10 Premier League talking points as Chelsea collapse and Man City keep Liverpool at bay

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The Premier League once again delivered a weekend jam-packed with drama as headlines were written at both ends of the table.

On a day where Liverpool and Manchester City traded places twice within the space of an hour, Chelsea were stung by their neighbours while Tottenham emphatically made the most of their chance to put pressure on their own rivals, Arsenal, in the race for a top-four place.

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Meanwhile, Manchester United suffered more misery at Old Trafford as they limped to a drab draw with Leicester, while Everton slipped closer to disaster with another meek surrender against West Ham. Here, Mirror Football takes a look at the 10 main talking points from another pulsating weekend of Premier League action…

1. Bees buzzing

Not in their wildest dreams would Brentford fans have believed Thomas Frank’s side would take a huge step towards safety by beating Chelsea 4-1. The Stamford Bridge romp was Brentford’s first win over their neighbours since 1939 and was masterminded by Christian Eriksen. The signing of the former Tottenham playmaker, who collapsed while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020, is fast turning into a masterstroke and he capped another influential performance with his first Premier League goal since April 2019.

2. Title thrills

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Liverpool and Manchester City set up next Sunday’s title showdown perfectly with respective wins over struggling pair Watford and Burnley. Jurgen Klopp’s made it 10 consecutive Premier League wins against Roy Hodgson’s Hornets as Diogo Jota showed his heading ability once again and Fabinho converted a late penalty. City completed a routine 2-0 win at Turf Moor and will head into the Etihad Stadium clash one point ahead of Liverpool with eight games left.

10 Premier League talking points as Chelsea collapse and Man City keep Liverpool at bay
© John Powell/Liverpool FC Fabinho netted a crucial late penalty to keep Liverpool firmly in the Premier League title race

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Join the debate! Who do you think bagged the biggest result of the weekend in the Premier League? Let us know here.

3. Formidable Spurs

Tottenham broke into the top four with a 5-1 victory over Newcastle and are finding form at the right time to secure a Champions League spot. Harry Kane turned playmaker with two assists, Son Heung-min is in red-hot scoring form and Spurs have won five of their last six in the league. It promises to be a London race to the finishing line with Arsenal and West Ham also in good form and Manchester United fading fast.

4. Super Saint

Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse made it lucky 13 with another set-piece strike against Leeds. Ward-Prowse’s equaliser was his 13th Premier League goal scored from a direct free-kick, taking him above Gianfranco Zola and Thierry Henry in the top-flight pecking order. Only David Beckham, with 18, has more free-kick goals and TV pundit Alan Shearer expects Ward Prowse to eclipse the former England captain, saying: “He scored four last season, three this season. At 27, it’s only a matter of time.”

5. Toffees crunch

Everton‘s relegation fears deepened with a 2-1 defeat at West Ham and Wednesday’s trip to Burnley is now one of their biggest games of recent times. The crunch contest comes with the Toffees four points above the Clarets having both played 28 games. Everton are just one place above the drop zone having lost five of their last six league games. Boss Frank Lampard knows another defeat at Turf Moor could spell disaster for a side with the worst away record in the country.

6. Blues make a point

Chelsea made headlines for all the wrong reasons after they were battered by Brentford at the weekend, but it wasn’t just on the pitch that fans were feeling blue. Prior to Saturday’s derby match, the Stamford Bridge faithful took part in a protest aimed at the Ricketts family; one of the club’s high-profile suitors.

Although new ownership is desperately needed in SW6, the Ricketts’ – who also own the Chicago Cubs – attempts to entice Chelsea fans into backing their multi-billion pound bid has been met with fierce resistance following the use of Islamophobic language by family patriarch Joe Ricketts in emails that were leaked back in 2019. The 80-year-old isn’t part of the bid to take over the club – which is being headed by his son, Tom – but that hasn’t allayed fears over inclusivity.

And Chelsea fans made their point ahead of their clash with Brentford. Chants of: “You’re not wanted here, you’re not wanted here. F*** off Tom Ricketts, you’re not wanted here,” rang out loud and clear – and it’s getting harder and harder to see how the Ricketts family can be viewed as viable contenders to purchase the club in the wake of such open hostility.

7. Ralf wrecks it

Marcus Rashford is just one of a host of Manchester United players who has endured a particularly rotten season – but his misery reached new depths on Saturday evening after he was shunned again by Ralf Rangnick.

In the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, the German coach opted to deploy a system without an orthodox striker rather than turn to United’s misfiring academy graduate. It’s the second time that Rangnick has ignored the 24-year-old after doing so last month when United were mauled in the Manchester derby – and it underlines just how far Rashford has slipped down United’s pecking order.

But just weeks after backing Rashford to return to top form, Rangnick’s high-profile snub is only likely to set United’s attacker back. And considering how much brighter United looked with Rashford providing a focal point after his introduction on the hour mark, it can be argued that overlooking Rashford is another call that Rangnick has got wrong.

8. Seagulls’ slump continues

Neal Maupay spurned a golden chance to end Brighton’s winless streak after he missed a penalty in their goalless stalemate with struggling Norwich on Saturday. The drab draw at the AMEX means that the Seagulls’ slump has now extended to seven games without a win – a run that has taken some of the gloss off of the sterling work done by Graham Potter earlier in the season.

The Brighton chief was tipped as potential target for Manchester United earlier in the season after conjuring up a magical start to the season on the south coast. But Potter’s stock has started to slide in recent weeks; both he and the Seagulls will be grateful that they have their electric start to fall back on as their season continues to peter out.

9. Gerrard’s transfer warning

Steven Gerrard’s streaky start to life at Aston Villa continued after they were edged out 2-1 by their Midlands rivals, Wolves, at Molineux. Villa were soundly beaten by their neighbours – who condemned them to a third straight defeat – and a seething Gerrard pulled no punches in his assessment after the match; hinting that some of the club’s derby bottlers could be axed in the summer.

He raged: “It’s a game we never turned up for. We’re playing Wolves, a local rival, but you can’t come to derbies at half time. We’re looking like a 45-minute team and that’s on me – we gifted Wolves two goals. I’ve got to fix it and I will fix it. The players in the building have to help me fix it now. If not, we will get players in who will help me fix it.”

10. Hammers hang in there

West Ham kept their lofty European ambitions alive on Sunday afternoon with a gritty win over Everton. The result nudges the Hammers back into the top six at Manchester United‘s expense to leave them in with a shout of securing European football again.

Despite expectations that the Londoners would slip away after their stunning start to the season, David Moyes’ side have defied a plethora of injuries to key men to keep pace in the race for a European berth. The return of Jarrod Bowen – who netted the winner on his first start since fracturing his foot – could make all the difference for the Hammers in their bid to last the distance.

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