Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend action | premier league

1) Caramels can rejoice in the defeat of the derby

There’s a reason Everton are third in the league: they were the third worst team in the league. With just six games left, they are in serious danger of snapping the second-longest streak in top-flight football in the English game – only Arsenal have held out longer than their 68th birthday. Despite a difficult run-in, Frank Lampard can be delighted with his team’s play at Anfield: organized and valiant in defense, enterprising and swift in attack – a spirit summed up by a setback at the end of the first half when, after Abdoulaye Doucouré committed a foul on Fabinho to stop play so that Richarlison could receive treatment nearly the entire team piled into the kerfuffle, including goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Obviously, there is more to football than aggression and if during the season Everton had shown as much as they did on Sunday, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in. But equally, if they can maintain it, they could still save themselves. Daniel Harris

2) Conte needs a new plan for Spurs

As Tottenham stiffened at Brentford, lucky to come away with a draw in the eyes of Thomas Frank, it felt like they had been outed. Like Brighton’s Graham Potter, Frank set traps to stifle the Spurs midfielder and repeatedly questioned uncertain defenders from set pieces. Christian Eriksen has embodied the idea that the best players can always find time on the ball, even if such luxury was not allowed to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, his former attacking accomplices. High energy and muscle appear to be causing serious problems for Spurs, who are unable to emulate the accelerated pace of Antonio Conte’s most effective teams. “You have to try to increase and go to 150% to try to achieve this goal,” the Italian said, reminding reporters of the team he inherited in November: eighth in the table and expedition goals . He’s certainly revived Tottenham since – only for opponents to perhaps understand how he did it. John Brewin

Harry Kane couldn’t find the net in Brentford. Photography: Matt Impey/REX/Shutterstock

3) Guardiola unfazed by mounting injuries

John Stones, Kyle Walker and Nathan Aké are all injury doubts for Manchester City ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg. But with a maximum of eight games to play this season, Pep Guardiola isn’t worried he will struggle to field enough senior players in the crucial phase of the campaign. “If it was November or December, that’s a problem, but if Gabriel [Jesus] has to play right-back, he would play right-back. So it’s not a problem, when the players feel that we are really in trouble, the players do more. You saw from minute one how they want to win games, the next and the next. When this happens, we know we can trust each other. Less than a month before the end of the season and we will do it. Jaime Jackson

4) Gerrard expects an outburst from Coutinho

Steven Gerrard expects Philippe Coutinho, silent in recent games, to rediscover his best level of creativity in Aston Villa’s upcoming games against Norwich and Burnley. The Brazilian playmaker, on a six-month loan from Barcelona with an option to buy for £33million, has been involved in just one goal in seven away games and has spent much of it from Saturday’s goalless draw at Leicester to diligently follow their opponents, never his strength. “Phil will be fine,” the Villa manager said. “We can’t expect Phil to be man of the match, creator and goalscorer every time he plays. I don’t have to stay here and defend Philippe Coutinho; he defends with the level where he is. We are playing against two teams now, with all due respect, to be able to create chances and have good territorial opportunities. Peter Lansley

5) United can learn from the ruthless Arteta

Factor in a missed penalty, various squandered chances and a few borderline VAR decisions, and it’s fair to say that Arsenal’s seesaw win was not a result from which to draw big conclusions. Yet the result seemed appropriate nonetheless: a club with a clear sense of direction triumphing over one without none. And Arsenal’s recent rejuvenation could hold lessons for anyone at Old Trafford willing to learn them. Since his appointment, Mikel Arteta has rid the club of high-profile, high-profile albatrosses – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Özil, Willian, David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have all shown the door – and rebuilt the side around a core of young, hungry and unstarred players. There’s no shortage of celebrity deadwood at Old Trafford of course, but there’s plenty of youthful quality too. Jadon Sancho, for example, will have watched the electric Bukayo Saka on Saturday with legitimate envy. Oh, to be in a club with some semblance of common sense. Alex Hesse

Match report: Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United

6) The revival of Joelinton comes full circle

“He’s Brazilian, he only cost £40m…and we think he’s brilliant,” chimed from the outside end of Carrow Road long after Saturday’s final whistle. Joelinton, who marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a first-half brace, slowly walked away unwilling to break their gaze. From laughing stock to cult hero – and largely thanks to two games against Norwich. In the reverse match, Ciaran Clark’s brainless dismissal forced Eddie Howe to move Joelinton into a deeper role. Since then he has barely skipped a samba beat. But with Chris Wood due to rest, the Brazilian got off to a rare start on a fluid front three. He finished with the confidence of a man who loves life. As well he might. Sam Dalling

7) Ward-Prowse proves itself once again

It has been a miserable past few weeks for Southampton, with their last eight games consisting of six defeats, a draw and a win. Their supporters will have feared the worst when Mohammed Salisu’s own goal a minute before the break took them 2-0. Enter James Ward-Prowse, who despite hailing from Portsmouth has come to symbolize all that is good at his club. Although he looks like he’s lived his whole life, at 27 he still has plenty of room for improvement. So when his side were awarded a free kick deep in the first half, it was inevitable that Ward-Prowse would take it and felt almost inevitable that he would score, which he did – via a low kick , smart and whipped. effort that was too good for Robert Sánchez. Then, just nine minutes after the restart, he fired a superb low equalizer into the corner to save Southampton again. Daniel Harris

Robert Sánchez fails to prevent a James Ward-Prowse goal.
Robert Sánchez fails to prevent a James Ward-Prowse goal. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

8) Liverpool’s flaws are not exploited

Gary Player joked that the more he trained the luckier he got, and the same can be said for Liverpool. They work awfully hard and compete with a fierce intensity which, combined with the measure of their ability, sees them blast their way to all the goals and wins we’ve seen in recent years – with the formidable football brains of Jürgen Klopp also playing his part. But his team is not infallible. While it’s easy to say – as Graeme Souness did – that Everton just sat back and hoped, there was more to it. Because Liverpool rely on their full-backs to make play, they necessarily leave space behind that Anthony Gordon has exploited time and time again. In the end – and like most teams around the world – Everton got nothing out of it, but we can be sure the joy they found will not have escaped Unai Emery, whose side Villarreal travel to Anfield on Wednesday. Daniel Harris

9) Hammers left short at the back

A cardboard defender as man of the match? Well yes. Craig Dawson was excellent, a one-man central defensive wall flanked by a pair of full-backs in a makeshift three-man back. Block after block he held Chelsea at bay – until his late red card. Still, not bad for a man who started his working life as a glass collector at the Dog and Partridge pub in Rochdale before eventually signing for his hometown club in League Two. He arrived on loan at West Ham in 2020 after relegation from Watford and since that move was made permanent last summer he has thrived. Injuries to Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma and most recently Issa Diop meant his appearance on Sunday was his 45th of the campaign, his longest since 2010-11. An alleged broken nose obtained in Lyon might not keep Dawson out, but his dismissal will – although if anyone deserved a rest, it was him. Sam Dalling

10) Burnley gain vital momentum

There has been a shift in Burnley’s results since the surprise dismissal of Sean Dyche, but many of the hallmarks of the style that made his time at Turf Moor so successful are still present. How evident that was on Sunday as Mike Jackson’s side retired and battled to a potentially priceless 1-0 victory over Wolves, climbing out of the relegation zone for the first time since October. The only thing that’s different about Burnley is the momentum they have now, and that could be crucial. Hope can now turn into expectation that Jackson can pull off the greatest escape ever. Winning at Watford next – and with Everton and Leeds United facing much tougher clashes than Burnley – what seemed unlikely when Dyche was relieved of his duties could become a distinct possibility as Jackson’s side continue to ride the surf. crest of this surprise wave. Aaron Bower

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