10 Talking Points From Premier League Weekend As Liverpool And Man City Race Hots Up

Another week, another stalemate in the race for the Premier League title.

Manchester City win then Liverpool win – if this continues until May 12, as it looks like it will, Pep Guardiola will be lifting the trophy.

But the headline news – of a 2-0 win for City against Fulham and a 2-1 triumph for the Reds vs Tottenham – doesn’t demonstrate the easy nature of the former and nervy last gasp version of the latter.

Elsewhere in the Premier League this weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got his permanent rein off to a winning, if unconvincing, start against Watford.

Cardiff were left to rue some poor refereeing decisions as Chelsea came from behind to win.

There were also victories for Leicester and Everton.

Here are 10 talking points from the weekends’ action…

1. Title race is going to the wire

Liverpool refuse to be moved in this title race as they continue to chase down the imperious Man City.

After their title rivals stretched to four points clear on Saturday, this match was crucial to the Reds campaign.

It was hardly vintage Liverpool, and they looked to have thrown it away until lady luck shined on them to give them the late winner.

Every point will be vital between now and the end of the season, and it could go either way.

But one thing is for sure, this race is far from over.

2. Sergio Aguero leaves Quadruple in the balance

If City are to pip Liverpool to the title they are going to need Sergio Aguero.

So every fan of a light blue persuasion in Manchester will be praying the Argentine’s injury is not too bad.

Aguero was forced off in the 57th minute at Fulham, having scored his customary goal.

Pep Guardiola tried to play down the layoff but with Cardiff, an FA Cup clash with Brighton and Tottenham in the Champions League all fast approaching Aguero’s injury could determine whether a Quadruple is on.

3. Huddersfield: What was the point?

Huddersfield were finally put out of their misery with defeat to Crystal Palace.

The Terriers will play in the Championship next season having been sent down with six games to spare – an equal record with Derby’s hapless campaign.

But what will anyone remember about Huddersfield’s two-year stint at the top table?

Beating Manchester United? Aaron Mooy being okay? Harry Kane being the top scorer at the John Smith Stadium for at time?

Not really anything to write home about.

Undoubtedly it has been special ride for the Yorkshire residents but for the rest of the Premier League it is Auf Wiedersehen.

4. Ole’s at the wheel

It’s the dawn of a new era at Old Trafford.

And whilst he had already had 19 matches in the managerial hot seat, it was important for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to kick off his permanent reign with a win.

The United fans unfurled a banner before kick off paying homage to their ‘legendary’ boss, who took charge of his first match since signing a three-year contract.

It was a promising performance from United, and there is a positive feeling around the club with Solskjaer at the helm.

The win saw the Red Devils move into the top four, at least until Arsenal  play on Monday.

And with a Champions League quarter-final to come, it feels like the good times could well be returning to the red half of Manchester.

5. Saints glee but Brighton gloom

Pierre-Emerick Hojbjerg scored the goal that puts Southampton in the survival spirit – and gives Brighton nightmares.

Saints should now be safe and it is mostly down to the Ralph Hassenhuttl rebellion, with the German winning seven games since taking over.

In fact if the season started 15 matches ago, ie when Hassenhuttl took over, Saints would be eighth.

In the same 15 fixture table, Brighton would be 18th.

Chris Hughton’s side face Chelsea next but then simply have to beat Bournemouth, Cardiff and probably Wolves to stay up.

An FA Cup semi-final vs Man City next weekend, and a Wembley day out, may well have been the reason for the Saints slip up – but whatever the result they need to use it as a springboard for survival.

6. Mo Salah vs Sergio Aguero

Mo Salah took a swipe at critics over claims he is having a bad season – pointing at his goal record vs Sergio Aguero.

Egyptian Salah has grabbed 17 goals in the Premier League this campaign but has been slammed for not reaching the same levels as last year – where he scored an incredible 32 times to take the Golden Boot.

On the other hand, there has been high praise for Manchester City  front man Sergio Aguero for his 19 goals this season.

Argentine Aguero is the Premier League’s leading scorer – and is on course to better the 26 goals he netted in the 2014-15 season.

Salah, who is on an eight game scoring drought, pointed out the hypocrisy after Liverpool had overtaken City at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.

Salah said: “I haven’t scored for a couple of games, yes, but there are some players who have the same amount of goals as me but they are saying they are having the best season of their lives.

“Aguero has two goals over me and they say it is one of the best seasons so far.”

7. Warnock raging

We have been waiting for seven months but Neil Warnock finally delivered the goods after a highly controversial defeat to Chelsea.

Cardiff were unlucky – Cesar Azpilicueta was clearly offside and Antonio Rudiger probably should have been sent off – but Warnock losing his head is a schadenfreude moment for every other fan.

After the final whistle he stood, hands on hips, staring at referee Craig Pawson and his assistants.

“It’s the best league in the world but the worst officials,” Warnock raged. “They don’t understand what is at stake. They shouldn’t make mistakes at this level.

“Why am I working at 70 years of age for things like that to happen? It’s not very often I am lost for words.”

A truly iconic moment.

8. Dyche’s symmetry

Sean Dyche’s first game in charge of Burnley? A 2-0 victory over Wolves.

And his 300th? Yes, you’ve guessed it!

Not only was it a neat stat, the result hands the Clarets real hope of staying in the Premier League this season.

Dyche’s men are still just a place above the drop zone but are five points above Cardiff – albeit having played two games more.

Having lost their previous four matches it felt like Burnley were sliding but with Bournemouth and Cardiff on the horizon in the next two weeks survival is looking positive.

9. 40 points and stop

Last season West Ham reached 30 points with 11 games to go and safety all but secured before yanking the handbrake.

Just over 12 months later there was a spot of deja vu as Everton ran them ragged at the London Stadium.

The Hammers only managed a single shot on target as an early trip to the beach beckoned with 42 points on the board.

On the other hand, the Toffees have a sniff of seventh place and a potential Europa League place.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bernard and Richarlison in particular impressed in east London as Marco Silva’s men sit two points adrift of Wolves.

10. Vichai’s birthday

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha should have been 61 on Saturday and celebrating wildly from the Leicester directors box as Brendan Rodgers’ side tore Bournemouth apart.

The performance on the pitch deserved the infectious smile of the Thai businessman.

Instead, the Foxes offered free beer and cake to both sets of fans at the King Power Stadium.

With the season drawing to a close, and very little to play for, the raw emotions are still there over Vichai’s tragic death earlier in the season.

The tributes paid by Foxes fans are still spine tingling and even more so on his birthday.


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