We were treated to yet another excellent weekend of Premier League football as the big games just keep coming.
There was everything to play for at the bottom and in the battle for the top four, while the Premier League title race continues to be one of the most enthralling battles between two sides of the very highest caliber.
Here’s a look at five things we learned from the action.
Spurs ease injury concerns with convincing win
It’s all gone a bit Groundhog Day at Spurs. Just like at the turn of the year, injuries and a busy schedule have threatened to derail the North London outfits lofty ambitions. With Harry Kane and Dele Alli both out, that brittle squad of theirs is once again under the microscope. Relegated Huddersfield Town were in North London for the early Saturday kick-off; Spur’s depleted men were hoping for a morale booster with two epic tussles with Manchester City on the horizon.
A romping 4-0 victory was just what the doctor ordered then, with Lucas Moura scoring the club’s first hat-trick at their new stadium. Spurs were excellent, despite conceding a few chances to the away side. They were creative and confident throughout, and could have scored two or three more if Llorente had of had his shooting boots on. Moura was superb though, scoring three excellent goals whilst leading the line with quality and conviction.
Liverpool win at home to Chelsea to banish their daemons
This was a big fixture looming large on the horizon for everyone connected to Liverpool Football Club. Yes, they are spot on to repeat the ‘take each game as it comes,’ mantra, but you cannot deny the emotion and gravity that this fixture was going to provide as Liverpool battle Man City for the title. Echoes of 2014 were abundant going into this fixture, with Jurgen Klopp having to manage the mental weight milling around the player’s necks going into Sunday’s tea time fixture.
Memories of the title slipping through their fingers five years ago, as Steve Gerrard lost his balance and gifted the ball to Demba Ba, have created plenty of daemons for Liverpool. Their excellent performance and deserved 2-0 victory on Sunday will do lots to banish these unwanted daemons and could well provide a mental boost for their final title charge with just four games left to play. There is a long way still to go, but you could see what this result meant to the supporters, fans and the manager as Chelsea finally succumbed to a league defeat at Anfield.
Unlucky West Ham highlights the scale of the task ahead for Manchester United
The old adage of, a win is a win, very much applies to Manchester United‘s 2-1 home victory over West Ham on Saturday. The hosts took the points but their fans should be duly concerned, following a laboured and uninspiring performance.
By contrast, West Ham were very unlucky and should have taken the lead early on, where it not for a sloppy offside call on Felipe Anderson. They will also be aggrieved at the first of the two penalties they conceded on Saturday, with Robert Snodgrass deemed to have fouled Juan Mata. Replays showed the decision was contentious, to say the least.
Pogba’s double from the spot was ultimately enough for United, who keep their top four hopes alive, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not need telling, just how far off the pace this performance was. On this display, there is still a long road ahead for United and their popular manager.
Sorry Brighton look like relegation fodder after Bournemouth humiliation
Brighton’s decline has been rapid this year. Going into 2019, you would back them as one of the more solid home sides, a real tough nut to crack with a solid defence and a habit of grinding out wins at the Amex. How quickly this has deteriorated for Chris Houghton. Their 0-5 home thrashing to Bournemouth on Saturday was by far the nadir since their return to the top flight as they were hopelessly taken apart by The Cherries, themselves, not exactly on fire at the moment.
Just two wins in the league in 2019 has seen the Seagulls drop from mid-table comfort to 17th place as they have bounced from one defeat to another during a truly dire run. Anthony Knockaert’s red card for a brainless lunge in the second half rubbed salt into the wounds for Brighton fans who will now hope they can just about do enough with the remaining fixtures to beat the drop.
Southampton’s smash and grab victory leaves them in touching distance of safety
What a job Ralph Hasenhuttl has done at Southampton! Under Mark Hughes they looked in terrible shape; lacking in confidence and belief all over the park, with relegation a real possibility. Fast forward 18 Premier Leagues later and a convincing 3-1 victory at home to Wolves has left the Saints needing just one more win to be absolutely certain of safety.
Wolves were still hurting after their shock FA Cup semi-final exit and were vulnerable to a smash and grab performance by the hosts. Despite enjoying just 31% of the ball, Hasenhuttl’s men were excellent on the counter-attack with Nathan Redmond catching the eye with an well taken brace. The reaction from the players and manager at the end of the game shows the belief this result has instilled in the side; the drops looks to have beaten on this part of the south coast.