There was a reduced billing of Premier League action this weekend as the FA Cup took priority for the remaining four clubs hoping to reach the final.
There were still five fixtures left on schedule though with plenty of interest at either end of the Premier League table.
Here’s a look at the five things we learned from this weekend’s action.
Arsenal’s travel sickness continues
Going into this weekend’s fixtures, Arsenal appeared to be the form team out of the sides chasing Champions League qualification. Their trip to Everton on Sunday looked a touch on the tricky side though, and so it proved as the Gunners fell to a 1-0 defeat.
Phil Jagielka’s 10th minute jab was enough to secure the three points for Everton. Arsenal fans will be worried by another lacklustre away performance that could have ended in a bit of drubbing had the home side been more clinical.
Away form is a big problem for Unai Emery and Arsenal. It could end up costing them an invaluable top-four finish as four of their final five remaining fixtures are away from North London. In fact, since the start of the 17/18 campaign, they have managed just nine away wins; nowhere good enough for a club aiming for a return to Europe’s elite.
Burnley take huge leap to safety
Sean Dyce’s men have endured a sobering season to say the least. After their splendid campaign in 2017/18, they have been hit and miss this term, managing just nine victories going into this weekend’s fixture with Bournemouth.
A convincing 1-3 victory over The Cherries on Saturday afternoon, albeit courtesy of some woeful defending from the home side, has moved Burnley eight points clear of the drop zone at a crucial juncture.
Although they are not yet mathematically safe, this result will do wonders for their confidence as we enter the final sprint towards the finishing line in May. McNeil and Wood continue to impress for Burnley this year as Sean Dyce will begin to take stock of what has been one of his most challenging seasons in charge of the Lancashire club.
Liverpool show their character to grab huge win
After going behind at St Mary’s inside the opening ten minutes, Liverpool looked genuinely rattled, as they were pulled this way and that by their rampant hosts. Southampton were hungry, aggressive and sensed their opponents weakness as they continued to press hard and create chances. Shane Long should really have got another goal on the night as he spurned a wonderful ball in from the right. Liverpool dug in, as they have done so often this season, and managed to keep their heads to get back in the game.
Naby Keita’s first goal for the club levelled things up going into half time and with his side still looking wobbly in the second 45, Klopp threw on his trusted lieutenants; Jordan Henderson and James Milner. The experienced duo gave their side more balance and possession.
The visitors persistence was rewarded with two late goals on the counter. First via Mo Salah, ending his recent drought with a spectacular driving run and finish, then the skipper, Jordan Henderson with a close-range drive; Liverpool were able to recover and regain top spot. It was a win which showed a lot of character as any drop in points between now and end of the season could be fatal to Liverpool’s title hopes.
Brendan Rodgers effect in full swing as Leicester cruise to victory
The Leicester City camp was an unhappy place under Claude Puel this season. Big name players in that dressing room simply failed to adapt to the Frenchman’s methods as the Foxes staggered down the table.
With Brendan Rodgers freshly installed just a few weeks ago, there was plenty of evidence on Saturday against Huddersfield, that the Ulsterman has injected fresh life into a stagnant group.
Yes, they were playing the bottom side who have been woeful all season, but Rodgers will have seen plenty of signs of life in his players after their 1-4 victory in West Yorkshire. Vardy and Morrison looked like renewed players, with the former hunting the ball and hungry for goals again.
This season is all but done and dusted, but there is still plenty of time for Rodgers to get an idea of which players will be in the equation for the next campaign as he looks to build on his success north of the border.
Zaha continues to impress in cagey Palace victory over Newcastle
Wilfred Zaha is arguably the most divisive figure in the Premier League at the moment. The Ivorian has been outstanding for Crystal Palace this season. There has never been any question about his talent and ability, his detractors though point to a lack of consistency and end product in his game which restrict him from breaking through to the next level.
Against Newcastle on Saturday, his detractors were confronted with yet more evidence of Zaha’s obvious improvement and maturity as he took the game to his opponents. It was far from a classic at St James’s Park, and Palace were up against it for most of the game.
However, where there is Zaha there is hope for The Eagles. He was a constant threat on the break, using the ball well, picking his passes and unleashing his menacing speed and skill to their full effect. It was his late, driving run against tired legs which won Palace the crucial penalty on 81 minutes.
He may or may not have the ability to be a top player, but his improvement this season has certainly turned a few heads and will have had rival scouts looking a little closer at the former Manchester United forward.