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Premier League weekend: five things we learned

Just nine games separate us from the climax of this pulsating season, after plenty of drama at both ends of the Premier League table this weekend.

There was also the small matter of two derbies which might well have a massive say on things, come the end of the season. Here’s a look at five things we learned from the action

Both Arsenal and Spurs left frustrated in North London Derby

Stuttering Spurs were facing an inform Arsenal side as the welcomed Unai Emery’s men to Wembley on Saturday lunch time for a frenetic North London Derby. On balance, a 1-1 draw is a fair result, but it will ultimately leave both sides frustrated as they look to secure a top four finish in May.

Not for the first time this season, Arsenal were impressive against one of their top six rivals, as they took the game to the hosts. Aaron Ramsey bagged a brilliantly taken goal and reminded the away fans of what they’ll be missing from the Juventus bound Welshman.

Spurs fought back well though and Harry Kane had a world-class header ruled out for offside just before half time, whilst Leno saved superbly from Eriksen and Sissoko. Arsenal will feel aggrieved at the penalty decision that went against them as Kane was visibly offside in the build up.

However, they too benefited from the softest of calls as Sanchez was deemed to have fouled Aubameyang late on in proceedings. Hugo Loris made himself the hero as he kept out the resulting penalty and helped salvage a point for his side. Spurs will the happier out of the two, as they stay on course for top three finish, Arsenal will be left to dwell on what would have been a massive three points in their quest for a return to the top four.

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United ride their luck but continue to impress in Southampton victory

The Manchester United juggernaut just keeps on rolling under Ole Gunner Solskjaer. However, their 3-2 victory over Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday was a tad fortuitous, to say the least. They could easily have found themselves 0-2 down at half time, were it not for Stuart Atwell missing a clear foul on Ryan Bertrand by Chris Smalling after a quarter of an hour. Southampton had a pop at United in the first half and got their reward when Yan Valery’s thumping effort caught out David de Gea at his near post.

United came out punching in the second half though and fully deserved their three points after a trying day against a plucky opponent. Andreas Pereira smashed home a wonderful equaliser to start the ball rolling and Romelu Lukaku showed his class with an excellent brace. Southampton were impressive though and on this evidence should have enough in them to avoid the drop.

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Liverpool’s form a worry as the enter the business end of the season

Another day and another draw for Liverpool, as they laboured to a stalemate at Goodison Park in the 200th league edition of the Merseyside derby. The Reds were simply not good enough as they struggled to get to grips with a dogged Everton.

Their creativity and movement was poor, whilst Mo Salah missed two really big chances when clean through on goal. Klopp’s substitutes were confusing and ineffective to say the least as he struggled to change the fortunes of his side. The additions of Milner and Lallana were not what his side needed and smacked more than a little of over caution when they desperately needed a match winner.

For the final 15 minutes, it was actually Everton who looked the more likely to break the deadlock and do some real damage to their city rivals. However, Liverpool’s defence stood firm once again and delivered another clean sheet. With Manchester City winning in second gear again though, there was more than a hint of frustration as momentum swings away from the Reds in the title race.

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Watford ruin Brendan’s return

For the first time since October 2015, Brendan Rodgers took charge of a Premier League game as he made his long-awaited return to the top flight of English football. The new Leicester City boss was left frustrated though as a 92nd minute Andre Gray goal robbed his side of a point at Vicarage Road.

The Ulsterman will know he’s got his work cut out at the Foxes as they continue to punch below their weight in 2019. They have top seven quality and should not be struggling for form in the bottom half of the table. They need a reversal in form urgently and it could well be a steep learning curve for the former Liverpool boss as he enters the final few weeks of the season and tries to salvage some credibility for the Foxes campaign.

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Brighton secure massive win to ease relegation worries

There was an almost palpable sense of relief at the Amex Stadium on Saturday as Florin Andone’s 79th-minute goal against Huddersfield gave his side a first league win in 2019.

The scenes of jubilation from the players and fans showed just how much this one meant to the Seagulls who have sunk like a stone down the league table since Christmas.

They are by no means out of the trouble just yet, but Chris Houghton will know just how vital this one was for this side’s fight against the drop. They will go into next weekend’s big game at Crystal Palace with their tails up and the hope that they have put a nightmare run of form to bed.

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