LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 5 – Manchester City’s remorseless run to the Premier League title continued with a 1-0 win at home to Chelsea that left Pep Guardiola’s men a remarkable 18 points clear of the chasing pack.
Liverpool went second with a 2-0 win at home to Newcastle that saw Mohamed Salah score his 32nd goal of a remarkable season while Tottenham Hotspur beat Huddersfield by the same scoreline to maintain their top-four challenge.
Yet there was more misery for Arsenal and under-fire manager Arsene Wenger as the Gunners suffered a fourth straight defeat in all competitions with a 2-1 loss away to Brighton.
Below AFP Sport looks at five things we learned from this weekend’s action in the Premier League.
Kane can do more than score
Harry Kane failed to score for the sixth straight game, but more than played his part as Tottenham cruised past Huddersfield 2-0 on the back of a Son Heung-Min double.
The South Korean’s second came from a pinpoint in-swinging cross from Kane that pulled Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl out of position and required a simple nod of the head from Son to find the far corner leaving even visiting boss David Wagner impressed.
“We’ve seen an unbelievable cross by Harry Kane and they scored a wonderful goal. This goal said everything about the teams which met today.”
Cautious Conte on the brink
Antonio Conte is widely rumoured to be on his way out as Chelsea manager at the end of the season come what may in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
However, the end of Conte’s reign may even come sooner after the champions meekly surrendered to champions-elect Manchester City 1-0 on Sunday.
Not for the first time in recent weeks, Conte chose not to start a recognised centre-forward.
But this time there was no attacking intent from Chelsea to feed the speed and skills of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro Rodriguez on the break as Chelsea failed to muster a single shot on target.
A fourth defeat in five league games means Conte’s men are now five points off the top four.
Wenger trapped in vicious circle
Back-to-back 3-0 defeats by Manchester City in the League Cup final and league may be one thing; losing 2-1 away to a Brighton side who kicked off just four points above the relegation zone is something else.
It appears the only way Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger can rationalise the reverses — this was Arsenal’s fourth straight loss in all competitions — is to stay on and turn the tide. Meanwhile the defeats mount up.
One of his former players, Thierry Henry, summed up the prevailing mood of sadness thtoughout English football regarding Wenger’s position.
“What I don’t want to see is what’s happening to him, and I would like him to have the last word, whatever word it’s going to be,” said Henry, Arsenal’s all-time record goal-scorer.
Perhaps being pitied is the only thing that will shift Wenger from his stubborn desire to go on.
Liverpool making case for defence
Salah grabbed most of the headlines in scoring Liverpool’s opener against Newcastle, while Sadio Mane’s goal was the Reds’ 200th in the Premier League since Jurgen Klopp became their manager in October 2015.
Yet for much of that time, it has been Liverpool’s defence that has been the problem.
But the way goalkeeper Loris Karius and a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil Van Dijk and Andy Robertson combined at Anfield against a Newcastle side managed by former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, suggested the Merseysiders might at last be tightening up in defence.
Rock’n’ roll Swansea
Swansea went soaring up the Premier League table with a 4-1 win at home to West Ham.
Swans boss Carlos Carvalhal then departed from the usual post-match script by saying:
“There are times in football when you have to dance to the tune of your opponents….But today we put on our music, we put rock’n’roll on at the stadium and we made things very difficult for West Ham.”
Well, a few more results like this and Carvalhal really will be Top of the Pops with the Swansea faithful.