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Premier League Weekend: Five Things we Learned

Another massive weekend of Premier League has been and gone as teams begin to take their places at either end of the table.

There were seismic clashes at the top and bottom with huge points to play for. Here’s a look at five things we learned from the best the action.

Willian pulls the strings as youthful Chelsea keep on winning

It seems strange to highlight a 31-year-old in a season when Chelsea’s kids have stolen the show, but you cannot overlook the importance of Willian during the Blues hard-fought 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Brazilian showed his experience and timeless quality as he ran the show from midfield against a dogged, deep sitting Palace side.

Chelsea were a little rusty in the first-half and were clearly struggling to break the visitor’s lines but Willian always looked likely to find a way through. His running, passing and general attacking play simply oozed class and his perfectly weighted flick to play Tammy Abraham for the opener was delightful.

Despite their faith in youth, Frank Lampard’s side has got a generous sprinkling of experience too and in tight games, that can be crucial in getting the points.

Ndidi, Barnes and Tielemans show their opponents up in massive win for Leicester City

One of the big blockbuster fixtures of the weekend saw Arsenal travel up to the East Midlands to take on Leicester as both sides looked to show their top-four credentials. In a sobering night for Unai Emery’s Gunners, they were left to stand and watch as Leicester bossed proceedings in a 2-0 win.

While Jamie Vardy and James Maddison will take the plaudits, it was their midfield colleagues who had as much a hand in their victory. Wilfred Ndidi, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans put in a masterclass of work rate, pressing and aggressive forays forward to create a sackful of chances on the night and expose Arsenal’s brittle lines.

This was in stark contrast to their opposite numbers in midfield who were practically statuesque at the King Power during the second half. Leicester have now won eight of their last 11 home Premier League games as they strengthen their hand for a top-four finish this season.

Scandalous VAR call saves Spurs blushes as they clock up another below-par showing

Much of the focus this season has been on Manchester United and Arsenal’s collective malaise, but after yet another poor display and more precious points dropped this weekend, it’s hard to draw any other conclusion than Spurs are really the crisis club out of the so-called big six. Giovani Lo Celso was handed a first start in the league by Mauricio Pochettino but the Argentine could do little to help his team’s creative muddle.

Spurs lack a spark at the moment as well as confidence at either end of the pitch and they were very lucky against Sheffield United to claim anything at all from the match. Only a hideous and outright scandalous VAR call to rule out David McGoldrick’s neat finish for the most marginal of offside calls you’ll ever see saved Spurs from another high profile defeat. It’s worrying times indeed in the white half of London after almost a third of the season gone.

Brandon Williams impress as youthful Manchester United climb the table 

Manchester United recorded a much needed victory over Brighton on Sunday to lift them up to seventh in the league. Their 19-year-old full-back put in a stoic display during his first league start for the club, achieving four successful tackles and an impressive 88% passing accuracy down the left channel. There is a lot of optimism about the youngster coming through the ranks and off the back of this display, you can certainly see why.

The average age of United’s starting line up was 23 years and 350 days, their youngest so far this season and after a much livelier and creative display from the home side during a dominant 3-1 win, supporters can, at last, reflect on some positives going in the international break.

Jordan Henderson’s importance to Klopp’s Red Machine highlighted during massive victory over Man City

It was one of the those rare occasions at Anfield when a top of the table clash lives up to billing as Liverpool put in a gallant display to overcome the champions with an impressive 3-1 victory. Klopp’s men were in fine form and ruthlessly took their chances whilst containing the lively visitors with an all-action, pressing display.

At the vanguard of this was Jordan Henderson who put in one of his finest displays for the club. The England international is never the most fashionable name on the Liverpool team sheet but his efforts in containing Man City were superb as he dropped in to cover down the right hand side throughout the match, which subsequently allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to bomb forward on the overlap.

He also brilliantly found Sadio Mane with a gorgeous, dipping cross to the far post for Liverpool’s third goal. The home side were noticeably pegged back once Henderson, who is still recovering from illness, was hooked for James Milner with around half an hour still to play.

The former Sunderland man may have his detractors but on the strength of this display, it is easy to see why he is often one of the first names on the team sheet for Liverpool’s biggest and most important clashes.

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