26 February 2023

Arsenal keep their noses in front of Man City – 5 things from the Premier League

26 February 2023

Arsenal kept their noses in front of Manchester City in the Premier League title race with another impressive away win.

Tottenham strengthened their top-four ambitions with a first victory over Chelsea at their new stadium amid some more VAR controversy, with the pressure mounting on Graham Potter, while Liverpool stuttered again.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

City respond but Arsenal march on

Manchester City ensured there would be no repeat of the surprising 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest last weekend, where missed chances were the key, as they cruised to a 4-1 win at Bournemouth, with the game sealed with a 3-0 half-time lead. It was a good response from Pep Guardiola’s side but they were unable to gain any ground in the title race as Arsenal continue to march on. Their little blip appears to be firmly behind them as they followed up their late win at Aston Villa with another midlands victory, this time at Leicester. It kept them two points in front of City, with a game in hand, and it is a title battle that looks like it could go down to the wire – with the April 26 clash between the two getting bigger and bigger as each week passes.

Spurs pour misery on Chelsea

If Tottenham were ever going to break their duck against Chelsea at their new home then it was going to be now. Spurs had not even scored against their London rivals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but came up against a Blues side at a low ebb. Goals from Oliver Skipp and Harry Kane ensured Antonio Conte’s side tightened their grip on the top four while also making Chelsea’s situation a whole lot worse. The pressure is cranking up on Graham Potter, whose team have won just one of their last 11 matches. It might have been worse for the Blues had there not been more VAR controversy. Referee Stuart Attwell gave Hakim Ziyech a red card amid confusing scenes before being advised to check the monitor, after which he overturned his decision. It could have been the right decision but the lack of communication at what was going on will raise more questions.

Liverpool falter again

Liverpool opened the door to Champions League qualification last weekend with a 2-0 win at Newcastle but they failed to kick it through this weekend as they laboured to a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace. It completed a bad week for the Reds as any hopes of qualifying for the elite European competition next season by winning it looked to have been extinguished after a 5-2 defeat to Real Madrid in the last 16 first leg. Spurs’ win did not help Liverpool as they are now nine points off fourth, though do have two games in hand. But they will desperately need to improve on their Selhurst Park showing if they have any hope of closing that gap.

Four-star Hammers capitalise

For 71 minutes West Ham must have been thinking it was going to be a frustrating afternoon as Nottingham Forest were holding firm, but things soon turned in their favour. A four-goal blast in the space of 14 minutes earned their best win of the season and moved them out of the bottom three. It ended up being a decent day for them as most of the teams around them were beaten, and with their home form picking up in 2023 they will hope that the only way is up.

Gracia gets new manager bounce

Javi Gracia’s first match in charge of Leeds could not have been any bigger as they welcomed Southampton, who were playing for the first time since appointing Ruben Selles until the end of the season. It was the former Watford boss who won the battle of the new managers thanks to Junior Firpo’s second-half goal. It was United’s first win since the World Cup and moved them out of the bottom three. For Saints, this was a poor follow-up to their landmark win over Chelsea last week and they are sitting at the foot of the table as an enthralling relegation battle ensues.

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