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5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend


Alexis Sanchez was left sat behind Arsene Wenger for the first half at Anfield

Alexis Sanchez was left sat behind Arsene Wenger for the first half at Anfield

Alexis Sanchez was left sat behind Arsene Wenger for the first half at Anfield

Premier League leaders Chelsea were not in action this weekend, due to visit West Ham on Monday, but there was no shortage of talking points from the remaining matches on show.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned from the latest round of fixtures.

1. Wenger's gamble was misguided

Arsene Wenger described himself as "strong enough and lucid enough" to objectively judge the merits of dropping his top-scorer and best player, Alexis Sanchez, at Anfield. Strength and lucidity are valuable qualities but so is basic common sense and the Frenchman showed none of that in benching the Chilean. Liverpool were 2-0 up by the time he corrected his mistake at half-time and he immediately got the Gunners back up and running, albeit en route to a 3-1 defeat. The future of both men at the club is in doubt and events this week have muddied the waters yet further.

2. Shakey start

There has been a sense of unease in the football world at the gusto Craig Shakespeare has shown for taking over from his former boss Claudio Ranieri at Leicester. The Foxes coach has been cast as a modern day Brutus with Ranieri in the role of another unceremoniously toppled Roman, Julius Caesar. But a second victory in a row, this time over relegation rivals Hull, means he is off to a rollicking start in the top job. The club's owners value Premier League survival and a united team above all else and Shakespeare looks like he can deliver both.

3. Spanish stag obscures the real issues

The fact referee Anthony Taylor hit Marbella for a stag party last week, attended by fellow official Kevin Friend, has received plenty of attention after both men turned in less-than-optimal performances this weekend. Taylor awarded Burnley a penalty for a handball committed by their own player, Sam Vokes, while Friend failed to punish ugly incidents involving Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings as well as seemingly forgetting he had booked Andrew Surman twice. The case for video assisted decisions and the folly of violent acts on the pitch will linger on, a pre-wedding party will not.

4. The bottom three could be settled

It is not so long since the relegation fight seemed to have six or seven viable candidates and little obvious pecking order. Now it seems like those who currently occupy the drop slots - Sunderland, Hull and Middlesbrough - could easily stay there. Bournemouth picked up a precious, battling point at Manchester United, Leicester and Crystal Palace appear to have woken from a slumber and Swansea are in rich form under Paul Clement. The signs of life at the troubled trio are significantly less obvious .

5. Kane continues to dazzle

The debate about Harry Kane's quality has long been settled - not even a dodgy Euro 2016 can disguise the fact that he is a centre forward of true class. But he now appears to be thriving on the responsibilities he shoulders. After reeling off three hat-tricks in nine matches he went up against the Premier League's other in-form marksman, Everton's Romelu Lukaku, and bagged two more to go clear as the division's top scorer. England and Tottenham now have a player who can face down expectations and surpass them in style. The sky is the limit.

PA Media