Three talking points from the Premier League weekend

Arsenal blew the Premier League title race wide open with a 3-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday to close within two points of the leaders.

Manchester City are not in action until Monday, when they travel to Brentford, but could now go top if they win their two games in hand.

Chelsea were on the end of a 4-1 thrashing by Liverpool on Wednesday and a woeful week for Mauricio Pochettino was rounded off by a 4-2 home defeat to Wolves.

Manchester United, though, are showing signs of life as they beat West Ham 3-0 to go sixth.

AFP Sports looks at three talking points from the Premier League weekend.

Arsenal rise to the occasion

The Gunners are aiming to end a 20-year wait to win the title and appear to have learned some lessons in finishing runners-up to City last season.

Mikel Arteta’s men led for much of the campaign but faltered down the final straight as the pressure was ramped up.

This time Arsenal wobbled mid-season with back-to-back defeats to West Ham and Fulham in December.

They have responded with three consecutive wins since the winter break and delivered when they had to, inflicting Liverpool’s first league defeat since September.

Second half goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard sent Arteta skipping down the touchline as he sensed a turning point in the title race.

“It gives us momentum and the way we have done it, we are back on it,” said Arteta.

“We have come so far and now it is about doing it consistently. Liverpool have done it for six to seven years.”

Young guns lift mood at Man Utd

During a difficult second season for Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, the emergence of Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo is providing hope of a bright future.

Hojlund failed to score in his first 14 Premier League games after a £64 million ($81 million) move from Atalanta, but the Dane celebrated his 21st birthday by scoring for the fourth consecutive league game.

Garnacho, 19, then struck twice to give United a second consecutive win after 18-year-old Mainoo scored the winner in a thrilling 4-3 victory at Wolves on Thursday.

“I have said it before in the last couple of months, the future for Manchester United is very bright,” said Ten Hag.

“The goals today showed young players with high potential…Every game they are growing and improving and adapting to a higher level.”

Clock ticking for Pochettino

Chelsea have bet the house on long-term projects in the transfer market, but time may soon be running out for Mauricio Pochettino as the club’s American owners have their patience tested by another woeful season.

Graham Potter was sacked after just seven months in charge at Stamford Bridge last season despite being sold on a project by Todd Boehly’s consortium when he left Brighton.

Chelsea have splurged over £1 billion on players over the past two years, but have gone backwards on the field as Wolves’ first win at Stamford Bridge since 1979 dumped the Blues into the bottom half of the table.

The League Cup final at the end of the month may give Pochettino the chance to change the narrative with his first trophy in English football.

However, it could also fast track his departure should the American hierarchy believe a new-manager bounce is their best chance of shocking Liverpool to the first silverware of the season.


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