7 Things We Learned From Another Crucial Weekend of Premier League Action
Mon, 22 Apr 2019 18:14

7 Things We Learned From Another Crucial Weekend of Premier League Action

Mon, 22 Apr 2019 18:14

The once-in-a-lifetime title race between Liverpool and Manchester City once again saw both sides fail to blink, while we got a clearer idea of who will be safe from the drop, and who is likely to be off on their European holidays in 2019/20.

7 Things We Learned From Another Crucial Weekend of Premier League Action

​Yep, another weekend of Premier League action is out of the way, and were another step closer to the conclusion of what will be remembered as a historic season.
Have a look at some of the lessons to take from this round of fixtures below.
Ayoze Perez on the Right Spells Success for Rafa Benitez​
Ayoze Pérez has now equalled his best single-season tally for Newcastle2016/17: 36 games, 9 goals2018/19: 34 games, 9 goalsChasing double figures for the first time.  pic.twitter.com/KPBZCHFo8e

— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 20, 2019
If there were any lingering doubts over the safety of ​Newcastles Premier League status, they were put to bed on Saturday, as a ​3-1 victory over Southampton - courtesy of Ayoze Perezs hattrick - took them to the magic 40-point mark (41 to be exact). Cardiffs loss to Liverpool on Sunday then ensured the Magpies would be playing in the top flight again next season.
Perez had been criticised for his lack of influence earlier in the season, but ever since he has been moved to the right of a front three, he has been a revelation for the Magpies. Having featured there regularly since Christmas, he has now netted eight goals in his last 15 games.
Perhaps the most remarkable statistic, however, shows just how impressive Newcastle have been as a whole since changing their system to get the best out of him. While Miguel Almiron should take his share of the credit, they have taken 24 points from that 15-game run, and would be in seventh place if the season started in January. 
Phil Foden Is Ready to Replace David Silva
 @PhilFoden:"Everyone has their own plan, some go and some stay. I see myself playing here in the future, if I just keep working and keep improving each year.Thats what Im trying. I love this club and I want to play for them in the future and forever."[@stadiumastro] pic.twitter.com/5QqkR2Yjyg

— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) April 21, 2019
​In many ways, it was a weekend of firsts. Ayoze Perez scored his first ever hat-trick for Newcastle, and 18-year-old Phil Foden found the net for the first time in the Premier League 
While it was a fairly routine strike - an early diving header laid on a plate by Sergio Aguero - it gave them a crucial victory over Tottenham, and served to symbolise just how important he is going to be for them in the years to come. 
His tireless display - equally adept in closing players down to regain possession as he was in providing an attacking threat from midfield - showed us all that when 33-year-old David Silva decides to step aside, his replacement is ready and waiting.
Bournemouths Inconsistency Is a Very Serious Problem
Bournemouth wont be relegated this season - thats now a mathematical impossibility - but they have more than enough reason to be seriously concerned over their recent form. 
Having lost at home to relegated Fulham at the weekend, they now sit in 14th place, and have won just twice since that 4-0 victory over Chelsea in January. In that same run, they have lost seven matches, and have fallen from European contention to only just being sure of their Premier League status with three matches remaining. 
That win over Chelsea marked only the second time they have won back-to-back matches in all competitions, and though they are capable of impressive performances like in the 5-0 victory at Brighton last time out, they just cant replicate that consistently. They will be in trouble next season if they cant sort it out.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Needs to Re-Take His Driving Test
If Ole is indeed at the wheel as those of a Manchester United persuasion will tell you, then who was responsible for checking his license?
Since his impressive start to life as caretaker boss earned him a three-year deal at the end of March, you could say the club have been a car crash. They have lost four of their six matches, dropped to sixth place in the league, and exited the Champions League with a whimper at the hands of Barcelona.
4 mins: "Oles at the wheel, TELL ME how good does it feel"12 mins: Everton 1 - 0 Man UtdTELL ME.

— Paddy Power (@paddypower) April 21, 2019
Things have been spiralling virtually ever since, but their ​4-0 hammering at Goodison Park was undoubtedly the low point of Solskjaers management so far, perhaps the worst of many poor displays since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Maybe revoking his license at this early stage is harsh, but he is certainly worth a few points on it.
Arsenals Impressive Home Record Went Up in Smoke
Arsenal had not lost a league match at the Emirates​ since Manchester Citys visit back in  August. Alongside City and Liverpool, in fact, they had the best home record in the league by a distance, their 44 points beating Chelseas 38, Manchester Uniteds 35, and Tottenhams 34. To most, Crystal Palace didnt really stand a chance, but Christian Benteke thought otherwise. 
The Belgians 17th minute strike set the pace for Palace to record a 3-2 victory, and left the home fans - who had become so accustomed to winning in north London - in a state of shock. 
Their dismal away record seems to be coming to and end, however. Wins at Watford and Napoli put that right to an extent, so maybe were just seeing some cosmic balance restored.
Gerard Deulofeu May Fire Watford Into European Football
​Watford saw off Huddersfield in a routine 2-1 victory at the John Smiths Stadium at the weekend, as Gerard Deulofeu continued his sizzling form with another double. 
The Spaniard now has eight goals in nine matches, and after he scored twice to book an FA Cup final place at the expense of Wolves two weeks ago, his goalscoring exploits have also put the Hornets in eighth place, level on points with Everton, and with a game in hand. 
Given that they have two realistic cracks at qualifying for the Europa League in their own hands, you could easily argue that they are more likely than any of the chasing pack to make the cut - especially with the way Deulofeu is playing. 
Liverpool Are Handling the Pressure
Manchester Citys win over Tottenham on Saturday meant that anything other than three points for ​Liverpool would almost certainly cost them the title. Thats been a familiar theme in recent weeks, and once again, the Reds found a way to win, overcoming Cardiff thanks to a wonder-strike from Georginio Wijnaldum and a James Milner penalty. 
Remarkably, it was the sixth time since February that a City win less than 48 hours earlier meant Liverpool required a result, and every time, they have responded with a victory. Its been suggested the pressure is getting to Jurgen Klopps side, but the evidence suggests otherwise. 
Their 88 points now tops the final totals of seven of the last ten title-winning sides, and with three matches remaining, one more win will make them the only second-placed side ever to break 90 points, should Manchester City emerge victorious come May.