Five things we learnt from this weekend's Premier League - featuring Liverpool, Norwich, Arsenal, Everton and Manchester United
Liverpool are grinding out results, but can they win the big game; When will clubs learn – sacking your manager rashly rarely works; Arsene Wenger was right – fourth place is a trophy for Arsenal; Everton look like they belong in the Champions League; Manchester United can head to Germany with faint hopes of success
Liverpool are grinding out results, but can they win the big game?
The 2-1 victory over West Ham could be looked back in years to come as a pivotal result in their run to the Premier League title. Despite a questionable performance from referee Anthony Taylor, Liverpool kept up their title bid thanks to two Steven Gerrard penalties, and set-up a mouth-watering tie with Manchester City this weekend that could decide the destination of the Premier League trophy. Win at Anfield, and Liverpool can start believing this is their time.
When will clubs learn – sacking your manager rashly rarely works
The bottom seven clubs of the Premier League table have all changed their manager at some point this season, and would you believe it, they’re still in a relegation battle. Tony Pulis aside, there is not one manager that has come into a job during the season and turned his side’s fortunes around. Take a look at West Ham – who stuck with Sam Allardyce despite calls for his head – and you’l l see a manager who backed up his word and got the best out of his players to keep the Hammers up. Is Neil Adams going to keep Norwich up with just five games remaining? Given their opposition, probably not.
Arsene Wenger was right – fourth place is a trophy for Arsenal
Premier League leaders, FA Cup contenders and Champions League hopefuls, January now seems a long time ago for Arsenal fans. But the 3-0 defeat to Everton has raised the serious possibility that Arsenal will finish outside the top four for the first time under Arsene Wenger. Having spent £42.5m on Mesut Ozil, would an FA Cup win and fifth place (or worse) be an improvement on last season? Fourth place doesn’t seem that bad anymore, and that’s cause for alarm at the Emirates.
Everton look like they belong in the Champions League
Although they may lose Romelu Lukaku at the end of the season as he returns to Chelsea, Everton’s display on Sunday proved that a spot in the Champions League is nothing short of what they deserve. The introduction of Ross Barkley after an early head injury to Leon Osman sparked the Toffees into life, and with goals coming regularly from Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas of late, they could very well deal with their tricky run-in to book a their seat at the table of Europe’s elite.
Manchester United can head to Germany with faint hopes of success
United to beat Bayern Munich? You would’ve laughed at the thought a few weeks ago. You might still do now, but the 4-0 win over a distinctly poor Newcastle side sees David Moyes’ side head to Munich is good spirits, and the combination of the Premier League away form and that in Europe gives them hope. Bayern struggle against English teams at the Allianz Arena as recent history has shown, but the absence of the cup-tied Juan Mata and potentially injured Wayne Rooney would be a serious dent to United’s last remaining hope of any success this season.
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