English Premiership

Five things we learned in the EPL

2017-02-06 21:31
Harry Kane (Getty Images)

London - Chelsea effectively ended Arsenal's title challenge, Liverpool lost again and the Manchester clubs both made strides in the battle for Champions League qualification.

Here are five things we learned in the Premier League this weekend:

THE END MAY BE NIGH FOR WENGER

Arsene Wenger's touchline ban meant he watched Arsenal's 3-1 defeat at Chelsea from a vantage point high in the stands, but everything else about the occasion was grimly familiar. It was Arsenal's fifth successive loss at Stamford Bridge and left them 12 points below Antonio Conte's Premier League leaders, their hopes of claiming a first title since 2004 all but over for another season. A fan in the Arsenal end held aloft a banner at the final whistle that read "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, TIME TO GO" and Arsenal great Ian Wright said Wenger will have "some really serious thinking to do" at the end of the season.

MAN CITY HAVE A NEW HERO

Sergio Aguero started a second successive league game on the bench for Manchester City and it is a position he may have to get used to. Handed a third successive start in Aguero's place, Gabriel Jesus scored twice to earn Pep Guardiola's side a 2-1 win over Swansea City that sent them up to third place. The 19-year-old is renowned for his pace and trickery, but these were two striker's goals: a sharp volley to put City ahead in the 11th minute followed by a close-range tap-in in stoppage time after his header had been parried by Lukasz Fabianski. He now has three goals in four games in English football, while Aguero, 28, was left to admit he faces an uncertain future.

LIVERPOOL HAVE RUN OUT OF GAS

Liverpool's 2-0 home defeat by Hull City proved definitively that their title pretensions went out with the Christmas decorations. Not even the return to the starting line-up of Sadio Mane could energise them and questions are beginning to mount about Jurgen Klopp's training methods. So vibrant and energetic in the first half of the campaign, Liverpool now look jaded and have won just once in 10 games in 2017. The loss to Marco Silva's rapidly improving Hull left Klopp's men without a win in five league matches and results on Sunday saw them drop out of the Champions League places.

When Harry Kane stepped up to take a penalty in the second half of Tottenham Hotspur's tense clash with Middlesbrough, it would have been understandable if the England striker had crumbled under the pressure. Chelsea had moved 12 points clear of them earlier in the day and Kane had already headed a glorious chance over the bar and seen a goal disallowed for offside. But he was up to the challenge as he stroked home the spot-kick, giving him 16 goals this season and keeping Spurs in the title hunt.

MOURINHO SITTING MORE COMFORTABLY THAN RANIERI

When Jose Mourinho last faced the media after a match at the King Power Stadium, he was just days away from being sacked as Chelsea manager. Fourteen months later, he addressed the press with a smile after a 3-0 victory over Leicester City that gave his team renewed hope of a top-four finish and might have pushed Claudio Ranieri to the brink. The Leicester manager is now the bookmakers' favourite to be the next managerial casualty in the top flight after a fourth successive defeat leaves his team one point above the relegation zone. Leicester were a shadow of the team that bullied opponents into submission last season, capitulating meekly to goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata. "The last time I sat in this chair, the next day I was sacked," Mourinho said before ending his post-match press conference. It was a parting shot that might give Ranieri a sleepless night or two this week.

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Tuesday, 21 January 2020
Sheffield United v Manchester City, Bramall Lane 21:30
Everton v Newcastle United, Goodison Park 21:30
Crystal Palace v Southampton, Selhurst Park 21:30
Aston Villa v Watford, Villa Park 21:30
AFC Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vitality Stadium 21:30
Chelsea v Arsenal, Stamford Bridge 22:15
Wednesday, 22 January 2020
Leicester City v West Ham United, King Power Stadium 21:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 22:15
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Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool, Molineux Stadium 22:00
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