Manchester United's Luke Shaw lost at sea, Arsenal finally show some bite, Liverpool defence cause for concern

Seven things we learned: A look back at some of the biggest talking points from this weekend's Premier League action

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It was another jam-packed weekend of Premier League football full of plenty of thrills and spills.

The weekend got off to a bang as Liverpool cruised to a memorable 3-1 victory against Everton before Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace stunned the Bridge to beat Chelsea 2-1 and halt the Blues' league campaign in its tracks.

Elsewhere, Arsenal fought back to salvage a precious point against Manchester City while Leicester and Hull both recorded important wins in the bottom half of the table.

Here's seven things we learned from the weekend:

Arsenal finally show some character

It’s been a tempestuous two months for Arsenal football club with internal political wrangling threatening to throw the Emirates into civil war. Saturday’s draw with City will have done little to settle the waters but, after securing a hard-fought point, Arsenal’s players showed that they have not yet thrown in the towel.

City had the chance to beat a side that looked there for the taking, but Arsene Wenger's men certainly took full advantage of their opponents’ failure to do so. Even following Laurent Koscielny’s exit – the catalyst for their humiliating collapse against Bayern Munich in the Champions League – the Gunners still held on. Fans will be relieved to see some bite back in their men but don’t expect the Arsenal discord to fade away any time soon.

The Shaw saga thickens with United youngster left lost at sea

Jose Mourinho has all but confirmed that Luke Shaw’s Manchester United career is over, arguing that the left-back’s attitude is now so poor he no longer deserves even a place on the bench. The 21-year-old has endured a miserable season under Mourinho, intermittently drifting in and out of the team. His last appearance came against Bournemouth nearly one month ago in which he gave a respectable account of himself, but was hauled off as United chased the winner. A prolonged period of absence followed with little explanation from Mourinho.

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Shaw's United days look to be over (Getty)

Attitude and commitment issues, so Mourinho now says, are the root of the problem – but he’s not alone in voicing such concerns. Louis van Gaal and Roy Hodgson both expressed doubts over Shaw’s fitness in the past while Mauricio Pochettino was known to have worked hard on the player’s conditioning as a young teenager. When Shaw arrived at United, staff there had never seen a teenager with quite the same natural athleticism - even those who knew Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in their early days were impressed. But this raw ability has yet to reach its full potential. Whether through a lack of maturity and professionalism, as four separate managers have now suggested, or whether the psychological burden of his leg-break continues to weigh heavy, Shaw remains lost at sea. At this point in time, the future looks bleak for the young 21-year-old.

Pep’s revolution remains a work in progress

Who do you point the finger at with a team like Manchester City? The manager? Or the players? Guardiola’s track record has certainly endowed the Catalan with a reputation for brilliance and tactical nous but there’s no denying the quality of sides he has managed. His City team, on the other hand, have flashed with brilliance this season, courtesy of their emerging youth, but the ghosts of their past continue to haunt them.

Guardiola took responsibility for Sunday’s draw with Arsenal, in which his side twice threw away their lead, but it’s become glaringly apparent that the much-hailed ‘genius’ of football is struggling to work his magic in the Premier League. A fresh start, with the introduction of some new faces to the City midfield and defence, is desperately needed if Pep is to stand any chance of conquering the Premier League too.

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Guardiola does not yet have the squad to achieve greatness with City (Getty)

Allardyce has turned Palace around

Sam Allardyce has now, without any doubt, turned Crystal Palace around. The former England manager has had to pick up a squad shorn of many of its leaders, rebuild their confidence and instil some semblance of a tactical plan. The latter has been the easy part, and there is no doubt that the Eagles play with far more defined roles under their new coach. Set pieces, the biggest weakness of the Pardew regime, have become a strength and tactically Allardyce has outshone his predecessor – even if sometimes that has meant a more conservative playing style.

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Allardyce has improved Palace since replacing Pardew (Getty)

But it is the emphasis on backroom staff which has truly helped take the club forward. Allardyce repeatedly states that his personnel been given more responsibility to do their jobs and, in turn, make the club’s players better. “It’s not just me… I choose certain members of staff to come and work with me and some of the original members of staff that stayed on were empowered to do their job better by me and use their qualifications and their experience.”

Clever signings, a new confidence and more focused training performed by newly-empowered coaches have all helped fix Crystal Palace’s sinking ship. This is a club revived. 

Does anyone fancy some marking, Liverpool? 

Ronnie Moran, whose life and work were celebrated at Anfield on Saturday, was part of a management team which obsessed about fixing weaknesses and hated to talk about winning, so it is reasonable to reflect on what there was to worry about in the victory which extends Everton’s winless run at Anfield to 18 years. Jurgen Klopp was surprisingly frank about the problem. Set-pieces were “still a question for us to find a real answer for” he said. “You can really be sure we are on this and working on this with a lot of different things, but it is not our best skill of our skills.”

Indeed, there were times in the second half when their zonal marking was not fit for purpose. There was also that perennial sense you get with them that a standard cross into the box at any time can give any opponent cause for hope. Liverpool may have cruised to victory but it was against a side that looked caught in the headlights under 'master tactician' Ronald Koeman. If the Reds are to stand any hope of pushing for the title next season, major defensive surgery is required. (Ian Herbert)

Cause for Chelsea concern? 

Some better finishing, most notably from the strangely off-colour Diego Costa, would have won it for Chelsea against Palace on Saturday. It is why, then, Antonio Conte was probably right to say his side weren’t necessarily unlucky. Finishing isn’t luck, but the fact they made so many chances suggests this isn’t a broken team worth worrying about. “I think this defeat is totally different,” Conte said. “If you compare this defeat with the other defeats we are another team. I think we are a strong team. “Today for sure it wasn't our day because we created a lot of chances to score a goal. [But] we dominated the game."

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The Chelsea manager is not concerned by the number of goals his side are conceding (Getty)

But although the matter of creating chances may not be a current issue, Chelsea's defence has now not kept a clean sheet since January. The back three  seem to be struggling against those faster forwards who will stretch the channels and while Conte insisted he was not worried by the increasing amount of goals being conceded, it certainly seems that the Blues defence is no longer the impenetrable force it once was. This won’t be enough to prevent Chelsea winning the league, but it’s something to take into the summer’s transfer market as Conte looks to strengthen his team.

Sacking failing managers quite clearly works

When Leicester decided to sack Claudio Ranieri last month, the League Managers Association chief Richard Bevan described the decision as “undermining the profession of coaching throughout the world”. Strong words from a man who, we assume, knows a thing or two about football. But such ‘inhumanity’, as some decried it, has been completely vindicated. Leicester now sit 13th in the league with 33 points, with Craig Shakespeare becoming the first English manager to win his first four Premier League games on the bounce. Saturday’s victory against Stoke confirmed that Leicester are a side rejuvenated.

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Shakespeare has become the first British managers to win his first four games on the bounce (Getty)

It’s a similar story for Hull who claimed a priceless win against West Ham on Saturday. The Tigers fought back from a goal behind to add another three points to their name while Wednesday’s showdown with Middlesbrough offers them the chance to climb out of the bottom three. Marco Silva has injected life, and hope, into a side that looked destined to go down. Swansea, too, remain on the up – though Sunday’s draw against Boro could come back to haunt them – while Crystal Palace, as seen above, continue to move in the right direction. The decision to dismiss a manager may prove unpopular at times but more often than not, it’s the right call.

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