Premier League Weekend Five Things We Learned
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Premier League weekend: Five things we learned

Premier League weekend: Five things we learned from the weekend fixtures.

Havertz comes alive in Arsenal’s hour of need

Of all the slights to have been aimed at Kai Havertz in his career in English football, delivering when it matters most has not been one of them. The German has shown time and time again his ability to step up in crucial moments of big games and scored another precious goal to send Arsenal top of the Premier League table this weekend.

Havertz has winning goals in the Champions League and Club World Cup finals for Chelsea on his résumé and his late winner against Brentford was another added to his Arsenal collection. The summer signing has now scored late winners in both fixtures against Brentford this season, delivering six huge points that could be the difference at the end of the campaign.

The 24-year-old’s arrival at Arsenal was questioned in the early weeks of the season, though he has found his groove in a red shirt of late. Four goals and two assists in his last four league appearances have helped propel Arsenal’s run of eight consecutive wins since the turn of the year.

Just four teams have ever won their first eight Premier League fixtures of a calendar year. The previous three all went on to be crowned champions. Up next for league leaders Arsenal: Manchester City at the Etihad.

Dragusin depth boosts Tottenham top-four hopes

Tottenham’s season stuttered following a 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in November, a fixture that saw James Maddison and Micky van de Ven pick up serious injuries and two red cards for Ange Postecoglou’s side. The defeat kickstarted a run of five games without a win for the previous table-toppers, the sole extended downturn in what has been a largely promising campaign under the new manager.

Spurs addressed their need for additional depth with the arrivals of Timo Werner and Radu Dragusin in January, with the former having made an important contribution in recent weeks. Dragusin now looks set for a run of games after Van de Van picked up another hamstring complaint at Aston Villa, a bitter blow for Spurs given the Dutch defender’s impact so far this season.

The silver lining was an assured showing from Dragusin, who barely put a foot wrong in his 41 minutes on the pitch. Dragusin had been limited to just three brief substitute appearances before being thrust into action at Villa Park, but slotted in seamlessly alongside Cristian Romero and was largely faultless in his passing and positioning to earn Spurs three points and a clean sheet.

A statement win at Aston Villa has put Spurs back in control of their Champions League fate and the January arrivals could be the difference in getting Postecoglou’s side across the line.

Woodrow the latest Luton against-all-odds tale

Luton’s return to the top division of English football has been an incredible ride, becoming the first team to go from the top tier to non-league and back. Their rise from the fifth tier to the Premier League came across just nine seasons, following a period of financial hardship that saw Luton plummet down the divisions.

Luton were not expected to earn promotion from the Championship and their squad is packed full of players embracing a hard-earned, if unexpected, venture in the Premier League this season. From Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu’s rise through all five divisions to Ross Barkley’s renaissance, and Elijah Adebayo’s goal return, Luton’s season has been packed full of feel-good tales and Cauley Woodrow has now added his name to that list.

Given a chance in the side with Adebayo injured, he scored his first Premier League goal for a decade to rescue Luton a late result at Crystal Palace. The 29-year-old’s previous top-flight goal came against the same opposition in May 2014, scored for Fulham as a teenager.

It could yet be a crucial goal for The Hatters, who are three points from safety with a game in hand on Nottingham Forest above them. A win at Bournemouth in midweek will take Luton out of the drop zone.

Gary O’Neil emerging as Manager of the Season contender

Wolves could not have imagined their season would turn out like this. Julen Lopetegui’s walkout on the club on the eve of the Premier League campaign was problematic, with Gary O’Neil – somewhat surprisingly sacked at Bournemouth despite leading the Cherries to top-flight safety – brought in.

O’Neil’s appointment represented a gamble after one season of Premier League experience but has been a roll of the dice that has been rewarded. Wolves have been transformed from candidates for relegation into one of the division’s most-improved sides, with O’Neil’s team pushing for a place in Europe next season after beating Fulham this weekend.

Wolves have already matched their points total from last season with 10 games of the season still to play and are now within two points of a Europa Conference League place after West Ham dropped points at home to Burnley.

Having been the league’s lowest scorers last season, Wolves have become a real threat on the counter-attack and have already scored 11 more goals than they managed in 38 games last term. If Wolves end up in Europe, O’Neil should be right in the mix for individual acclaim.

Are we heading towards the greatest title race ever?

For sheer drama, Manchester City’s capture of the Premier League title in stoppage time of the final weekend in 2011/12 is unlikely to ever be beaten. Snatched with almost the last kick of the season, it completed a captivating final day and saw contrasting emotions on opposite sides of the Mancunian divide.

However, this season might just become the best-ever Premier League title race. Liverpool’s draw with Manchester City has narrowed the margin at the top further, with Arsenal climbing above that duo after beating Brentford the previous day.

Never before have three teams been this close at the top of the table at this stage of the season, with just one point separating the top three as we head into the final 10 games. Arsenal lead the league from Liverpool on goal difference and Manchester City are a further point back. Arsenal face the Citizens in the first fixture back after the international break, in a mouth-watering showdown at the Etihad.

Each of the three contenders have found real form since the turn of the year and the run-in will be decided by who can hold their nerve as the stakes continue to increase. Buckle up for what could be the best conclusion to a campaign we’ve seen.

Read – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 28

See more – Premier League Awards: Anfield epic, Fofana’s thumper

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