The Premier League weekend left two doozies for Monday and Tuesday, but there’s still a heck of a lot to discuss from Saturday and Sunday.
Newcastle and Manchester United united to all but formalize the top four picture, while Liverpool and Spurs staged an encounter fitting of top-four attacks.
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The relegation picture got a little clearer, especially for last-place Tottenham, while setting up well for a winner of Monday’s big Leicester vs Everton tilt (Watch live at 3pm ET Monday on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com).
And then there’s Tuesday, where Arsenal and Chelsea will hope the occasion of a fierce London derby will shake them free of their doldrums (Watch live at 3pm ET Tuesday onUSA Network and online via NBCSports.com).
Here’s where our writers are living, as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE), and Nicholas Mendola (NM) share their observations from across the most recent PL games.
10 things we learned in the Premier League: Week 33
1. Tottenham finds defiance, but Liverpool had it all along (Liverpool 4-3 Spurs): There’s this line from Tom Hardy’s Bane in one of the Batman movies where the villain says to the hero, “You merely adopted the dark. I was born it.” That seems a pretty fitting way to describe Liverpool’s response to coughing up a 3-0 lead to Spurs at Anfield. For as inconsistent and downright poor as Liverpool has been at times this year, we’ve seen Jurgen Klopp’s club shake off any number of situations that would’ve felt insurmountable for others. Credit Ryan Mason’s Spurs for defiantly coming back from 3-0 down after 15 minutes, but the Reds always looked a team that could strike again… and did just that in stoppage time. (NM)
2. Another ho-hum complete Man City win featuring another Haaland record (Fulham 1-2 Man City): It’s a huge win, don’t get us wrong, the one that put Manchester City back into the first on the Premier League table, but in the wake of their 4-1 win over Arsenal, which reclaimed Premier League title control and concluded a four-match run in which City scored 15 goals, this was all so formulaic. City hasn’t lost since a 1-0 setback at Tottenham on February 5. Not one loss in any competition. Next. (NM)
3. Savvy, serious Man United shut down Aston Villa (Man Utd 1-0 Aston Villa): Erik ten Hag partnered Victor Lindelof with Luke Shaw behind Casemiro, and the trio was solid enough that all United needed was a goal to get the job done. Ten Hag’s four-man midfield, if we can call the lineup a 4-1-4-1, was ready to feed Marcus Rashford as Christian Eriksen and Marcel Sabitzer showed nous in fighting for every blade of grass with intent to move the ball forward. This was very much a sign of how adaptable United’s become, as missing Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez is not enough to fight on in Europe but certainly not the end of hopes for beating a very In-form Premier League visitor. There were desperation blocks for Lindelof and others, yes, as Villa wasn’t going down without a fight. But the Red Devils were very much at the fore of this match. (NM)
4. Red-hot Newcastle cannot be stopped (Newcastle 3-1 Southampton): Yes, they have a trip to Arsenal next week but at this rate they go into it as favorites. Newcastle have scored 13 goals and secured three wins this week as Eddie Howe’s side are blowing opponents away with incredible spells of attacking play. The second half showcased just how good they can be and they should have scored double the amount of goals they scored against Southampton. Newcastle are scary. (JPW)
5. Leeds in freefall with latest ‘six-point’ loss (AFC Bournemouth 4-1 Leeds): They have now failed to win any of their last five and have been outscored 18-5 in that run. Leeds are all over the place and Javi Gracia may well be out before the final four games of the season. Leeds have no identity, players look confused, and they are just a team of individuals going out there and hoping for the best. From the team which made such a splash under Marcelo Bielsa, this is sad to see. (JPW)
6. Tottenham fought, but the belief reservoir was expended (Liverpool 4-3 Spurs): This game wanted to give you more storylines. Once it ended, we’re not sure what we learned other than both sides have a lot of work to do this summer, and that Tottenham only had enough juice in the system to get back to 3-3, not to hold on or push for more. While you can credit Spurs for fighting back from 3-nil, you saw a little bit of the “switched-off” mentality right after Richarlison’s stoppage time equalizer. And to be fair, can we really say that we’ve seen much from Tottenham this season that screams, “We’re back and you better believe it?” There’s no reason to really believe in Spurs outside of Harry Kane right now, and who knows his mind at this point? (NM)
7. Brighton’s belief a rude wake-up call for Wolves (Brighton 6-0 Wolves): Wolverhampton Wanderers looked utterly powerless to stop Brighton and Hove Albion from doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. When was the last time you saw a team get two goals each from three different players? If for some reason you have an example or two handy and those examples weren’t in your men’s, women’s, youth. or co-ed league, then when did you see it happen inside of an hour? Wolves were very much at the beach and Julen Lopetegui is certainly going to let his players have it either after the game or in their return to the training ground. Wolves look safe from relegation, anyway, but their goals for next season will be much higher than that and performances like this are unacceptable. (NM)
8. West Ham still not safe despite surge (Crystal Palace 4-3 West Ham): The Irons play against Manchester City and Manchester United in their next two Premier League games and they have a clash against Brentford sandwiched in-between two Europa Conference League semifinals against AZ Alkmaar. They are the favorites to win the Conference League but West Ham are also still in danger of being relegated from the Premier League. The last thing David Moyes would have wanted is tough decisions to make when it comes to team selection for the upcoming semifinals but he may have to rotate his lineup and prioritize the game against Brentford to try and secure West Ham’s Premier League status. Their last two games of the season are against Leeds and Leicester and could be massive relegation six-pointers. (JPW)
9. Move on from Bees’ sting quickly, Forest (Brentford 2-1 Nottingham Forest): The next one is the big one for Forest. Not, not a big one; the big one. Not only is it the next game, but it’s against last-place Southampton — Forest’s best remaining chance at three points. That game will be the final fixture of Matchweek 35, late on Monday (3 pm ET), so by the time Steve Copper’s side plays again, both Leicester and Everton will have played twice, meaning that Forest might not only be in the relegation zone the next time they take the field, but they might even find themselves in 19th. Chelsea, Arsenal and Crystal Palace remain on the fixture list to close out the season. (AE)
10. Villans victimized by lack of sharpness up front (Man Utd 1-0 Aston Villa): Unai Emery will see plenty of his former successful sides in the showing Manchester United made Sunday at Old Trafford. What he didn’t see in his own side was cutting edge. Ollie Watkins, Emi Buendia, and Jacob Ramsey have been so good for Villa in recent weeks but it just wasn’t there today. In a one-goal game at Old Trafford, the margins are so thin. Like Villa did to Newcastle a few weeks back, United frustrated a lively in-form opponent with control. It just couldn’t get that second goal to make things comfortable. (NM)