Three talking points from the Premier League weekend

AFP , Sunday 21 Apr 2024

Arsenal and Liverpool bounced back from European exits and shock Premier League home defeats last weekend to move back in front of Manchester City in the title race.

Arsenal
Arsenal s Norwegian midfielder #08 Martin Odegaard (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Arsenal at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on April 20, 2024. AFP

 

The Gunners sit top after a 2-0 win at Wolves, while Liverpool moved level on points with the leaders as a much-changed side beat Fulham 3-1.

Everton were the big winners of the weekend in the battle to beat the drop after a controversial 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest moved the Toffees five points clear of the relegation zone.

Arsenal, Liverpool apply scoreboard pressure

City were not in league action this weekend as they beat Chelsea 1-0 to set up a second consecutive FA Cup final against Manchester United.

Pep Guardiola's men still have the destiny of the title in their hands but could be four points off the top by the time they take the field again at Brighton on Thursday.

Arsenal host Chelsea on Tuesday, while Liverpool take on Everton in Wednesday's Merseyside derby.

Both City's title rivals could have crumbled after a disappointing and draining week.

But Arsenal showed their resolve at Molineux to register a sixth consecutive away clean sheet in the Premier League.

"It's within them they want to win, they want to compete at their best," said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

"Their effort is unquestionable and the results are something else. I'm really happy, especially for the approach and the mentality of the team."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp took a different approach by heavily rotating his side for the first of three away games in six days.

But the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota from injury has come at the perfect time to refresh Liverpool's title challenge as both were on target at Craven Cottage.

'Embarrassed' Moyes under fire

David Moyes tried to quell talk about his future at West Ham after Sunday's 5-2 thrashing against Crystal Palace piled more pressure on the "embarrassed" boss.

Moyes' men conceded four goals in the first 31 minutes of a gutless display at Selhurst Park as Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, Jean-Philippe Mateta and an Emerson own goal left Hammers fans shell-shocked.

The Scot had already been under fire for much of the season as supporters grew frustrated by his perceived negative tactics.

With eighth-placed West Ham's latest loss damaging their chances of qualifying for Europe -- just days after they were knocked out of the Europa League quarter-finals by Bayern Leverkusen -- Moyes could be on borrowed time in east London.

"The first half was as bad as I've seen us play. You can't play this level of football in the Premier League. We didn't compete. It was hard to actually explain it," he said.

"In truth, I'm embarrassed to sit here and actually be speaking on behalf of the team and the way they performed today but I'm the manager."

Forest fury ridiculed

Forest's Premier League status remains in jeopardy as they sit just one point above the bottom three.

The visitors were left incensed after three strong penalty appeals were waived away at Goodison Park.

In an extraordinary club statement posted on social media, Forest inferred that the VAR official's judgement had been coloured by his support of relegation rivals Luton.

Forest are not the first Premier League club to make a public statement criticising officials this season.

Liverpool and Arsenal did so after defeats at Tottenham and Newcastle respectively.

But by calling the Premier League's integrity into question, the two-time European champions are set for a backlash of their own.

Forest have enlisted former referee Mark Clattenburg as a consultant to fight their corner after believing they have been on the wrong end of a series of contentious decisions.

But former Manchester United captain Gary Neville called on Clattenburg to resign and disassociate himself from the club's words.

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