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    What we learned in the Premier League this weekend

    Last weekend’s premier league games raised a number of talking points. Chelsea continued their relentless pursuit of the title, Liverpool continued to falter and there were a number of crucial results at the bottom of the table. 

    There was an almost inevitable feel to Chelsea’s victory over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Saturday with Antonio Conte’s side looking invincible while the Gunners continued to stumble towards another lost Premier league season that promised so much but, once again, looks like it could well fail to bring the title to the Emirates. The game itself seemed all but over when Marcos Alonso headed in after Diego costa’s header had struck the bar. Arsene Wenger felt that Hector Bellerin was struck by Alonso’s elbow as they challenged for the header and Alonso’s elbow clearly struck Bellerin but it appeared to be his momentum that led them to clash and his eyes were solely on the ball as he went up for the header. Intentional or not, the blow was enough to force Bellerin off and his replacement Gabriel struggled to fill the void he had left. There was no questioning Chelsea’s second goal as Edin Hazard continued his revival with a goal of sheer quality as he ran from the half way line and beat several Arsenal defenders before calmly slotting the ball home. The humiliation was complete for Arsenal when former Chelsea ‘keeper Petr Cech played the ball straight to former Gunner Cesc Fabregas who casually lobbed the ball over the helpless Cech for 3-0. Olivier Giroud’s late consolation could not gloss over what was a poor showing from Arsenal and leaves their title hopes hanging by a thread. Conversely, Chelsea look odds-on to regain the title they so poorly defended last season.

    Tottenham continued to hang on to Chelsea's coat tails with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at White Hart lane. A Harry Kane penalty was enough to claim an important win and keep spurs nine points behind the leaders. The result means Boro have won just one of their last ten games and leaves them just a point off the relegation zone 

    Liverpool fell thirteen points behind Chelsea following a shock defeat to a swiftly improving Hull City side. Even the most die-hard tigers fan could not have imagined quite how big an improvement they would make following the arrival of manager Marco Silva. City have taken seven points from their last four games and now have a genuine chance of escaping relegation. Late goals at the end of the first and second half gave Hull a 2-0 win and left the reds without a Premier League win in 2017 and just a point above fifth place. It was reported that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gave his players a scathing half time team talk and he will be hugely alarmed by the sudden loss of form that his side have suffered. 

    Manchester United closed to within a point of fourth place with a comprehensive win over the reigning Champions Leicester city. Three goals in seven minutes gave United victory and left the Foxes just a point above the relegation zone when, exactly a year ago, they sat at the top of the league. It is a quite spectacular decline and it’s hard to pinpoint quite why they have faltered so badly. Some have even called for manager Claudio Ranieri’s head but surely he has earned the right to try and turn things around. How much time he will get, however, remains to be seen.

    It was a goal-fest at Goodison Park as Everton defeated Bournemouth 6-3. Romelu Lukaku was in imperious form as he claimed four goals. The toffees had led 3-0 inside half an hour before a second half Bournemouth comeback made it 3-2. Everton would not be denied and eventually overwhelmed Eddie Howe’s side leaving Bournemouth staring at the wrong end of the table.

    It was a disastrous day for Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce as his side suffered a horrendous loss to his former club Sunderland at Selhurst Park. Four first half goals, including three in five minutes just before half time, left Palace in shock and led to some unsavoury scenes, particularly when a fan appeared to confront Palace defender Damien Delaney at the side of the pitch. Delaney failed to return for the second half, although there was no suggestion that this was connected to the earlier incident. The result leaves Palace level on points at the bottom with Sunderland and will have Allardyce seriously questioning whether he can turn things around and maintain his impressive record of never being relegated from the top-flight as a manager.

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    Item Reviewed: What we learned in the Premier League this weekend Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Dave Cook
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