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5 things we learned from this weekend’s Premier League action

Manchester City moved five points clear at the Premier League summit with a 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool on Sunday.

It capped a great weekend for the leaders who were the only side in the top six at the start of play on Saturday to win.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what we learned from this latest Premier League action.

City’s title to lose?

Manchester City took a big step towards reclaiming the Premier League title with a first win at Anfield since 2003. Pep Guardiola’s side needed some time to warm up but eventually coasted past Liverpool, with Ilkay Gundogan at the double and Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden also on target in what proved a chastening defeat for the hosts. The emotions were contrasted for the visitors who moved five points clear at the top with a game in hand on their nearest challengers Manchester United and Leicester, who both dropped points this weekend to make City’s 10th straight league win potentially more significant.

The Harry Kane team ease pressure on Jose

Guardiola labelled Tottenham ‘the Harry Kane team’ back in 2017 and while Spurs have been able to cope admirably in the absence of their hitman in recent seasons, another January injury coincided with Jose Mourinho’s side losing three league games in a row. Kane made a speedy recovery to score in Sunday’s 2-0 win over West Brom and make him the club’s joint-second-highest goalscorer and highlighted his growing importance to this current side. Even his manager admitted: “The team depend a lot on him.”

Bruno is no penalty merchant

Bruno Fernandes produced more magic for Manchester United from outside the area in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Everton
Bruno Fernandes produced more magic for Manchester United from outside the area in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Everton (Michael Regan/PA)

Bruno Fernandes struck his 30th goal for Manchester United in Saturday night’s ultimately disappointing 3-3 draw with Everton. The stunning strike from range swirled through the air and went some way to dispelling the myth that the Portuguese attacker only scores from the spot. While 16 of his goals for the Red Devils have been from 12 yards, this latest fine effort – after a sumptuous free-kick against Liverpool last month – showed off another part of his armoury. Only a penalty merchant? Everton would argue otherwise, especially after his double at Goodison Park earlier in the campaign.

Mike Dean makes more headlines

Another day, another Mike Dean red card. The experienced referee took his tally of sending-offs in this season’s top flight to six when he dismissed West Ham’s Tomas Soucek at Fulham. The Czech Republic international protested his innocence after he caught Aleksandar Mitrovic in the face with an elbow and even Fulham’s captain appeared to suggest it was accidental. It evoked a sense of deja vu after Dean had shown a red card to Southampton’s Jan Bednarek in midweek. On that occasion the centre-back was adjudged to have brought down Anthony Martial, but the Manchester United forward allegedly said it was not a foul. That sending-off was overturned and David Moyes will hope Soucek’s red is wiped out too.

Arteta revival hits speed bump

Pressure was mounting on Arsenal’s rookie manager at the end of 2020 but a derby win over Chelsea on Boxing Day sparked an upturn in results. Mikel Arteta guided the Gunners to five league wins out of six but their revival has hit the skids. The FA Cup holders were knocked out in the fourth round by Southampton last month and have started February with back-to-back defeats. The latest at Aston Villa followed a similar pattern to the midweek reverse at Wolves where they dominated possession but failed to take their opportunities. Victory for either Leeds or Crystal Palace on Monday and Arteta’s side will be back in the bottom half of the table. There is plenty of work to do for the Spaniard.

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