Five things we learned from the Premier League
Manchester City maintained their march towards the Premier League title with a gripping win at Huddersfield, while Ashley ensured Manchester United remain their closest rivals.
Liverpool and Chelsea shared the spoils, but Alexis Sanchez lifted Arsenal.
Here AFP Sport looks at five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:
Man City a team for all seasons
Trailing to a Nicolas Otamendi own goal on a rain-lashed, freezing afternoon at Huddersfield, for Manchester City this was an acid test. The cynics who greeted Pep Guardiola’s arrival in England with taunts about the Spaniard not knowing what it takes to win in the league’s most inhospitable venues were about to start crowing.
But City had the perfect response as Sergio Aguero equalised from the penalty spot before Raheem Sterling’s late winner moved the leaders eight points clear of second-placed Manchester United. Guardiola admitted he was delighted with the way City had coped with the test. “The Premier League is so tough, now winter has come, we knew they were so aggressive so strong, but we are so happy for the way we won,” Guardiola said. Can anyone stop them now?
Post-injury Eden Hazard is back to his best
An ankle injury sustained during the close season meant Eden Hazard did not make his first Premier League start until the last day in September, but having been gently eased back into action by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, he is now back to his devastating best.
He was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool, fully exploiting his licence to roam in support of lone striker Alvaro Morata by dropping deep to gather the ball before weaving past befuddled defenders, his touch so sure and precise as to be uncanny. Conte opted for a 3-5-1-1 system at Anfield, meaning an extra central midfielder played instead of a wide forward like Pedro and Willian, but thanks to the irrepressible Hazard, Chelsea’s counter-attacking play still brimmed with menace.
Tottenham Hotspur title bid is over
Tottenham won many admirers over the previous two seasons as they pushed for the Premier League title but this year’s challenge is all but over after a costly draw against managerless West Brom. Spurs’ record against the other members of the “Big Six” is poor but their inability to finish off less-exalted opponents has been equally costly this season.