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10 things we learned in the Premier League – Matchweek 35

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Robbie Mustoe and Tim Howard review Sunday's Premier League action, as Arsenal kept their title chances alive with a win over Newcastle, who couldn't shore up their top-four position alongside Manchester United.

The Premier League weekend, so far, has been about keeping races alive.

Arsenal went to Newcastle and delivered an impressive win over the in-form Magpies, keeping the race for first alive after Man City got past Leeds.

And Liverpool beat Brentford to ask questions of the losses from Newcastle and Manchester United, the latter of whom is threatening to put Erik ten Hag’s project in a surprising bad place.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

There are still three Premier League matches to round out the matchweek, all happening Monday:

Here’s where our writers are living, as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE), and Nicholas Mendola (NM) share their observations from across the most recent PL games.


10 things we learned in the Premier League – Matchweek 35

1. Arsenal’s professional showing keeps hope alive: (Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal): The Gunners were under fire early at a boisterous St. James’ Park but weathered the storm and truly had been the better team — if only by a bit — over 45 minutes. The second half saw Arsenal play a smart, dedicated game with and without the ball. This wasn’t a show of pure superiority, but that’s not going to happen often at SJP against top-four Newcastle. Aaron Ramsdale made four saves and Jakub Kiwior joined Gabriel Magalhaes in keeping things tight at the back. Once the Gunners went ahead, it was old hat for Jorginho and company to manage the game and the second goal made things just a bit easier down the stretch. (NM)
2. Ten Hag’s men put project progress in jeopardy (West Ham 1-0 Man Utd): West Ham United is a dangerous foe for anyone right now: a team far better than its status on the table and desperate for its Premier League life. Erik ten Hag and his Manchester United would’ve known that, which makes it all the more frustrating that there wasn’t more cutting edge to their performance. The loss coupled with Liverpool’s recent hot streak puts some significant risk in the Red Devils’ top-four hopes. The fixture list of Wolves, Bournemouth, Chelsea, and Fulham still says Ten Hag’s men should finish top four, but imagine the consternation if this season — with two finals — finishes with the Red Devils outside of the Champions League? There’s no question Ten Hag’s men are much improved, but they don’t need an offseason of “What ifs?” plaguing their supporters’ base and recruitment. (NM)

3. Liverpool control what it can control (Liverpool 1-0 Brentford): Liverpool did just what it needed to get the job done, getting their goal from Mohamed Salah — of course — and riding the winning waves to an advantage over Brentford. The visitors were lively at times but the danger was rarely really in the air, as Liverpool won the xG scrap 2.08-0.19. Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate were solid at the back especially when pushed by a physical Bees attack, and Alisson Becker was a pair of safe hands when required by any lapses. Anfield remains a tough place to come, and it’s not so much that opponents struggle but the Reds’ players seem to pick up a step or two at home. Van Dijk’s surge toward the end line to set up Salah’s goal was that little bit extra, and something we’ve seen so many times on Merseyside. Manchester United or Newcastle collapsing down the stretch seems unlikely, but there’s a strong feeling in the air that Liverpool will be waiting if either does manage to drop enough points: Leicester away, Villa home, Saints away are how Jurgen Klopp’s men finish their season. (NM)

4. Perfectionist Pep rages on off-day for Haaland (Man City 2-1 Leeds): Pep is never content. That was evident in the closing stages of this win, a 10th-straight Premier League victory to take City four points clear atop the table. Why? With City 2-0 up and cruising they won a penalty kick. Instead of regular taker Erling Haaland stepping up to slot home the spot kick, Gundogan (on a hat trick) did and he hit the post. Guardiola was raging as he screamed to Haaland that he should have taken the penalty instead of giving his captain the chance for a treble. Moments later Leeds made it 2-1 after a mistake from Akanji. Cue Guardiola’s rage intensifying. He did not shake Gundogan’s hand as he was subbed off and looked very upset. Maybe Pep Guardiola was upset because this was all too easy for his side and they just took their foot off the gas in the second half. Haaland also had an off day, as just a few days after setting a new record for the most goals scored in a Premier League season, he hit the post, missed several big chances and gave up the chance to take a penalty kick. Maybe Haaland having an off day and City making a few mistakes came at the right time so Pep can keep them focused ahead of the final run-in as they chase an historic treble. (JPW)

5. Not pretty but Chelsea midfield trio looks solid (AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea): The midfield trio of N’Golo Kante, Enzo Fernandez, and Conor Gallagher proved they can be their midfield for the next few years if used in the right way. Enzo and Gallagher were roaming forward, while Kante also got forward from the right in a 4-3-3 and set up the first goal. Whoever comes in as the new Blues boss has a huge number of talented players to work with and the key will be balancing things out and getting the right players in the team and alongside each other. There was a better balance about Chelsea with Kante, Enzo and Gallagher out there but it was still a little clunky. We know Enzo Fernandez will be around for the long haul and Kante is in talks over a new contract, while Gallagher has shown his quality and probably deserves an extended run in the team next season. With Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic perhaps moving on this summer, Chelsea’s midfield for next season may already be sorted. Enzo, Kante and Gallagher need more reps but there is something there. (JPW)

6. More history for Harry Kane (Spurs 1-0 Crystal Palace): Harry Kane’s latest history-making moment came in first-half stoppage time, and he played a massive part in its creation. Ben Davies found Kane in a bit of space between Crystal Palace’s lines, as Kane received the ball, popped it into the air and swiveled 180 degrees to volley a 40-yard through ball to the right flank for Pedro Porro to run onto. Porro then lofted a cross to the back post, just as Kane arrived to head it down for Premier League goal No. 209. Kane now trails only Alan Shearer (260) in the PL record book. (AE)

7. Jose Sa makes the difference late to deliver Wolves comfort: (Wolves 1-0 Aston Villa): Aston Villa looked like equalizing a few times down the stretch. Tyrone Mings got on the end of a 72nd-minute free kick floated over the Wolves defense by Douglas Luiz. Mings timed his run to perfection and put the inside of his left foot through the ball, but blazed it over the crossbar from six yards out with only Jose Sa to beat. Five minutes later, Sa went full-stretch (and then some) to get fingers to Emiliano Buendia’s blast from the edge of the penalty area. It looked a surefire equalizer of the Argentine’s foot, but Sa somehow pushed it around his right-hand post to preserve Wolves’ advantage. (AE)

8. Newcastle can forgive big-game chances near end of ‘bonus’ season (Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal): Newcastle won’t lament its effort, which went to the final whistle, but it will know that matches like these will carry certain expectations, not just realistic hope, next season. The Magpies’ finishing boots were attached to goal posts and Aaron Ramsdale’s gloves, as they could not take four-of-six points from Arsenal this season. Newcastle can afford this loss, even if it puts a crimp in their top four plans. Yet as they keep spending as expected, stronger judgments will come from losses like this (NM).

9. Leeds show fight under Big Sam (Man City 2-1 Leeds): Yeah, there was a missed penalty in the bunch and Man City was in control. But of course they were, and a two on the other side of the scoreboard for this Leeds team is a step in the right direction. Sam Allardyce will expect more and more fight from his men as they navigate a tough run of fixtures down the stretch and will need to find a result. Whether they do or not, there’s reason for Leeds fans to hope that the odd appointment of Allardyce is a good one. (NM).
10. Irons get double delight from single-goal win (West Ham 1-0 Man Utd): David Moyes’ men were very ready for the two-pronged task at Old Trafford. The Irons needed to win not just to all-but-cement their Premier League status but also to give them freedom to focus on Thursday’s Conference League semifinal first leg against AZ Alkmaar. They definitely had to work for their win and David De Gea’s error was a huge help to the cause, but it was a win we’ve seen authored by a Moyes team plenty of times over the years. Coming against his former club would’ve made it even sweeter. (NM)

Follow @NicholasMendola