Following the latest round of Premier League action we look at five things we learned from the weekend fixtures.
Football. Bloody hell.
Well, what a game that was.
The weekend’s final fixture proved a classic as Liverpool beat Tottenham in a seven-goal thriller at Anfield. Spurs must have feared the worst after last weekend’s humiliation at Newcastle, when Liverpool raced into a three-goal lead inside the opening 15 minutes.
In a pulsating Premier League game, Harry Kane grabbed a goal back before half-time and Liverpool looked nervous after the break. Son Heung-min set up a grandstand finish and Richarlison’s stoppage-time goal – his first in the Premier League for Spurs – looked to have snatched the north Londoners a point.
Then came the final twist in a tale of great goals, bad defending, and unadulterated Premier League entertainment, as Diogo Jota – fortunate to escape an earlier red card for a high boot on Oliver Skipp – scored a late Liverpool winner just 99 seconds after Richarlison’s goal.
"That is the most Tottenham thing you will ever see." 😬
Just MOMENTS after Richarlison equalises for Tottenham, Jota slips another into the net!! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/PFl2GT4tq4
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 30, 2023
It was chaotic and compelling, as two teams who have struggled for consistency this season served up a classic. Great in moments, terrible in others, the best and worst of each were on show and the result was an Anfield epic.
Should Hodgson continue at Palace?
Roy Hodgson’s return to Crystal Palace was regarded, by some, as a backwards step, with the Eagles turning to a safe pair of hands to stop the club’s slide towards relegation.
Palace had gone 12 games without a win before Hodgson’s return to the dugout, but have since taken 13 points from their six Premier League matches under the 75-year-old to move past the magical 40-point total and 11 points clear of the relegation places.
Hodgson has achieved those results not with conservative tactics, but a free-flowing brand of football that has seen the Eagles’ attacking talent shine. Eberechi Eze has scored four goals in Hodgson’s six games and is pushing for an England place, including one from the spot during this weekend’s 4-3 win over West Ham.
"We're thriving under him!!" 🔥
Eberechi Eze discusses playing under Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park! 🙌
🎙️ @TheDesKelly pic.twitter.com/eRdEVJFPcR
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 29, 2023
The midfielder spoke afterwards of the impact Hodgson has had and believes Palace are thriving under the veteran coach. It might be a short-term solution, but should Hodgson remain in charge for next season?
Brighton prove there will be life after sales
Roberto De Zerbi sprang a surprise with his line-up ahead of Brighton’s win over Wolves, as the Seagulls started Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Kaoru Mitoma on the bench.
With Evan Ferguson also out injured, Brighton were arguably without their four most saleable assets as the club brace for interest in their stars this summer. The Seagulls’ impressive campaign has attracted the attention of the Premier League’s top clubs and each of Caicedo, Mac Allister, Mitoma and Ferguson could be subject of transfer approaches at the end of the season.
Brighton emphatically answered questions as to how the club could cope with those losses after producing their best performance of the season in their absence against Wolves. Brighton won 6-0 to record their biggest ever Premier League win, with Deniz Undav, Danny Welbeck and Pascal Gross all scoring braces.
Brighton's season to remember continues! 🤩
⚽️⚽️ Welbeck pic.twitter.com/rvZ8QIiq22
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 29, 2023
It was total football on occasion from Brighton, who were four goals up at the break to reignite their push for Europe. Undav was excellent to score his first Premier League goals, while Welbeck and Gross – signed for a combined £3m – are unsung heroes in this side. Add in the improving Julio Enciso and an encouraging outing from Billy Gilmour and there’s reason to be positive about Brighton’s future regardless of what happens at the end of the season.
Exits are expected this summer, but Brighton’s thrashing of Wolves proved the Seagulls will be just fine. Their modern success has been built on a solid structure from top to bottom and an eye for talent. Expect that to continue.
Can Howe fit in-form forwards into the same team?
Eddie Howe has few problems at Newcastle right now, aside from fitting his in-form forwards into the same team. Newcastle moved a huge step closer to Champions League qualification after a come-from-behind win over Southampton at St James’ Park, a result which saw Callum Wilson come off the bench to score twice and turn the game around.
Wilson must be wondering just what more he can do to earn the nod at number nine on a regular basis, having scored a league-leading eight goals in April alone. Alexander Isak’s electric performances have seen the duo share duties in recent fixtures, with Howe reluctant to start both together this season.
When in tandem – most often when one has emerged from the bench – there have been encouraging signs, but Howe is cautious about upsetting the balance of a team that continues to win.
8 – Callum Wilson has scored eight Premier League goals this April, now the most by a player in a single calendar month for Newcastle in the competition, surpassing Alan Shearer's best of seven in September 1999. Soaring. pic.twitter.com/fJL0MmyhVK
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 30, 2023
Isak set up Wilson’s first goal against Southampton and with Champions League qualification edging closer, Howe might want to take a look at the prolific pair in partnership over the season’s final weeks. Each individually are among the form players in the Premier League right now and Newcastle find themselves in an envious position, attempting to accommodate two forwards of real quality.
Only complacency can stop City
Manchester City moved top of the Premier League after a hard-fought win at Fulham, as goals from Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez earned all three points at Craven Cottage.
This was a win hard-fought in the sense that it took a special goal from Alvarez to win it, but the end result seemed inevitable. It has done for some weeks, with their latest win a 13th in 14 games for City with 47 goals scored across that period. As Arsenal have floundered under the pressure of the run-in, City have swaggered above the north Londoners with ease.
Simply magnificent from Julián Álvarez 💫👏pic.twitter.com/dIqZEjylom
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) April 30, 2023
Even the trickiest tests have been navigated amid minimal fuss and it’s difficult to see how City are stopped from here. Guardiola has built a winning machine so well-oiled and slick it performs regardless of the cogs in use, with Kevin De Bruyne’s absence here no major issue.
Alvarez stepped in and was superb in support of Haaland, who scored his 50th, yes 50th, goal of the season from the penalty spot. Not since 1931 has a player reached 50 goals in all competitions in English football and just one, the legendary Dixie Dean, has ever scored more in a campaign.
City’s fifth title in six seasons appears a procession on current form, while a treble is becoming more probable with each passing result. Real Madrid will object to that stance, but history beckons for Guardiola’s side.
Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 34
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