5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend
Paul Pogba belatedly makes his point in derby fightback.
Manchester United put the brakes on Manchester City’s title charge and Newcastle all but secured another season of Premier League football during another eventful weekend.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at what we learned from the latest round of fixtures in England’s top flight.
1. Write off Paul Pogba at your peril
Scoring two goals 🙌 Not letting City win 🙌🙌🙌🙌 Paul Labile Pogba's thoughts on yesterday's derby victory...Posted by Manchester United on Sunday, April 8, 2018
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been the topic of intense debate throughout the season, and his contribution at the Etihad Stadium fuelled further discussion. Whatever the merits of his choice of derby hairstyle, his first-half display played into the hands of his critics, while his two goals and overall performance after the break belatedly served as a reminder of his quality.
2. Rafa knows what he is doing
Even in the depths of a desperate run which saw his team collect just a single point from nine league games as 2017 drew to a close, Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez called for calm and insisted they would improve. Saturday’s 2-1 win at Leicester took the Magpies’ points tally since the turn of the year to 19 from a possible 33 with only Manchester City and Liverpool having beaten them on their way into the top 10.
3. Kane will claim anything
Another great away win. Definitely claiming that goal, flicked off my shoulder on the way in. Sure Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer will clear that one up on Match of the Day. 😀 #COYS #THFC #PremierLeaguePosted by Harry Kane on Saturday, April 7, 2018
Harry Kane’s capacity to find the back of the net has been a major factor in Tottenham’s recent rise to prominence and his appetite for goals shows little sign of being satisfied. What proved to be the winner at lowly Stoke on Saturday may be among the most tenuous he will claim during his career with Christian Eriksen’s free-kick barely ruffling the fabric of his shirt as, so he later asserted, it kissed his arm on the way to goal.
4. The relegation race is going to the wire
If Newcastle have edged themselves out of the fight for survival, the bottom eight clubs from Brighton downwards still have work to do after a weekend which proved frustrating for most of them. There were defeats for Stoke and Southampton and draws for the Seagulls, Huddersfield, West Brom, Swansea, Crystal Palace and West Ham as anxiety levels rise with time running out fast.
5. The Champions League trumps derbies
Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-final, second leg showdown between Manchester City and Liverpool had a significant impact on their respective derby clashes on Saturday. Kevin De Bruyne was used only as a substitute in City’s 3-2 home defeat by Manchester United, while Liverpool’s free-scoring forward Mohamed Salah was not even included in the 18 as he nursed a groin problem with one eye very firmly on European glory.