Friday 24 January 2020

5 things we learned from the Premier League weekend

Arsene Wenger was given a warm reception at Old Trafford while the scrap to avoid relegation got interesting.

Manchester United v Arsenal – Premier League – Old Trafford
Manchester United v Arsenal – Premier League – Old Trafford

By Press Association Sport staff

Manchester City continued their pursuit of records while Arsene Wenger was given a different reception to normal at Old Trafford.

The scrap to avoid relegation at the bottom, meanwhile, shows no sign of simplifying, with 10 clubs still mathematically involved.

Here, Press Association Sport picks out five things we learned in the Premier League this weekend.

Fond farewell

Manchester United v Arsenal – Premier League – Old Trafford

Wenger continues to find that some unexpected people have a lot of nice things to say about him. For most of the 1990s and 2000s it would have inconceivable to imagine Wenger’s departure from Arsenal being marked by applause at Old Trafford and a presentation to him by Sir Alex Ferguson. But time, and a lack of direct competition, have mellowed a once bitter relationship. Generosity did not extend to the result, though, as Marouane Fellaini headed a stoppage-time winner.

No let-up from City

Any of City’s opponents hoping that winning the Premier League title might have sated them will have been swiftly disavowed of that notion. They followed up last weekend’s 5-0 victory over Swansea by beating West Ham 4-1, a scoreline that profoundly flattered David Moyes’ side. City have reached their century of goals and victory in their final three games would see them rack up a ton of points. Premier League points and goals records are all but assured.

West Brom aren’t finished

�� What a man ���� #WBA

Posted by West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Baggies have been written off for months yet Darren Moore’s remarkable impact since taking over as caretaker manager means they are still alive with two games left. A 1-0 victory at Newcastle on Saturday, Moore’s second in four matches, reduced the gap to safety to five points. Survival remains hugely unlikely but, whatever happens, it would be harsh on Moore not to give him the job permanently.

Party at the Palace

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West Brom have looked doomed for so long that it is easy to forget it was Crystal Palace that made the disastrous start. Pointless and goalless after seven games, Roy Hodgson’s transformation is almost complete, with Palace up to 11th following their 5-0 thrashing of Leicester and surely safe. Wilfried Zaha was again the star and is increasingly looking like England’s one-that-got-away.

Burnley let themselves down

Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Turf Moor

The headlines after Burnley’s draw with Brighton should have been that they are virtually assured of European football in a season where they have barely put a foot wrong. But instead it was their fans’ booing of Brighton’s Gaetan Bong after his accusation of racism against Jay Rodriguez was unproven that drew attention. Brighton boss Chris Hughton was strong in his condemnation and rightly so. Yes, Rodriguez is a Burnley product but he has not played for the club since 2012 and it was crass and unnecessary for the Clarets’ support to get involved.

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