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Talking Points From Every Premier League Matchweek 26 Fixture

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The Premier League has wrapped up for matchweek 26, and it is still Liverpool that find themselves at the summit. Both Manchester City and Arsenal kept up the pace with respective wins over Bournemouth and Newcastle United, while Aston Villa smashed Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest at home.

Elsewhere, Manchester United’s underwhelming season continued with a shock home defeat at the hands of Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur were absent from the fixture list after their match against Chelsea was postponed due to the latter’s involvement in the Carabao Cup final.

There is a lot of football still to be played and nobody’s fate has been set in stone. That said, let us take a look at the talking points from matchweek 26 involving each Premier League fixture.

#Liverpool vs Luton Town

Jurgen Klopp’s injury-ravaged Liverpool side sparkled to a 4-1 success over Luton Town at Anfield in midweek to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Heading into the game, the Reds were without first-teamers Alisson Becker, Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, Dominik Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez, while Klopp decided to rest Andy Robertson and Ibrahima Konate ahead of the Carabao Cup final. Things didn’t start well for the home side as they trailed to Chiedozie Ogbene’s goal inside 15 minutes.

Klopp’s side went into half time disappointed but came back flying out of their blocks after the break as wave of Liverpool attacks threatened Luton. 10 minutes after half time, Virgil van Dijk equalised with a powerful header before Cody Gakpo made it 2-1 in the blink of an eye. Goals from Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliot later made the scoreline emphatic as the Reds made it three league wins on the bounce since their 3-1 defeat at Arsenal.

#Crystal Palace vs Burnley

Crystal Palace beat 10-man Burnley 3-0 at Selhurst Park in new manager Oliver Glasner’s first game in charge on Saturday. The win moved the Eagles eight points clear of the relegation zone and made Glasner just the second Palace manager to win their first Premier League game in charge.

Having joined a club midway through a season for the first time in his career, Glasner settled on a three-man backline that Palace had operated with during the 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park last week. Supporters will want changes to happen swiftly after a torrid period under Roy Hodgson and the win over Burnley will give them a lot of hope for what is to come.

As for Burnley, the defeat at Selhurst Park left them eight points from safety in the top flight. 19th in the table and winless in eight games, Vincent Kompany’s side will have to produce something special to maintain their Premier League status.

#Aston Villa vs Nottingham Forest

Douglas Luiz struck twice as Aston Villa smashed Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest 4-2 at Villa Park on Saturday.

Luiz has been among Aston Villa’s best players this season, and his goal contributions from midfield have been quite spectacular to watch. The Brazilian’s brace took his tally to nine goals for the campaign and helped Unai Emery’s side open a five-point gap over fifth-place Tottenham and eight over sixth-place Manchester United in the battle for a top-four spot.

Recently, after Boubacar Kamara’s ACL injury, Luiz’s importance to the team has been heightened, and Unai Emery will want the midfielder to keep firing until the end of the season.

#Manchester United vs Fulham

Manchester United went into Saturday’s game in high spirits having won four straight Premier League games but their hard-earned momentum was thrown away in a shambolic defeat to Fulham at Old Trafford.

Against a Fulham side without Willian, Joao Palhinha and Raul Jimenez, Erik ten Hag’s side had the chance to go level on points with fifth-place Tottenham. Instead, they lost 2-1 with a display so bad that didn’t help Ten Hag’s naïve judgement of his team’s performance during the post-match presser.

The Red Devils have now gone eight points behind Aston Villa in fourth and every time they seem to take a step forward, they take two steps back with more questions asked than answered. If ever there was a day to remind Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s new regime how big a job they face to restore the club’s lost glory, then this was it.

#Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton

Skipper Lewis Dunk powered in a 95th-minute header to help 10-man Brighton earn a point against Everton in a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium.

Despite Brighton’s dominance before the break, it was Everton that took the lead through Jarrad Branthwaite. Everything looked like it was going against the Seagulls after Billy Gilmour was sent off for a reckless challenge on Amadou Onana, but they managed to level in stoppage time to extend their unbeaten run at home to 11 games.

A point at the Amex is credible for Sean Dyche’s Everton in their fight against relegation. The weekend for their fans became merrier after a record 10-point deduction for a breach of Premier League profit and sustainability rules (PSR) was reduced to six points on appeal.

#Bournemouth vs Manchester City

Manchester City eked out a second 1-0 win in five days, with Phil Foden’s first-half strike earning all three points at Bournemouth. By the Sky Blues’ high standards, it was an unconvincing performance but Pep Guardiola won’t care much as long as his team continue churning wins. It was a product of graft rather than flamboyance against a Bournemouth side that have been solid at home this season.

Man City travel to Luton Town for the FA Cup fifth round on Tuesday evening, before March brings stellar tests against Arsenal, Brighton and Liverpool, as well as the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. Their winning form, coupled with key players returning from injury, means the prospect of a back-to-back Treble is very much on.

#Arsenal vs Newcastle United

Arsenal blew Newcastle United 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium to make a strong statement in the title race.

The Gunners are the most form in the title race, scoring 25 goals in six consecutive Premier League wins. Newcastle had no answer to Arsenal’s relentless pressure and energy from the onset and eventually became their latest victim. On another day, Mikel Arteta’s side could have scored many more and made the scoreline very bad for the Magpies.

Arsenal ran out of steam during the final stretch in last season’s title race having led for the most of the season. A year on, Arteta’s more mature troops appear well-equipped to rub shoulders with Man City and Liverpool.

#Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sheffield United

Wolverhampton Wanderers climbed to eighth place in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday, with Pablo Sarabia’s first-half strike sealing their third win in four matches. It was Wolves’ first league win at home since December, one that helped keep up the winning momentum.

On the contrary, Sheffield United are firmly cemented at the basement of the table as they have managed just one away victory so far this season. Relegation is an inevitability for Chris Wilder’s side after a 19th defeat of the season.

#West Ham United vs Brentford

West Ham United ended their eight-game winless run in all competitions with a 4-2 thrashing of London rivals Brentford at home on Monday night. Lucas Paqueta’s return from injury added meat and menace to the attack, and for all his and Mohammed Kudus’ eye-catching wing-wizardry, it was yet another Jarrod Bowen masterclass at the heart of the Hammers’ dismantling of the Bees.

The David Moyes-managed side’s first league win over Brentford in five attempts owed much to Jarrod Bowen’s flair, elusive movement and deadly finishing. This was the England forward at his sublime best, and his return to goalscoring form was key to West Ham rejuvenating their hopes of qualifying for Europe.

Brentford, on the contrary, find themselves five points above the drop zone after their fifth defeat in six games. They are shipping goals at such an alarming rate, and with games against Arsenal and Chelsea next, it promises to be an anxious few months for Thomas Frank’s side.

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