build momentum following a 3-1 win over the weekend.

Here are the major talking points from the week gone by:

 

Title Liverpool's to lose

“People will say Liverpool can only lose it.” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is already aware of the narrative that his side will face in the remaining seven months of the season with such a historic prize up for grabs.

There may still be 26 games to go, but Liverpool has lost just one of its last 51 in the league and dropped just two points in its last 21 matches.

Only City's brilliance in winning its last 14 games of the Premier League campaign denied Klopp's men the title last season.

With the champions wounded by a long-term injury to centre-back Aymeric Laporte and without Ederson on Sunday, Liverpool smelled blood and took its chance to land what appears a knockout blow to City's title defence.

Another fine VARce

The marquee game of the Premier League season was always likely to be affected by a big VAR call and the entire complexion of the game changed in the space of 22 seconds just six minuets in.

City could easily have had a penalty when the ball ricocheted around the Liverpool area and hit Alexander-Arnold on the arm. Had the same incident taken place in the Champions League, it likely would have been given.

But with the Premier League's high bar to overrule the referee's call on the field, City was doubly punished when Fabinho fired home a brilliant strike.

Guardiola sarcastically thanked the officials at full-time, while the absent Ederson posted “the TV guys forgot their glasses at home” on Instagram.

Leicester, Chelsea leapfrog Man City

Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League as a 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday further dented the Gunners' hopes of a top-four finish.

Chelsea was also a 2-0 victor against Crystal Palace as it too jumped above Manchester City into third.

Leicester and Chelsea took advantage of kicking off a day earlier to move a point ahead of City and close to within five of Liverpool.

The Foxes' superior goal difference takes them into second as second-half strikes from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison piled more pressure on beleaguered Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

“I'm playing probably the best that I ever have,” said Vardy, one of the heroes of Leicester's remarkable 2015/16 Premier League title win.

“There's a lot of momentum round the club and everyone's enjoying themselves. That enjoyment comes with winning.”

Arsenal, Tottenham fall further

Arsenal is now eight points adrift of the top four, sitting sixth on the points table just below Sheffield United. The Gunners fell to a 2-0 loss at the hands of Leicester, pilling pressure on Unai Emery.

“We are very ambitious in our target, but we know we need time and patience,” said Emery, who faces an anxious wait to see if his wish will be granted by the Arsenal board with a two-week international break coming up.

Meanwhile, Tottenham was lucky to even escape with a point as Sheffield United impressed once more to move up to fifth. Spurs is now down to 12th on the points table.

“The reality is that for different reasons we are not showing the performances that we expect,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino. “We are not in a good position in the table.”

Man Utd builds momentum

Manchester United's upturn in form continued as Andreas Pereira and Marcus Rashford struck in a 3-1 victory over Brighton at Old Trafford that was even more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side also benefitted from a first half own goal from Davy Propper to recover from an unproductive spell that had seen them score just four times in their last four home league games.

It was a scintillating spell of football from a side that, before Thursday's Europa League win over Partizan Belgrade, had not scored two first half goals at Old Trafford for nearly 10 months since Brighton's last visit in mid-January.

After some low moments so far this season, including a dispiriting 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth last weekend, United was on its way to a fifth victory in its last six league and cup games.

This is United's best run since Solskjaer first took over from Jose Mourinho at the turn of the year.

 

(With inputs from AFP)

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