What did we learn in the Premier League over the weekend?
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Here’s a look at
10 five things which stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nick Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) share their observations from across an abbreviated weekend of Premier League fixtures.
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Let’s get to it.
1. Somehow, someway, top-four still there for Spurs (Aston Villa 0-2 Tottenham): Fun fact: 10 days before Christmas, Tottenham were top of the Premier League table with 25 points from 12 games and some onlookers — but not all — were talking about Mourinho’s men as title contenders. Since then, Tottenham have taken 23 points from 17 games, with 12 of the 23 coming in their last five games. Despite a barren run which saw them win just three times in 13 outings, Tottenham sit just three points (and two places) behind 4th-place Chelsea and still have a very real shot at qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, somehow, someway. Furthermore, Sunday marked Tottenham’s first win over a top-half side since beating Arsenal back on Dec. 6, 18 games ago. (AE)
3. Arsenal better with Lacazette (West Ham 3-3 Arsenal): It’s difficult for Mikel Arteta to trot out Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang together, not with Nicolas Pepe — a starter on most teams — and a bevy of promising young talents available for the attacking places. But Lacazette just keeps scoring, and probably deserves credit for the first goal that went down as a Soucek o.g.
Lacazette is on to 11 PL goals this season, his fourth-straight campaign with double-digit league markers and this one coming in just over 1700 minutes (His 10 last year came in just under 1900). Obviously he hasn’t replicated his 28-goal season that led him from Lyon to London, but 48 goals in 123 matches over four seasons isn’t so bad and Arsenal is 8-1-1 when he scores this season. (NM)
3. All wrong, all the time (Brighton 3-0 Newcastle): Needing goals, Bruce left two fullbacks who aren’t necessarily known for going forward (You could make an argument for Javier Manquillo but certainly not Paul Dummett). He put in Jeff Hendrick, a possession and defensive wreck, in when Hayden suffered his terrible injury. Down one, he took out Joe Willock for Jacob Murphy — like for like, in a sense — then put Sean Longstaff in for Miguel Almiron once the score was 3-0. Concerns about goal differential, if that’s why, are adorable: Newcastle’s margin was at minus-20 at that point and is five worse than its rivals for safety. (NM)
4. Fulham fight falling flat (Fulham 1-2 Leeds): Not only do Fulham trail 17th-place Newcastle United by two points, but the Cottagers have now played two more games than the Magpies, who have the pleasure of playing 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion (just a point above them in the Premier League table) this weekend. Fulham’s worst-case scenario come end of day on Saturday would Newcastle beat Brighton to go five points clear of the relegation zone, with Brighton falling into 17th while remaining three points ahead of Fulham, at which point both sides will still have played just 29 games to Fulham’s 30. (AE)
5. West Ham take lead, then done-in by fine margins (West Ham 3-3 Arsenal): Little deflections and missed chances kept the Irons from going level with fourth-place Chelsea, as Arsenal shook off the cobwebs from a midweek match against Olympiacos to fire forward with a blazing second half. But it wasn’t some spell of pure Arsenal dominance, as Michail Antonio was among several West Ham players to miss out on the goal that could’ve put the match to bed. (NM)