Talking points in the Premier League this weekend
Manchester City saw their unbeaten run come to an end but Liverpool continue to go from strength to strength.
Only one unbeaten team remain in the Premier League after the weekend’s action.
Here, Press Association Sport highlights five talking points from the nine fixtures.
City invincible dream over…
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will not be matching Arsenal’s invincibles after they were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea. A late run into the area by N’Golo Kante and a David Luiz header from a corner showed the rest of the Premier League some chinks in City’s armour. But City should have had more to show for their first-half performance and if they continue to play at that level, it will take something special to dethrone the reigning champions.
..but Liverpool remain on course
Liverpool, now the league’s only unbeaten team, could be that something special. Mohamed Salah’s hat-trick in the 4-0 thrashing of Bournemouth took him to 12 goals for the campaign and he is hitting top form at the right time. Next up in the Reds’ title quest is a home clash with bitter rivals Manchester United, a team they have not beaten in the league since 2014. The last two Anfield clashes have ended goalless, but it is hard to see Salah and company being denied by a side who have kept just two league clean sheets all season.
50 not out for Alli
Dele Alli scored his 50th Tottenham goal as Mauricio Pochettino’s side kept themselves firmly in the title picture. Spurs swept aside Leicester to close the gap to the top to six points, despite Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen being named on the bench at the King Power Stadium. In their absence, Alli shined and reached his milestone with a fine header from the impressive Son Heung-min’s cross. Spurs have won eight of their last nine games in all competitions and cannot be discounted in the title battle.
Juan impressive feat
Juan Mata has rarely been a guaranteed starter at Manchester United since joining from Chelsea, but the Spanish playmaker has still managed to rack up the goals and assists. His strike in the 4-1 win against Fulham was his 50th in the Premier League, 31 of which have come while playing for United, while his pass for Romelu Lukaku’s goal saw him accredited with a half-century of league assists. He is the third Spaniard to reach 50 in both statistics, joining David Silva and Cesc Fabregas.
No honeymoon for Hasenhuttl
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first game in charge of Southampton ended in a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff that left the Saints three points adrift of safety. The Saints need to respond to their new Austrian coach quickly or they risk being cut adrift. Between now and January 2 they have five games, which includes facing Arsenal and Manchester City at home and trips to Chelsea and fellow strugglers Huddersfield. For a start, they will need to cut out the defensive errors that cost them in Wales this weekend.