Arsenal squandered a 2-0 lead for the second consecutive week, making Manchester City agency favourites to win their fifth Premier League title in six years.
Injury-hit Manchester United took a doubtlessly decisive step in direction of ending within the prime 4 as Tottenham and Newcastle each slipped up whereas the underside three sides all misplaced.
Here are the most important factors from this weekend’s motion within the English prime flight.
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City heap stress on as Spurs rattled | 02:09
ARSENAL’S ‘HUGE MISTAKE’ COULD PROVE A TITLE TURNING POINT
Bukayo Saka held his head in his arms and Mikel Arteta trudged dejectedly down the tunnel after Arsenal’s damaging 2-2 draw at West Ham.
The Gunners, who had raced right into a 2-0 lead on the London Stadium, dropped factors they may in poor health afford to lose of their title duel with a Manchester City crew firing on all cylinders.
They additionally suffered the ache of a Saka penalty miss.
It is the second consecutive week they’ve dropped factors from two objectives up as questions over their psychological fortitude develop by the day.
“We made an enormous mistake to cease enjoying with the identical function to attain the third and fourth one and simply considering we might mess around them and simply appeared too simple,” Arteta stated.
“We didn’t perceive what the sport required within the second. We want that ruthless mindset in these moments to go and kill a crew. When the sport is there for the killing it’s a must to do it. Today we haven’t.
“Very disappointing. The approach we began was very good once more, we had been in complete management, then we misplaced function.”
Former England defender Matt Upson stated on BBC Radio 5 Live: “The key for them now’s don’t let the doubt creep in.
“The job for Mikel Arteta and his workers is to not permit the gamers to really feel down or adverse about themselves.
“But the style of how Arsenal misplaced that two-goal lead shall be a priority for Arteta, who appeared a little bit of a dejected determine, understandably.
“You need to hold successful and this fixture was a large alternative – they began brilliantly however they’ve simply let it slip away once more. What which means for them psychologically transferring ahead goes to be fascinating to see.”
Arsenal are nonetheless 4 factors away from second-placed City, who’ve a recreation in hand, however there’s a rising feeling that the Gunners’ younger squad are feeling the pressure of the title race.
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Pep Guardiola’s crew have received 10 matches in a row in all competitions and have title-winning nous after dominating the Premier League in latest seasons.
Sunday’s outcome units up a large potential title-decider between the highest two groups on the Etihad on April 27 AEDT.
City play Bayern Munich within the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final this week, earlier than going through Championship membership Sheffield United within the FA Cup semi-final on the weekend. That means they’ll have one other recreation in hand on Arsenal by the point they return to league motion within the blockbuster battle.
City supervisor Pep Guardiola stated this weekend “[it is] a ultimate in opposition to them within the subsequent Premier League recreation … If we lose this recreation it will likely be virtually over.”
But if Arsenal do fail to win this season regardless of main the league for the overwhelming majority of the marketing campaign, how dangerous would it not be for the younger Gunners?
Manchester United nice Gary Neville stated on Sky Sports: “They would have snapped your hand off to be on this place at first of the season. Arsenal ending second would nonetheless be an unbelievable season.”
But Roy Keane replied: “Everyone will get stronger subsequent 12 months. They won’t be on this place. It could be a catastrophe.”
Keane added: ‘It could be a horrible season. They’re out of each cup competitors. 2-0 up this week, 2-0 up at the moment. It’s an enormous disappointment.”
Ex-Chelsea ahead Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink added: “You are usually not allowed to lose factors at the moment. This will harm greater than dropping to Man City. The starting of the season doesn’t matter. To lose it now could be a catastrophe.”
For now, nonetheless, the main target is obvious.
“We have to recollect we’re nonetheless prime of the league with every thing in our personal arms,” captain Martin Odegaard stated.
Life isn’t all sunshine and bubbles for the Gunners.Source: Getty Images
UNITED PULL CLEAR IN TOP-FOUR RACE AS STAR ANSWERS CRITICS
Third-placed Manchester United at the moment are firmly on target to complete within the prime 4 and qualify for subsequent season’s Champions League. After three straight league wins they’re six factors away from fifth-placed Tottenham.
United travelled to relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest on Sunday (native time) with out their injured first-choice centre-backs Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in addition to topscorer Marcus Rashford.
But Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen (in his first look since January) pulled the strings in a powerful show, whereas the much-maligned Antony had a objective and an help.
The 23-year-old winger arrived from Ten Hag’s previous facet Ajax for £81m in August, the fourth costliest switch in Premier League historical past. After a brilliant begin noticed him rating in all three of his first league video games, he failed to attain a single objective since October – a woeful 15-game goalless drought that noticed him take 38 pictures with out discovering the web.
He has now picked up eight objectives and two assists in 35 appearances, however enhancing his finish product stays essential.
“We stated we wished extra objectives and assists out of Antony and he produced,” former Premier League striker Clinton Morrison informed BBC Radio 5 Live after the sport.
“I believe he was the distinction between the 2 groups.”
Antony is lastly again firing.Source: Getty Images
Ten Hag stated: “Antony is aware of and I do know that when you’re a striker, you want an finish product.
“But already he has numerous finish product — he has scored in all of the competitions now.
“Eight or 9 objectives in his first 12 months at United shouldn’t be dangerous and he nonetheless has video games to go.”
The massive concern for United is their damage toll, with 4 injury-forced adjustments for the match. Besides Martinez and Varane, Tyrell Malacia was dominated out whereas Marcel Sabitzer was injured within the warm-up. Goalkeeper David de Gea gave the impression to be combating a limp within the first half, with reserve Jack Butland warming up and able to exchange him.
Nevertheless, the promising return of Eriksen was an enormous enhance, whereas Antony discovering type might make a severe distinction to their top-four hopes.
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ON FIRE VILLA GET LAST LAUGH OVER MAGPIES STAR
Although Aston Villa got here into their conflict in opposition to Newcastle United on the again of purple scorching type – specifically six wins from their final seven – eagle-eyed observers can have identified the issue of their opponents.
The victories all got here in opposition to groups within the backside half of the league with the notable exception of Chelsea; a loss that finally spelled the tip for Graham Potter’s tenure at Stamford Bridge.
With a recreation in opposition to Newcastle, a crew who had been on a five-game successful streak themselves, it might be the final word check to see simply how far Unai Emery’s Villa Park revolution had come.
What transpired over the next 90 minutes left Toon followers scratching their heads in disbelief because the Villa Park trustworthy had been in dreamland.
Ollie Watkins hit the submit contained in the opening 40 seconds, a warning signal Newcastle by no means heeded. Watkins laid on the help for Jacob Ramsey’s opener within the eleventh minute and ran the Toon backline ragged.
Even Newcastle legend Alan Shearer might scarcely imagine how limp his former employers had been.
“Should be 3-0 down,” Shearer wrote on Twitter. “Newcastle can’t get close to Villa on the minute. Terrible begin for the Toon.”
Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa can’t cease scoring.Source: Getty Images
Despite the first-half dominance, Emery’s facet led solely via Ramsey’s objective and there was a touch of concern amongst Villa followers Newcastle might make the hosts pay for failing to capitalise on the plethora of alternatives they’d.
Those fears shortly subsided as Villa saved their foot on the fuel pedal as Watkins obtained the objectives his efficiency deserved within the sixty fourth and 83rd minute, making it 11 objectives in his final 12 video games.
Once the full-time whistle blew, Shearer was left in disbelief at what he’d seen.
“Well performed Villa. Brilliant at the moment,” Shearer wrote. “Not many groups have performed this to Newcastle. They have battered them from begin to end and been higher in each place.”
Speaking earlier than the sport, Newcastle striker Callum Wilson laughed at his opponents on The Footballer’s Football Podcast, joking: “Aston Villa are on fireplace? Let them know the fireplace brigade are on the town … it seems to be like we should put the fireplace out.”
After the match, Villa captain John McGinn hit again, saying: “Actually, I didn’t discover that however like numerous emergency companies on the minute, the fireplace brigade will need to have been on strike …”
The 3-0 win was as emphatic a solution Emery might have dished as much as the critics as Villa moved to inside six factors of the Champions League locations.
Spurs, who conceded a last-gasp objective in dropping 3-2 to Bournemouth, and fourth-placed Newcastle, hammered 3-0 by Aston Villa, will now be trying nervously over their shoulders.
Champions League qualification could appear a far-fetched dream, however with 5 wins on the trot and Watkins in unstoppable type, maybe it’s nearer to actuality than some might care to confess.
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LAMPARD’S BIG PROBLEM
Chelsea slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion, their third defeat in seven days below new interim supervisor Frank Lampard.
It leaves them winless in six video games (all competitions) and down in eleventh, with their slim hopes of qualifying for the European locations fading by the minute.
Lampard grew to become the membership’s third supervisor of the season when he changed Graham Potter – however is clearly struggling for solutions to the essential drawback that laid his predecessor low.
In his three video games in every week, Lampard has fielded 19 starters and used a distinct formation every time.
He began with a 4-3-3 in opposition to Wolves, swapped to a 3-5-2 in opposition to Real Madrid in a midweek Champions League conflict, then went for a 4-2-3-1 in opposition to the Seagulls.
But adjustments in personnel and formation had little impression in opposition to Brighton, who took 26 pictures to Chelsea’s eight in a dominant efficiency regardless of the Blues taking an early lead.
So determined has Lampard appeared to discover a profitable mixture of gamers and formation that he delivered a uncommon quadruple substitution in opposition to Brighton.
On got here Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, Joao Felix and Hakim Ziyech for Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernandez, Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling.
Then, after happening 2-1, Lampard made ANOTHER tactical change, transferring to 4-4-2.
If he can’t discover an efficient formation and beginning XI quickly, the Blues might endure a torrid end to the 12 months.
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HODGSON DELIVERS IN STYLE
The determination to convey former supervisor Roy Hodgson again to Crystal Palace final month seems to be impressed.
The crew have scored 9 objectives in three Premier League matches because the ex-England boss returned to Selhurst Park — as many as they’d netted of their earlier 16 league video games between November 2022 and March 2023.
Chairman Steve Parish spoke of the “instant requirement of holding us within the league”, when he appointed the 75-year-old to exchange the sacked Patrick Vieira.
Three video games and three wins later, Palace are 9 factors away from the relegation zone and are near security.
Eberechi Eze, who scored each objectives in Saturday’s 2-0 win in opposition to backside facet Southampton, stated Hodgson had taken the shackles off.
“We’re enjoying with much more freedom, extra vitality, and we’re a lot extra constructive, which is a big credit score to the gaffer coming in and serving to us with that,” he stated.
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