Premier League leaders Manchester City laid down another title marker after seeing off rivals Manchester United 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to regain their six-point advantage at the top of the table.
On Saturday, Liverpool had to dig deep to edge out West Ham at Anfield, bottom club Norwich saw their survival bid further dented after losing at home to Brentford and new Leeds boss Jesse Marsch started his reign with a 1-0 defeat at Leicester.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the main talking points from the latest round of top-flight fixtures.
City slickers leave United in shade
Pep Guardiola’s men continue to build another head of steam after comfortably seeing off their local rivals and coasting to a third straight win in all competitions since the squad’s credentials were questioned following a home defeat by Tottenham. Missing gamechanger Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United were always facing a tall order and at times it looked too easy for City, who swept ahead through Kevin De Bruyne after just five minutes before swiftly putting an end to any hopes of a comeback, despite Jadon Sancho’s fine equalize against his old club. With a six-point cushion effortlessly restored after a ruthless second-half display, City look well on course for another title, while United face more questions about the direction of their squad under interim manager Ralf Rangnick as they drop to fifth.
Rock-solid Reds rumble on
The records will simply show Liverpool chalked up a seventh straight Premier League win by beating West Ham 1-0 at Anfield on Saturday with a first-half goal from Sadio Mane. But the manner in which they secured what could yet prove to be three crucial points in their title bid said so much more. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp hailed his side’s defending, which saw full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson and midfielder Naby Keita all make goal-preventing tackles. More hard graft at both ends of the pitch lies ahead, but Liverpool’s championship ambitions continue to be built upon the soundest of foundations.
Time looks up for sinking Canaries
At the other end of the table, rock-bottom Norwich were pushed further back towards the Sky Bet Championship following a 3-1 home defeat by Brentford in a match which beleaguered Canaries boss Dean Smith had labeled as “must not lose”. Smith already accepted time was running out on Norwich’s hopes of pulling off the ‘Great Escape’, and now there are only 11 games left to drastically improve a meagre tally of 17 points. Chelsea are the next visitors to Carrow Road on Thursday night – after which you suspect Delia Smith’s recipe for Premier League survival is unlikely to be heated up to boiling point any time soon.
Marsch brings fresh perspective
It is not often a 1-0 defeat could be seen as progress, but after shipping 14 goals in the past three Premier League games, new Leeds boss Jesse Marsch is determined to take it that way after hailing “a great first step” to life after Marcelo Bielsa’s reign. The former RB Leipzig coach only had four days to work with the squad and time will tell whether the American’s “fresh perspective” can stop the downward spiral. But with back-to-back home games against Aston Villa and Norwich coming up, the Elland Road faithful will be hoping that turnaround comes soon rather than just end up being too late to make a difference.
Blues must let football do the talking
Chelsea kept themselves firmly in the driving seat for Champions League qualification after running out 4-0 winners at relegation-battlers Burnley. However, while the headlines should have been about another impressive display by Thomas Tuchel’s men as they move on from the disappointment of penalty shoot-out heartbreak in the Carabao Cup final, some Chelsea fans drew unnecessary negative attention for singing the name of owner Roman Abramovich during a minute’s applause in solidarity with Ukraine before kick-off at Turf Moor. It resulted in Blues boss Tuchel having to again field some uncomfortable questions – but once again the German showed great dignity when tackling issues off the field rather than analyzing performances on it.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.