Premier League highlights: 10 talking points as Man Utd scrape win and Liverpool survive scare

The Premier League heads right into a two-week hibernation interval in an intriguing state following a weekend of eye-catching outcomes.

We now have a 12-day break till the following prime flight match, with most groups not again in motion till February 8 or later.

That point off shall be treasured by managers who’ve been compelled to navigate a relentless winter schedule which has been made even tougher by coronavirus outbreaks.

Manchester City stay prime, however their 1-1 draw with Southampton has given Liverpool some encouragement after their 3-1 win over Crystal Palace lower the hole to 9 factors, with Jurgen Klopp’s aspect additionally having a recreation in hand.

Elsewhere, Manchester United loved a near-perfect weekend, beating West Ham 1-0 to leapfrog the Hammers into fourth place earlier than Arsenal didn’t beat Burnley in a 0-0 stalemate.

Listed below are Mirror Soccer’s 10 largest speaking factors from the weekend’s motion….

Rice impresses potential suitor

Declan Rice was the stand-out participant at Outdated Trafford
Naomi Baker/Getty Photographs)

With West Ham United’s top-four problem maybe fading, followers shall be nervous in regards to the prospects of Declan Rice nonetheless being on the membership subsequent season.

The 23-year-old was the most effective midfielder on the pitch on Saturday as West Ham went down 1-0 to Marcus Rashford’s last-gasp winner for Manchester United at Outdated Trafford.

England worldwide Rice, taking part in in a holding function but additionally concerned in a few of West Ham’s greatest attacking forays along with his skill to hold the ball and distribute merely and successfully, appears to be like precisely the type of participant United want.

With United’s midfield nonetheless struggling to regulate video games, Rice may very well be on the radar of United’s hierarchy as they search to shut the yawning hole on Manchester Metropolis and Liverpool subsequent season.

Fortunate Liverpool taking high-line danger

Liverpool’s excessive line gave up some big probabilities towards Palace
Marc Atkins/Getty Photographs)

Up 2-0 and cruising, Liverpool’s defence nearly got here unstuck within the second half away to Crystal Palace because the hosts lastly received their timing proper.

The Eagles beat Liverpool’s offside entice repeatedly as they chased the sport, and solely Alisson Becker’s man-of-the-match show between the posts saved them from dropping factors in what turned out to be a 3-1 win.

The indicators have been there within the first half too as sloppy passing on the again provided Palace a lot of straightforward probabilities.

Liverpool’s probabilities of catching Premier League leaders Man Metropolis might have pale, but when they’re to stage a miraculous comeback they’re going to should be so much tighter in defence than they have been at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

But extra VAR controversy

VAR intervened to award Liverpool at penalty at Selhurst Park
Andrew Powell/Getty Photographs)

Barely a recreation glided by over the weekend with out VAR butting its nostril in to trigger some controversy.

The award for probably the most egregious resolution of the weekend goes to Kevin Good friend, who awarded Liverpool a penalty after Diogo Jota collided with Vincente Guaita.

Good friend initially waved away Jota’s attraction, however modified his thoughts after being known as to the pitchside monitor by the VAR.

There have been loads of others to compete with: Thiago Silva’s tumble to disclaim Harry Kane a aim at Stamford Bridge; Ashley Westwood’s stamp on Kieran Tierney which solely obtained a yellow card; Stuart Armstrong’s excessive foot on Aymeric Laporte; Mat Doherty’s deal with on Malang Sarr; Newcastle ’s failure to get a penalty for Robin Koch’s foul on Allan Saint-Maximin.

It’s nothing new, however it felt prefer it plumbed new depths over the weekend.

Spurs method off Conte’s ranges

Antonio Conte despatched a message to the Spurs board after defeat at Chelsea
Robin Jones/Getty Photographs)

Tottenham have been maybe unlucky to see Kane’s aim dominated out, however they have been largely dreadful towards Chelsea.

Antonio Conte named six defenders in his beginning line-up and may’t have been stunned to see what adopted: an unambitious efficiency by which his aspect have been utterly outclassed by his former aspect.

Conte broke his golden rule by taking cost of Spurs in November and he’s now determined for the membership to strengthen his hand earlier than the January switch window closes.

His post-match feedback may properly have been meant for the ears of chairman Daniel Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici.

“To be an essential workforce, you want essential gamers,” he advised BBC Radio 5 Dwell. “In the mean time we’re distant. It takes time. Years.”

Present crop may save Magpies

Jonjo Shelvey scored the important winner for Newcastle at Leeds
Serena Taylor/Getty Photographs)

Since Newcastle’s Saudi-backed takeover, there was a lot curiosity within the membership, particularly over simply how a lot cash they’ll spend within the January switch window to present them the absolute best probability of staving off relegation.

To this point, two signings have are available, full-back Kieran Trippier and striker Chris Wooden, with a number of different names linked with a swap.

However towards an in-form Leeds aspect on Saturday, Eddie Howe’s present crop labored exhausting to safe a 1-0 success – simply their second victory of the season – shifting them to inside a degree of seventeenth, as a number of previous faces, resembling match-winner Jonjo Shelvey, impressed.

Howe confused after the match that whereas the membership plan to be lively within the switch window, you will need to get the best signings in, with the brand new boss buoyed by his workforce’s efficiency in incomes a vital three factors.

Arsenal hampered by bluntness

Alexandre Lacazette couldn’t discover the web vs Burnley
Chloe Knott/Getty Photographs)

Arsenal scored the primary Premier League aim of 2022. Since that Bukayo Saka strike within the thirty third minute towards Man Metropolis on New Yr’s Day they’ve failed to search out the web once more in 4 video games.

The issue is blindingly apparent for Mikel Arteta, who has jettisoned Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and is counting on gamers who might quickly go away the membership.

Alexandre Lacazette led the road towards Burnley on Sunday, whereas Eddie Nketiah was the one participant to return off the bench as they appeared for a breakthrough.

Each are out of contract in July. The necessity for a brand new striker is obvious, however the probabilities of signing Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic seem like fading with every passing day.

Arsenal would possibly want to show their consideration elsewhere earlier than the window closes in per week.

Hasenhuttl backing paying off

Ralph Hasenhüttl has made Southampton exhausting to beat
Matt Watson/Getty Photographs)

Man Metropolis’s draw at St Mary’s on Saturday night ended a run of 12 straight wins for Pep Guardiola’s aspect and was a serious feather within the cap for his or her opponents.

Southampton are quietly constructing one thing on the south coast. They’re unbeaten in eight dwelling league video games and seem like gathering momentum below Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The Austrian’s 4-2-2-2 formation is ingrained within the gamers’ minds and with a robust backbone of Mohammed Salisu, James Ward-Prowse and Armando Broja they appear like they will compete for a top-half end.

Saints rode their luck towards Metropolis, who struck the woodwork 3 times, however Salisu’s efficiency was arguably deserving of some luck.

Having spent three years within the job, Hasenhuttl is Southampton’s longest-serving supervisor of the Premier League period and has been within the job for longer than anybody since Chris Nicholl, who was in cost between 1985 and 1991.

With new owners in place and a few much-needed stability within the dugout, issues are wanting vivid at St Mary’s.

HAVE YOUR SAY! Who have been the largest winners of the Premier League weekend? Comment below.

Wolves heading in the right direction for Europe

Ruben Neves scored Wolves’ winner at Brentford on Saturday
Jack Thomas/Getty Photographs)

Bruno Lage’s high-flying Wolves prolonged their unbeaten run to 6 video games in all competitions after a 2-1 victory in an eventful match at Brentford on Saturday.

Wolves, who completed thirteenth final season, have began a calendar yr with three consecutive league victories for the primary time since 1994.

The Midlands membership are wanting robust of their pursuit of European qualification, sitting eighth within the desk after 21 matches, 4 factors off the Champions League locations.

“We’re not distant however our goal is to play recreation by recreation,” midfielder Joao Moutinho advised the BBC. “It is essential as a result of we all know on this league each recreation is essential. We will lose, draw, or win regardless of the workforce.”

Everton want extra than simply combat

Everton are susceptible to being dragged right into a relegation battle
James Gill/Getty Photographs)

Duncan Ferguson took cost of Everton ‘s match towards Aston Villa on Saturday, however his presence couldn’t halt their slide down the desk.

Steven Gerrard’s aspect claimed a 1-0 win at Goodison Park due to Emi Buendia’s ingenious header, which left Everton sixteenth, 4 factors above the drop.

There was a lot of discuss of the Toffees’ elevated combat and willpower of their first recreation since Rafa Benitez was sacked.

However they’ll want way more than simply grit if they’re to show round their present state.

Canaries discover their wings

Josh Sargent netted twice for Norwich at Watford
Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Photographs)

Norwich have been arguably the largest winners of the weekend, with their thumping 3-0 win over Watford on Friday night time shifting them out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Dean Smith’s aspect have gained back-to-back matches to maneuver away from the drop and all of a sudden there may be an air of positivity round Carrow Street.

Josh Sargent scored twice to down Watford, who’re travelling within the unsuitable course.

The Canaries had scored simply 10 occasions in 21 league video games earlier than their big victory over their relegation rivals, however can now go into their subsequent recreation towards Crystal Palace with famend confidence.

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