Three Premier League talking points

Arsenal showed their Premier League title credentials with a 6-0 thrashing of London rivals West Ham.

But Liverpool remain top of the pile after surviving a scare against lowly Burnley, while Erling Haaland is back on goal-scoring form for Manchester City.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points from this weekend’s action:

Haaland back in the old routine

Erling Haaland admitted he was relieved to be back on target with a crucial double in Manchester City’s 2-0 win against Everton.

The Norway striker scored his first goals since returning from almost two months out of action with a foot injury as he killed off stubborn Everton at the Etihad Stadium.

It was the champions’ 10th victory in succession in all competitions as they step up their bid for an unprecedented fourth successive Premier League crown.

“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said Haaland, who has 21 goals in all competitions this term after netting for the first time since late November.

“Back to normal finally. It’s good to be back to normal. We have already been on quite a good run.”

With Haaland back in tandem with Kevin De Bruyne, who has returned from his own lengthy lay-off, Pep Guardiola’s side are rounding into form at the right time.

They sit two points behind Liverpool with a game in hand.

“It is a good thing to start to click now. That’s never bad. It’s in the next few months when you win things, so we keep going,” Haaland said.

Liverpool must ‘enjoy ride’ — Van Dijk

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has urged the leaders to “enjoy the ride” as they chase a first title since 2020.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were knocked out of pole position by Manchester City’s win against Everton early on Saturday afternoon, but the Reds responded just hours later to regain first place.

However, Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Burnley was not without its difficulties in front of Anfield’s record league crowd of 59,896 as Clarets defender Dara O’Shea cancelled out Diogo Jota’s opener.

Second-half goals from Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez eased Liverpool’s nerves and Van Dijk called on his team-mates to embrace the challenge of ending City’s reign.

“I think everyone would love to be in this situation that you are on the top and fighting for the pinnacle which is winning the Premier League,” he said.

“It’s very difficult to stay calm. In the first half when Burnley became a couple of times dangerous you felt the crowd get a bit nervous but that is how a human being is.

“We will have setbacks, we will have moments of difficulty but we have to deal with that. Let’s just enjoy the ride.”

Arsenal hitting their stride

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal have the momentum in the title race after crushing West Ham 6-0 at the London Stadium.

Arteta’s side stormed to their biggest away win in the Premier League with the swaggering display that convinced Arteta they are capable of staying the course this term.

The Gunners’ collapse last season, which denied them a first title since 2004, included blowing the lead in a draw at West Ham.

They had already lost to the Hammers this season, but exacted revenge thanks to goals from William Saliba, Bukayo Saka, who netted twice, Gabriel Magalhaes, Leandro Trossard and former West Ham midfielder Declan Rice.

“We are maintaining and building some momentum now,” said Arteta, whose side earned a crucial win against Liverpool last weekend.

“After the Liverpool game we had to show that we had that capacity to repeat that level or be better.

“Performances have been strong as well as results in recent weeks. We need to maintain that because other teams are doing that as well. We are not the only ones.”


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