Lukaku breathes life into his Chelsea career in front of new owner, Frank has Brentford buzzing again and Nketiah’s Arsenal career might just be getting started… 10 things we learned last weekend
- Manchester City moved three points clear at top after Liverpool dropped points
- Everton moved out of the dreaded drop zone after finally winning on the road
- Sportsmail picks out 10 things we learned from the latest action in the top flight
The relentless Premier League carousel keeps on turning and things are really hotting up as the season end edges into view.
This weekend saw Manchester City pull three points clear of Liverpool while Everton moved out of the relegation zone with four games left to play.
There’s just 13 days before the curtain comes down on the 2021-22 campaign but there’s still time for more twists and turns.
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at 10 things we learned from the latest instalment of Premier League action.
Manchester City moved three points clear at top of the Premier League after Liverpool drew
They were one of the favourites to go down at the start of the season but a resounding 3-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday saw Brentford move up to 12th.
Thomas Frank’s side have deservedly earned plenty of plaudits for the way they’ve played this season but it’s a results-based business.
The work the Dane has done to get 43 points on the board has been remarkable in their first ever season in the Premier League following promotion via the play-offs.
The Bees scored twice in the space of 77 first-half seconds and never looked back, with Kristoffer Ajer adding a third in the second period. Frank has got his players all working in tandem at both ends of the pitch.
The win was a fourth consecutive clean sheet at home while the impact in attack of January arrival Christian Eriksen has been significant.
Brentford are all-but safe after moving nine points clear of the dreaded drop zone. Frank and his players should be able to enjoy their final two matches and take in the praise they deserve.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank has done a superb job in their first Premier League season
2. Southampton are living life on the edge
It’s the totally opposite story for Brentford’s opposition on Saturday with the Saints’ season unravelling after picking up just five points from a possible 30.
Southampton’s form has been woeful since March, albeit they did beat Arsenal 1-0 on April 16.
They are in danger of being sucked into a relegation battle, sitting on 40 points, six ahead of 18th-placed Leeds having conceded a whopping 24 goals in their last 10 matches.
Southampton’s season in unravelling with the pressure mounting on boss Ralph Hasenhuttl
Chants of ‘sacked in the morning’ aimed at Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl rang round the stadium from their own fans at the weekend, with his position coming increasingly under threat.
The manager stressed that 40 points might not be enough ahead of the Brentford clash but with Liverpool and Leicester left to play, they are up against it to add to their tally.
3. Is there renewed hope for Romelu Lukaku?
Chelsea appear to have checked out of this season amid all the off-the-pitch uncertainty.
But with new Blues owner Todd Boehly – whose £4.25billion takeover was confirmed just hours before Chelsea’s clash with Wolves – watching on, Romelu Lukaku seized his chance.
The Belgian has been hugely disappointing since his £98m move from Inter Milan last summer and angered Chelsea fans by saying he wasn’t happy at Stamford Bridge while keeping the door open to a return to the San Siro in a bombshell interview in December.
Speculation continues to swirl over his future at the club but the forward scored two in as many minutes against Wolves on Saturday to indicate he could still play a role in the new Chelsea era.
Romelu Lukaku scored two goals against Wolves in front of Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly
4. Wilfried Zaha leading the way for Palace youngsters
Where would Crystal Palace be without Zaha? Yes, this season has been different as Patrick Vieira has blended the talents of Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise and Ebere Eze together to create a burgeoning youthful side.
But there’s no denying just how important the 29-year-old winger is to the Eagles. He’s actually enjoying a record-breaking season when it comes to goals with 14 to his name and three games remaining.
The Ivory Coast international shouldered the responsibility in their narrow win over Watford, stepping up from the penalty spot to score the only goal of the game.
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha scored the winner to relegate Watford on Saturday
Zaha, who has frequently flirted with a move away from Selhurst Park, admitted he was starting to recognise his age after Palace moved up to 10th, but also that it’s exciting times ahead.
‘It just shows what the club has in store,’ he said.
‘Mikey is 20. That is how good he is already, so imagine what he will be when he matures into a (fully) grown player. He will be unbelievable.
‘It is nice that I can be part of it and play with these young lads. I feel like I am the oldest with all these young kids!’
5. A new low for Manchester United
Just when Manchester United supporters didn’t think it could get any worse, it did.
The Red Devils faithful were forced to witness their side get thumped 4-0 by Brighton in the Saturday evening kick-off. Graham Potter has done an admirable job on the south coast but United’s lack of, well pretty much everything, was another low for a club in disarray.
At the time United could still mathematically have finished in the top four but their humiliation killed off any chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Just when Manchester United supporters couldn’t think it could get any worse, it did
Their fall from grace continues as Ralf Rangnick’s side will finish with their lowest points tally in the post-1992 era and they may have to settle for a place in the Europa Conference League.
Goals from Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard heaped more misery on United’s faltering stars.
Erik ten Hag may be on his way but the state of the team at present is nothing short of embarrassing.
6. Son Heung-min will not let up
Liverpool were viewed to have a harder run-in than Manchester City with the banana skin being Antonio Conte’s Tottenham, and that proved to be the case.
The Reds did slip-up at home to a dangerous counter-attacking Spurs by drawing 1-1 as Luiz Diaz cancelled out Son Heung-min’s second-half opener.
Son’s influence on Spurs cannot be underestimated and his 20th goal of the top-flight season saw him move to within two of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot.
All of Son’s goals have come from open play with fellow Spurs star Harry Kane on penalty duty.
Conte’s side can still qualify for the Champions League and face a mouth-watering showdown with north London enemies Arsenal on Thursday.
Son does not only have elite European football as an incentive but also the motivation of pipping Salah to leading goalscorer. Arsenal, beware.
Son Heung-min moved to within two goals of Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot
7. Eddie Nkeitah does have a future at Arsenal
The Gunners’ gamble to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang depart without bringing in a fresh face in January could well pay off.
The Gabon striker had fallen out with manager Mikel Arteta but fears grew that Arsenal may have been left light in attack when the forward joined Barcelona.
However, 22-year-old Eddie Nketiah has snatched hold of the opportunity and seems set to fire Arsenal to Europe’s top table after four goals in as many matches.
Striker Eddie Nketiah starred for Arsenal in their 2-1 victory over Leeds at Emirates on Sunday
The young striker backed up his brace against Chelsea with another over Leeds on Sunday, proving clinical in the box.
Nketiah has a natural finishing ability and with his contract winding down there are plenty of suitors, including Palace and Borussia Monchengladbach.
But his performances at the business end of the season have proved that he can have a future at the club – and he could even cement his place in Arsenal’s attack next season.
Sportsmail reported last month that the Gunners were still hopeful of convincing Nketiah to stay and getting him to put pen to paper on a new contract looks more important than ever.
8. Everton’s perfect timing
The Toffees added a third victory in five matches by beating Leicester 2-1 away from home.
Frank Lampard has finally managed to generate a response from his under-performing Everton side, and at just the right time.
Frank Lampard finally guided Everton to victory away from home as they beat Leicester 2-1
The win saw them move out of the drop zone and up to 16th after Burnley and Leeds fell to defeats.
Not only have they mustered some sort of momentum but getting the monkey off their back in finally winning away from home will work wonders for their confidence.
Prior to Sunday Everton had the worst away form in the top flight, had let in 19 goals in seven successive defeats and were without a win since August.
The Toffees will be looking to make it two wins on the spin on the road at Watford on Wednesday.
9. West Ham won’t let Frankfurt spoil their season
The Hammers have had a excellent season and they’re not going to allow their Europa League heartbreak ruin it.
David Moyes’ side have more than punched above their weight this campaign and took their fans on a memorable ride to the Europa League semi-finals.
Their dream was crushed by Eintracht Frankfurt last Thursday but they bounced back in style on their return to domestic action.
West Ham bounced back from their Europa League heartbreak by running riot at Norwich
Relegated Norwich didn’t put up much of a fight but Said Benrahma and Co ran riot at Carrow Road to continue their impressive season.
The win saw them move to within three points of sixth-placed Man United with a game in hand.
Given where the Red Devils’ season is heading and the optimism within the Hammers ranks, the West Ham fanbase could well be taken on another European tour next term.
10. Leeds have lost their cool
Leeds’ chiefs knew they were running a risk when they got rid of Marcelo Bielsa and brought in Jesse Marsch in a bid to stop the rot.
Marsch has had an impact but defeat at Arsenal saw them fall into the relegation zone on goal difference.
It wasn’t a surprise to see them lose at the Emirates but the nature of it rang plenty of alarm bells.
Luke Ayling was sent off for a reckless two-footed lunge as Leeds players lost their cool in loss
The dreadful error by No 1 goalkeeper Illan Meslier set the tone but Luke Ayling’s reckless two-footed lunge and Raphinha’s subsequent anger at the referee showed Leeds lost their heads.
They cannot afford similar behaviour happen in their final three games if they are to stand a chance of avoiding Championship football next season.
The task has been made more difficult by Ayling’s suspension for the rest of the campaign but at least Raphinha avoided a dismissal in one of very few positives from Sunday’s clash.
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