English Premiership

Five things we learned in the Premier League

2018-01-01 09:52
Jose Mourinho (Getty Images)

London - Manchester City dropped points in the Premier League for the first time since August, missing out on the chance to equal the record for the longest winning streak in Europe's top five leagues.

Elsewhere, Chelsea moved above a stuttering Manchester United into second place while Liverpool made it 15 matches unbeaten in all competitions with a come-from-behind win against Leicester City.

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

City must cope with injury blows

Manchester City will be disappointed with the end of their long winning streak after their 0-0 stalemate at Crystal Palace. But manager Pep Guardiola will be more concerned about injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne. Jesus, substituted midway through the first half with a suspected knee injury, could be sidelined for up to two months. De Bruyne was stretchered off in the closing minutes of the match and although the injury appears less serious than first feared, the Belgian could miss Tuesday's home match against Watford. The City manager called on referees to look after players. "I admire the physicality in the Premier League but the referees have to protect the players," he said. "Not just the best players. All the players."

Chelsea shine without Hazard

While Chelsea are lagging behind Manchester City in the title race, silverware in three other competitions is still up for grabs in 2018, so it was an encouraging afternoon for boss Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge as the champions thrived without Eden Hazard. Aided by Stoke manager Mark Hughes's decision to field a weakened team in the midst of the hectic festive schedule, Chelsea thrashed their hapless visitors 5-0 to record their biggest league win of the season, all with Belgian playmaker Hazard resting on the bench for the entire 90 minutes. Willian and Pedro picked up the slack, scoring a goal apiece and running Stoke ragged as Chelsea made it four wins from their past five league games. With Arsenal looming on Wednesday, Conte has Hazard rested and ready to rumble.

United short of ideas

Manchester United have produced some exhilarating attacking football this season even though they have failed to keep pace with their neighbours from across town. But they now have three straight draws against teams they would have expected to have beaten -- Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton. Romelu Lukaku was stretchered off early in Saturday's 0-0 draw against the Saints but by the end they had Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial all on the pitch -- none of whom were able to break the deadlock. Jose Mourinho's men look short of ideas and are right back in the mix among the clubs chasing Champions League berths.

Liverpool sweat on Salah

For all the talk this season about Liverpool's "Fab Four", Mohamed Salah has been the standout player at Anfield, netting 23 times for the club in all competitions to equal a club record set by Roger Hunt for most goals in a campaign before the turn of the year. But the Egypt forward limped off after scoring both of Liverpool's goals in their 2-1 victory against Leicester at the weekend. Jurgen Klopp will be crossing his fingers that Salah, second behind only Harry Kane in the Premier League scoring charts, with 17, will be fit for a tricky period coming up including a Merseyside derby in the FA Cup and a home tie against Manchester City.

Record-breaker Wenger

Arsene Wenger's record in recent years divides fans but one thing that is not in dispute is his ability to cling on. The Arsenal boss on Sunday moved past Alex Ferguson, marking a record 811th game in charge in the Premier League as his side drew 1-1 against West Brom -- and still raged at the referee for the disputed late penalty decision against his side.

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Saturday, 24 February 2018
Leicester City v Stoke City, King Power Stadium 14:30
Liverpool v West Ham United, Anfield 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Swansea City, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
West Bromwich Albion v Huddersfield Town, The Hawthorns 17:00
Burnley v Southampton, Turf Moor 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v Newcastle United, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Watford v Everton, Vicarage Road Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 25 February 2018
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur, Selhurst Park 14:00
Manchester United v Chelsea, Old Trafford 16:05
Thursday, 01 March 2018
Arsenal v Manchester City, Emirates Stadium 21:45
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