Man United Shock Man City While West Ham Ready The Axe: Talking Points Matchweek 20

Arsenal tightened their grip on the Premier League title race after a weekend of two high-octane derbies saw Mikel Arteta’s side pull eight points clear of Manchester City.

Man City were beaten by cross-town rivals Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford in controversial circumstances on Saturday, before Arsenal took advantage with a polished 2-0 away win over North London counterparts Tottenham. Man United’s victory in the derby saw them close the gap to City within a point, while Newcastle United consolidated their third position with a late win over Fulham.

Things are hotting up at the bottom of the table with just two points separating Leeds United in 14th from Southampton in 20th. That being said, here are 10 talking points from the Premier League gameweek 20.

#Time for West Ham to consider David Moyes’ future?

West Ham have taken one point from the last seven games, occupy the final relegation spot and are only off the bottom of the table because of their superior goal difference to Everton and Southampton. David Moyes is fighting to save his job after West Ham’s latest 1-0 defeat to Wolves, who climbed away from the dotted lines with the weekend’s result at Molineux.

The Hammers have gone stale after successive 6th and 7th-place finishes, and after the latest loss to Wolves, the board may start thinking of lining up potential replacements for Moyes as it feels the Scotsman has reached the final stages of his chapter with West Ham.

#Aaron Ramsdale delivers the goods to keep Arsenal on track

Arsenal sent another strong statement to the rest of the Premier League by comprehensively dispatching bitter rivals 2-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Aaron Ramsdale played a key role in the Gunners’ success at Tottenham, making a string of top saves to deny Antonio Conte’s men. The England international made a total of seven saves to keep his clean sheet intact and helped Arsenal move eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

For all the critics he has had during the start of his Arsenal career, Ramsdale is slowly silencing them all.

#Brighton ruthless, Liverpool toothless

There were fears among some sections of the fans as to who would succeed Graham Potter at Brighton, but a distinct set of values and ethos meant a clear process with regards to appointing his successor.

In came Roberto de Zerbi, and he has not only overseen quite a steady progress at Brighton but also wiped away the initial fears of the fans. The 3-0 victory over Liverpool at the weekend was the highlight of De Zerbi’s tenure so far, with the Solly March-inspired Seagulls ruthlessly slicing apart the visitors from Merseyside.

Brighton are developing into a fantastic unit under De Zerbi and their recent demolition of Liverpool was a further testament. On the contrary, Liverpool perhaps delivered their worst performance during Jurgen Klopp’s seven-year tenure at Anfield. They could only muster six shots, only two on target with new signing Cody Gakpo failing to impress on his Premier League debut.

#Man United in title contention with derby win

Manchester United certainly announced themselves as title contenders with a 2-1 dramatic victory, albeit in controversial circumstances, over cross-town rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford.

Since Man City blew Man United away 6-3 in the reverse fixture in October, Erik ten Hag’s side have enjoyed a resurgence in form. They now look like a team organised, disciplined and effective in front of goal, winning 12 of its last 13 games in all competitions.

Erik ten Hag’s side have moved to within one point of City, and while they trail league leaders Arsenal by nine points, the claiming of bragging rights in the derby pointed to a four-horse title race brewing this time around.

#Benoit Badiashile enjoys assured Chelsea debut against Crystal Palace

Benoit Badiashile patiently waited for two weeks to make his first appearance for Chelsea since signing from AS Monaco at the start of the January transfer window, and it finally came at home to Crystal Palace.

After a nervy start to a game where the defender made a couple of slashed clearances, Badiashile eventually calmed down and grew into the game. The young Frenchman enjoyed the applause of the Chelsea faithful when he shrugged off Wilfried Zaha while chasing the ball at one point before hi-fying his centre-back partner Thiago Silva.

There’s certainly a lot of room for improvement for him and bigger challenges to pass but this was the kind of strong and no-nonsense performance that should immediately endear Badiashile to the Chelsea fans.

#Pressure mounting on Jesse Marsch

The pressure has started to mount on Jesse Marsch after Leeds United’s latest 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa away.

The Peacocks have taken just two points from their last five matches, and although they are 14th in the table, only two points separate them from 18th-placed West Ham. It was in no way a poor performance from Leeds in their defeat to Villa but the lack of defensive organisation and failure to stop leaking goals is proving alarming.

Jesse Marsch clearly needs to fix the defensive problems at the club or else could face the chop.

#Bournemouth need reinforcements

Since Gary O’Neil was appointed as Bournemouth’s new head coach in late November after 12 games as interim coach, the club has lost each of their last six games in all competitions.

The flat 2-0 defeat to Brentford at the weekend saw midfielder Lewis Cook hobbling off in the first half and joining a significant injury list also featuring Dominic Solanke, Marcus Tavernier, David Brooks and Junior Stanislas.

With just one win in their last five league games, the Cherries have dropped down to 17th in the table. They clearly need reinforcements in a few areas of the pitch to battle against relegation, and quickly. But either way, this weekend’s home game against Nottingham Forest now looks very important indeed.

#Nathan Jones finds the right blend

Nathan Jones has had a terrible start to his stint with Southampton but is seemingly showing signs of growing into the role.

Jones has changed formation on several occasions during the early stages of his tenure as the Saints’ boss, switching between playing four and a back five at different times. He changed it to back five in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals last week and stunned Man City 2-0.

Against Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League, Jones reverted to a flat back four and his team delivered with a 2-1 comeback win. Skipper James Ward-Prowse was excellent against Man City in the Carabao Cup and built on that performance with two goals at Everton.

Next up for Southampton is a home game against Aston Villa, and Jones would be well-advised to stick with the team that won at Goodison Park.

#Brendan Rodgers’ worries deepen at Leicester City

After seemingly turning around a corner with a run of five wins from six before the World Cup, Leicester City’s form has nosedived since the resumption of the Premier League and they have now dropped close to the bottom three to pile the pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Foxes’ recent defeat came at the hands of East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest, with Brennan Johnson’s second-half double earning a deserved victory for Steve Cooper’s men. This means Leicester City have now lost four successive Premier League games, thereby, leaving Rodgers in a spot of bother ahead of the upcoming games that include trip to Aston Villa and Man United, and home fixtures against Brighton, Spurs and Arsenal.

#Wolves climb out of bottom three

Wolves has shown some signs of life under new manager Julen Lopetegui and took a positive step towards beating relegation by beating fellow strugglers West Ham 1-0 at Molineux.

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