Manchester City moved 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League while nearest challengers Chelsea and Liverpool drew a thriller at Stamford Bridge.
Here we look at some things we learned from this past weekend’s fixtures.
City can handle it all
Yet again, Manchester City showed their champion quality and underlined why they are firm favourites to claim a fourth title in five years by coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1. It was an 11th successive win and further illustrated just how City seem capable of dealing with anything thrown at them. In recent weeks they have shown they can grind out victories over teams sitting back (Wolves), blitz sides playing more openly (Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester) and punish opponents who do not take chances (Brentford). Now, after Rodri’s injury-time winner at the Emirates Stadium, we know they can recover from setbacks and will fight to the end to get the points they need.
Chelsea and Liverpool lost ground on City over this past weekend after playing out to a compelling 2-2 draw. The game produced plenty of action and a number of talking points – but none bigger than the one Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel made before kick-off by dropping striker Romelu Lukaku. Tuchel decided to punish the £97.5-million striker for his comments in an interview released earlier in the week in which he said he was “not happy” with his role at the club. It was a bold decision by Tuchel, to deny himself the services of a potential match-winner, but emphasised his strength as a manager.
Standing is back
For the first time in more than 25 years, supporters were legally able to watch a top-flight match standing up as a limited trial of ‘safe standing’ areas began with the clash between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. It is obviously too early to draw conclusions with regard to overall safety based on one game but initial reactions to the trial, in terms of how standing can enhance the atmosphere at least, appeared to be positive. The situation will be closely monitored in the coming matches of the trial.
Arsenal getting closer to the top sides
Pressure mounting at Everton and Burnley
It has not been a happy few weeks at either Goodison Park or Turf Moor. After being hit by a number of postponements, Everton and Burnley have returned to action in recent days and been unable to deliver much cheer. With just one win in 12, Everton boss Rafael Benitez is under growing pressure after Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Brighton. They still have breathing space above the relegation zone but, in 15th, they are currently looking down rather than up. Concern will also be increasing at Burnley after their 3-1 loss at Leeds. The consensus remains that they should have the quality to pull away from trouble, but they remain in the bottom three and another opportunity to escape it has slipped by.
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