From Arsenal scoring a stoppage-time winner against Manchester United to an Erling Haaland-inspired Manchester City smashing Wolves, matchweek 21 of the Premier League was full of entertainment, drama and goals.
A total of 18 goals were scored across 10 games over weekend, with five games ending in a draw—Liverpool vs Chelsea, Leicester City vs Brighton, Bournemouth vs Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace vs Newcastle United and Leeds United vs Brentford. Without much ado, let us take a look at the 10 talking points from matchweek 21.
#Arsenal floor Man United to make another statement
Eddie Nketiah’s stoppage-time goal helped Arsenal down Man United 3-2 on Sunday in a thrilling encounter at the Emirates Stadium. With the win, they reached 50 points from 19 games and avenged their only league defeat of the season at Old Trafford.
Arsenal’s performance was far better than their narrow, last-minute win suggested. There was a clear gulf between the two clubs in terms of chemistry, class and control, and if there was one team that looked like clinching the winning goals after 70 minutes, it was Mikel Arteta’s side.
Not only did the Gunners reacted to Man City’s 3-0 win over Wolves earlier in the day to regain their five-point lead at the summit with one game in hand, but also laid down another title marker.
#Man United find their limits at the Emirates Stadium
From the bottom of the table after two games to fourth after 20 games, Erik ten Hag has clearly worked wonders at Manchester United and has managed to impose his philosophy with remarkable speed.
Despite the nervy 2-1 win over City in the derby, any talk of Man United being in the title race looked premature. A last-gasp Michael Olise free-kick held them to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park last week, before Arsenal bossed Ten Hag’s side for the majority of the game and deservedly won.
It is clear the Red Devils are only six months into the Ten Hag era and remain a work in progress, but them being counted among the title contenders only last week is in itself a big compliment for the Dutchman’s excellent work.
#Some relief for David Moyes
West Ham snapped their seven-game winless run in the league with a 2-0 win over fellow strugglers Everton at the London Stadium. Jarrod Bowen scored a first-half brace to offer some relief for David Moyes, who has come under immense pressure in recent weeks.
You felt like the Hammers were hungrier for three points than their counterparts and that’s what they got in east London. Moyes’ ecstasy after Bowen’s goals told their own story. In terms of generating belief, this was a key afternoon.
#Frank Lampard sacked by Everton
Frank Lampard was relieved of his duties by Everton after a toothless performance against West Ham.
The chop was inevitable for Lampard, who was at the helm of the Merseyside club for 357 days. The English tactician leaves Everton 19th in the table having made their worst-ever start to a season, with 15 points from 20 league games.
#Erling Haaland downs Wolves
After going three appearances without a goal prior to Man City’s encounter against Tottenham last week, it seemed Erling Haaland was human after all. However, after ending his small goal drought against Tottenham, the Norwegian was unstoppable at the weekend as he smashed his fourth Premier League hat-trick of a magnificent debut season in England to guide City to a 3-0 win over Wolves at home.
The hat-trick against Wolves took Haaland’s tally to 25 goals in 19 games, which in itself is a phenomenal return considering this is his first season in the English top-flight. He is very much back in form and that spells danger for the teams set to face City in the next few weeks.
#Mykhaylo Mudryk offers Chelsea a breath of fresh air
Chelsea stole Ukrainian sensation Mykhaylo Mudryk under Arsenal’s noses, and the travelling fans got the first glimpse of their new signing against Liverpool on Saturday.
Coming on as a substitute for Lewis Hall in the 55th minute, Mudryk sparkled on his Chelsea debut. He instantly added more penetration and verve into his side’s attack whilst giving James Milner a torrid time at right-back. Milner picked up a yellow card for tripping him before being substituted six minutes later.
The early signs suggest that Mudryk is going to be a top player for Chelsea, provided he’s moulded properly by Graham Potter. And while the game at Anfield ended goalless, the Ukraine international certainly caught the eye on his debut.
#Where is Bournemouth’s next win coming from?
Bournemouth couldn’t have gone into the World Cup break in a better way than beating Everton 3-0 at the Vitality Stadium. Gary O’Neil’s good work as an interim boss was recognised by the club and they made him the permanent successor to Scott Parker.
Since becoming the permanent manager of the Cherries, Gary O’Neil is yet to win a single game. Bournemouth have lost four out of their five Premier League games after the resumption of the league, while being dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship league leaders Burnley.
While O’Neil and co. managed to snap their four-game losing run with a point against Nottingham Forest, it is hard to see where the next victory is coming from for Bournemouth.
#Tottenham show mettle in gritty win at Fulham
In a delayed kick-off at Craven Cottage, Tottenham found a way to edge past Fulham despite putting in another unconvincing performance.
Fulham dominated Tottenham for large parts of the first half, but Harry Kane had the crucial say on proceedings with a wonderfully taken goal just at the stroke of the break. Spurs were a better team in the second half and asked a couple of questions to which Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno had answers. Fulham had the chance to equalise late in the game but Hugo Lloris made a top save to deny Manor Solomon, as Spurs held on to a gritty win in west London.
Antonio Conte would suggest three points away from home is what matters at the end of the day but deep down he will know his team were miles away from their best.
#Newcastle’s goal drought a worry for Eddie Howe
Newcastle United stretched their unbeaten Premier League run to a club record 15 and kept a sixth clean sheet in a row but the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace showed their attack is not clicking at the moment.
The Magpies have the best defensive record in the division—11 goals conceded in 20 games—but is their misfiring attack that should be a cause of concern for Eddie Howe. They have now scored just once in four league games and their top-four ambitions could be dented by a dearth of goals.
Additionally, Newcastle’s decision to allow Chris Wood to join Nottingham Forest on loan when there is less than a week left in the window to replace him is hugely surprising.
#James Maddison’s return from injury is a blessing for Leicester
James Maddison overcame his niggling knee issue finally and returned to the squad for the first time at the weekend since being injured in the 2-0 win over West Ham just before the World Cup break.
The English playmaker came on in the 69th minute against Brighton to a huge roar from the home fans. Before he injured his knee against West Ham, Maddison was Leicester’s best player and delivered the goods consistently amidst his team’s struggles.
The Foxes are a far more dangerous outfit when Maddison is at the heart of their attacks and bursting into goalscoring positions. Brenden Rodgers’ chances of keeping his job will be far greater if the midfielder gets back to the form that earned him a spot in the England squad at the World Cup.