Brighton win puts Manchester City on title brink – 5 things from Premier League
Brighton handed Manchester City the chance to clinch the Premier League title next weekend as the latest round of fixtures yielded a potentially decisive twist.
The Seagulls’ breath-taking victory at Arsenal left City four points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand, meaning they can clinch the trophy for a fifth time with a home win over struggling Chelsea next Sunday.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at an eventful weekend which also saw Southampton slip out of the top flight.
Brighton’s remarkable 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium may have been celebrated in the blue half of Manchester, but certainly not the red, nor on Tyneside or Merseyside. The Seagulls not only dented the Gunners’ title hopes, but dragged themselves back on to the fringes of the hunt for Champions League qualification with the perfect response to Monday’s shock 5-1 drubbing by Everton, edging to within four points of the Reds and eight of United and the Magpies with a game in hand on all three.
If Manchester City do go on to clinch the title, they will have done so with a significant helping hand from skipper Ilkay Gundogan. The 32-year-old Germany international’s double secured a 2-1 win over Leeds last weekend – and it might have been better had he converted a penalty gifted to him by Erling Haaland – and he repeated the feat in sublime style in Sunday’s 3-0 victory at Everton to further underline his importance to Pep Guardiola.
A spot of bother
Should renowned firefighter Sam Allardyce fail in his mission to drag Leeds to safety, he and his players will inevitably lose sleep over an eventful afternoon at Elland Road when Newcastle came to call. Already leading through Luke Ayling’s early strike, the home side passed up a glorious opportunity to extend their advantage when Nick Pope saved Patrick Bamford’s penalty, and their afternoon might have ended in defeat after Magpies frontman Callum Wilson showed him how to do it from the spot not once, but twice before Rasmus Kristensen’s late equaliser snatched a 2-2 draw.
Eze does it
Crystal Palace’s reliance on Wilfried Zaha in recent seasons has piled huge weight on the Ivory Coast international’s shoulders, but in Eberechi Eze, they appear to have found someone to share the burden. The 24-year-old scored both goals in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth, the first with an assured finish after Jordan Ayew had flicked on Zaha’s cross, and the second a stunning solo effort, to take his tally to six in his last seven appearances.
That sinking feeling
If further proof were needed that changing manager twice during a Premier League season is not necessarily a good idea, it was provided on Saturday when Southampton slipped out of the top flight with barely a whimper after a 2-0 home defeat by Fulham. Between them, Ralph Hasenhuttl, Nathan Jones and Ruben Selles have managed to win only six of the 36 league games the Saints have played to date and collected just 24 points.