Cavani has been a shrewd signing and Son NEEDS Kane to shine
Cavani’s a shrewd signing, toothless Arsenal can forget top-six if they can’t be ruthless and Son Heung-min NEEDS partner-in-crime Kane… THINGS WE LEARNED from the Premier League weekend
- There were some huge results at both ends of the top-flight table this weekend
- Manchester City cemented their place as title favourites by winning at Liverpool
- Everton stunned United at Old Trafford by scoring an equaliser right at the death
- Here, Sportsmail picks out the 10 things we learned from this weekend’s results
Come the end of the season, last weekend could well be looked back on as the defining one in the Premier League at both ends of the table.
With Manchester United being dealt a sucker punch by Everton, Manchester City took full advantage to stretch clear at the top as they piled more misery on Liverpool to all but end their title hopes.
If the weekend didn’t belong to Pep Guardiola, then certainly the teams hoovering above the relegation zone would have a good case.
Every team outside the bottom three up to 14th picked up points while Sheffield United and West Brom both lost and Fulham failed to win at home, leaving an eight-point buffer between Burnley in 17th and the final relegation spot.
It was another weekend to forget for Arsenal as their alarming drop in form continued while Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham finally ended their losing streak after Harry Kane’s return inspired victory over West Brom.
Here, Sportsmail take a closer looks at last weekend’s results and pick out 10 things we learned.
Batman is not Batman without Robin and there is no Morecambe and Wise without Eric and Ernie.
Like all great double acts, Son Heung-Min is not the same dangerous attacking threat when Harry Kane is not in the team.
He is blunted without his partner in crime. In their 20 league games together this season, Son has scored 13 times and registered six assists. In the two games he’s played without Kane in the Premier League this season, he hasn’t scored or assisted.
But as it showed on Sunday, when Kane is playing, it lifts Son. They both scored in the second half to earn victory for Tottenham over West Brom – and Son admitted it was a big relief to have Kane back afterwards.
‘Harry Kane is so, so important for us,’ the South Korea international said. ‘He is one of the best strikers in the world. It was only a couple of games but we missed him a lot. Him coming back and scoring straight away, it’s what we needed. I missed him.’
Deadly duo Son (R) and Harry Kane were back to their best as they reunited in West Brom win
Signing Cavani was shrewd business
When Manchester United had agreed to pay a 33-year-old striker £9million a year, it invariably sent eyes rolling and stoked up more feelings of scepticism and despair.
It was further proof that United were a club with no clear transfer strategy or idea of what they were trying to achieve.
But Edinson Cavani has proven to be a revelation and put forward a good argument that he is deserving of being the club’s starting striker.
The forward showed how effective he can still be at the top level over the weekend by scoring United’s first goal against Everton – his sixth league goal of the season.
He has also registered the best goals-per-minute ratio and big-chance conversion rate of all of United’s strikers this term. And will undoubtedly make further contributions as we approach the business end of the season.
There was some method to the madness after all then.
Sofascore’s graphic shows just how important Edinson Cavani has been for United this season
The 33-year-old scored his sixth league goal this season by heading in opener against Everton
Manchester City could win the lot this season
There’s no better team in the land than Manchester City right now.
They’re already in the Carabao Cup final and will be nailed-on favourites to defeat Tottenham to win the competition, which has more or less become a formality for them each season.
They are only three games away from the FA Cup final and Championship side Swansea are next up and the Premier League is now there’s to lose after thrashing Liverpool 4-1 on Sunday, even with the significant absences of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne.
No one looks capable of beating Pep Guardiola’s men at the minute, and they will no doubt fancy their chances of winning the domestic treble this season.
As for the Champions League, we all know City’s past in this competition but confidence is sky high and this looks like the best chance of any season to finally end that curse.
It looks like there is just no stopping Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City this season
Toothless Arsenal CAN’T get top six if they continue to not score goals
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but you cannot win football matches without scoring goals.
That right now is the biggest problem for Arsenal. They have managed just one goal in their last three matches after being beaten 1-0 at Aston Villa on the weekend while their total for the season stands at a meagre 27 – the worst in the top ten and the same as Crystal Palace.
Mikel Arteta cannot possibly expect Arsenal to finish in the top six or anywhere near it for that matter on that kind of form.
They are already playing catch up as it is and their struggles in front of goal will be a huge concern for Arteta.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has endured a tough time on and off the pitch in recent months but Arsenal will need him to rediscover his scoring touch if they are going to have any chance of getting a place in Europe this season because Alexandre Lacazette is just not clinical enough to be their biggest scoring threat.
Arsenal have now only managed one goal in their last three Premier League games
Southampton are the most Jekyll and Hyde team ever
It was only a few months ago that Southampton were in the race for the top-four spots.
Now they’re just two wins above 17th-place Burnley. Out of nowhere, Southampton seem to have lost all confidence and direction.
Last season’s 9-0 defeat against Leicester sparked a rejuvenation. The initial response to last week’s thumping at Manchester United by the same scoreline has been the opposite.
A 3-2 loss against 10-men Newcastle followed this time and will raise further questions about Ralph Hasenhuttl’s position as boss, which not too long ago would have been as secure as Fort Knox.
It will be in-keeping with Saints’ yo-yo nature now to go and thump Wolves next weekend. But trying to guess what Southampton side is going to turn up each week is like predicting the lottery numbers.
Southampton were in great form for the first half of the season but are now in a worrying slump
Liverpool must put all their eggs into the Champions League basket
Jurgen Klopp’s prickly demeanour with the press screams of a manager coming to the realisation that the game is up.
The Premier League will not be heading back to Anfield this season, bar a miracle. Sunday’s defeat against City all but put the final nail in that coffin.
The silver lining from that is Liverpool can now put all their focus into winning the Champions League again.
There is a general feeling that Europe’s blue-ribband competition is up for grabs this season and Liverpool have lifted the trophy before when they were not even the kings of their own league.
The Champions League remains the ultimate prize and could save Liverpool’s season, which has otherwise so far been substandard.
Liverpool must try and win the Champions League to save their season from disaster
A goal is just around the corner for Werner
Timo Werner was prolific in Germany but is finding goals hard to come by in the Premier League.
He now hasn’t scored a league goal in his last 14 games – his last one coming way back in November. It’s been a tough introduction to life in the top-flight but Werner is showing signs that he’s beginning to turn a corner.
The forward’s performances in recent weeks have been improved and he played an inspirational role in Chelsea’s win over Sheffield United, setting up Mason Mount for the opener before winning a penalty for Jorginho to convert.
It feels like it is only a matter of time before Werner breaks his goal-drought and boss Thomas Tuchel is confident he will return to his scoring best soon. ‘Werner is more and more free, today I could really feel him on the pitch, he was absolutely in the game, physically and mentally, and he was decisive,’ the Blues boss said after Sunday night’s win.
‘This is the most important thing because if he can continue like this the goals will come, I am sure.’
Timo Werner is in a bad patch in front of goal but will break his drought sooner rather than later
Newcastle’s players are still playing for Bruce
There were whispers around the turn of the year that the Newcastle players had stopped playing for Steve Bruce.
Their recent performances have exposed that sentiment to be very far from the truth.
Newcastle’s players could have very easily felt sorry for themselves after following up a hugely impressive victory at Everton by losing at home to Crystal Palace.
But they showed real character to defeat Southampton on Saturday, especially when they had to play out the majority of the second half with just 10 men after Jeff Hendrick was sent off.
You don’t fight like that for three points unless you support the manager.
Miguel Almiron scored twice as 10-men Newcastle edged out Southampton on the weekend
Ancelotti has instilled fighting spirit at Everton
In years gone by, Everton would have never come back from two goals down at Manchester United to leave with a point.
But instead of folding, Everton stuck at it until the final moment and were rewarded with a last-gasp equaliser from Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
It showed there is a resilient side to Everton, who had to fight back twice to earn something from the match.
Scott McTominay’s header in the 70th minute to put United 3-2 up would have left the Everton players completely deflated after having all their hard work undone, but they still continued to graft.
That sort of team mentality is not established overnight, so Carlo Ancelotti deserves credit for instilling that in his players.
Everton were rewarded for their determination through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s last-gasp goal
Sam Allardyce’s relegation record all but gone
Safe-hands Sam has dropped the ball this time. For years, Allardyce has made a living off the back of his knack to keep clubs up.
But he’s going to need to find something else to put on his CV now because West Brom look dead and buried.
They are now 11 points adrift of Burnley in 17th place, who also have a game in hand over them, after losing to Tottenham over the weekend.
If Allardyce is going to have any chance of clinging on to his record of never being relegated, then West Brom need to pick up points in their next crucial run of games against Manchester United, Burnley, Brighton, Newcastle and Palace.
Otherwise Big Sam is getting stripped of his badge of honour.
Sam Allardyce looks set to lose his record of never having been relegated from the top-flight
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