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

It was another good weekend for Manchester City as they extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table with an 11th successive win in the competition as their rivals dropped more points.

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s defence of their title is over after defeat at Leicester, while at the other end of the table Fulham showed they have the stomach for the fight against relegation with victory at Everton.

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

City’s title to lose?

Manchester City took a big step towards reclaiming the Premier League title with a comprehensive 3-0 home win against Tottenham. Following on from their first victory at Liverpool since 2003, Pep Guardiola’s side recorded an 11th straight win in the Premier League and a 16th successive victory in all competitions. City look to be hitting their straps at exactly the right time as their rivals continue to slip up and drop points, with Leicester the only other team in the top four to win this weekend.

More Spurs misery

Jose Mourinho's Tottenham side were beaten comprehensively at Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho’s team are ninth in the table and four points off a top-four place (Tim Keeton/PA)

The defeat at the Etihad was a fourth loss in five Premier League games, during which time Tottenham have also been knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton. In the middle of December Jose Mourinho’s men were top of the table, yet a run of two wins from the following nine games has seen them slip to a staggering 17 points off leaders City. Not only has any title challenge crumbled away, they are not certainties in a top-four race that is still wide open. Mourinho’s tactics have come in for criticism all season but the pragmatism that made him one of the best managers in the world is scrutinised even more when his side do not win.

Klopp concedes title

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted his side's challenge for the Premier League title is now over.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has admitted his side’s challenge for the Premier League title is now over (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Leicester’s win came against Liverpool, prompting Reds boss Klopp to admit their title defence is over after their alarming collapse at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool let in three goals in seven minutes late in the game, having led through Mohamed Salah’s strike.  Like against Manchester City last week, goalkeeper Alisson Becker was at fault for at least one of the goals as he came rushing out and clattered into team-mate Ozan Kabak, allowing Jamie Vardy to run the ball into an open net to put Leicester in front. The reigning champions are 13 points behind leaders City having played a game more and following a third straight Premier League defeat, Klopp said: “Yes. I don’t think we can close the gap. We are not worrying about the title, we are not silly.”

Aubameyang shows his worth

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick in Arsenal's win against Leeds.
Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with the match ball after his hat-trick against Leeds (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the Arsenal side to hit his first Premier League hat-trick as the Gunners shot down Leeds on Sunday. The 31-year-old had not started in five games after leaving the club’s coronavirus-secure bubble to tend to his ill mother. But, operating as the lone striker, he marked his comeback in fine fashion as a spirited Leeds were beaten 4-2 at the Emirates Stadium, having started the afternoon above their hosts in the table. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta called Aubameyang’s performance “superb.”

Fulham up for the fight

Fulham’s Josh Maja (centre) celebrates with Ola Aina (left) and Tosin Adarabioyo.
Fulham’s Josh Maja, centre, netted twice on Sunday (Jason Cairnduff/PA)

On-loan striker Josh Maja scored twice on his full Premier League debut as Fulham recorded a first league win at Everton in their history, with a deserved 2-0 victory ending a 12-match run without a win. The 22-year-old scored two typical poacher’s goals from close range. It moved the third-bottom Cottagers to within seven points of Newcastle in 17th and offered them some hope of an escape if Maja can reproduce this form on a more regular basis.

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