Five things we learnt from the Premier League this weekend: Manchester United are title contenders; Mourinho as paranoid as ever

Analysis of the latest round of top-flight fixtures, including why Arsenal look the best of the rest

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1. Manchester United are real title contenders

If it weren't for an inspired display from Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Manchester United would have won on Sunday. The Frenchman was as brilliant as Manchester United were in the first half at White Hart Lane, denying a number of chances against a team that put in their best display of the season in those first 45 minutes according to Louis van Gaal. A win would have put them eight points behind Chelsea and well and truly in the title reckoning. As it is they remain 10 points adrift, but look a team only likely to get better as the season goes on.

2. Playing so many games can harm the quality of performances

Manchester United's performance level dipped in the second half and it was unsurprising considering they had played just 48 hours previously, like the rest of yesterday's teams. Gus Poyet said the schedule was "inhuman" after his Sunderland side failed to capitalise on Aston Villa going down to 10-men. Manchester City might also point to fatigue for their collapse against Burnley.

3. Jose Mourinho is as paranoid as ever

Cesc Fabregas was booked for diving when it appeared the Chelsea midfielder had been tripped inside the box against Southampton. Cue a rant from Jose Mourinho about a "campaign" against his side. The call from the referee was the latest in a string of controversial decisions involving Chelsea players going down - sometimes fairly, sometimes not. The suggestion there is some wider force working against the league leaders is clearly nonsense, but that hasn't stopped Mourinho from suggesting otherwise.

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The moment Fabregas went down

 

4. Arsenal are the best of the rest

A draw with Liverpool and defeat to Stoke were widely discussed, but the fact is Arsenal are looking rather useful at the moment. Their victory over QPR on Boxing Day was backed up with an impressive win over high-flying West Ham on Sunday. It means Arsene Wenger's side have won seven of their last nine games and with most other teams outside the top three struggling for consistency, it's beginning to become difficult to look beyond the Gunners to secure the coveted fourth place in the Premier League.

 

5. There's fight in Leicester City yet

Leicester ended a run of 13 matches without a win with victory away against Hull City. Having been languishing at the bottom of the table on just 10 points, this win for Nigel Pearson's side suggests that perhaps they shouldn't be written off just yet. They've closed the gap to three points on the three teams above them, and considering they've been unfortunate to lose in many games this season, those attached to the Foxes are right to hold onto hope of escaping the drop.

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