Premier League news, analysis, title race, race home, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Ange Postecoglou

The Premier League title race took another turn as the race home intensifies, while Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham were given a boost as Manchester United were felled by the ‘football gods’.

And a Manchester City superstar took a giant blow from a former great.

Here are all the big talking points from the Premier League weekend.

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Erling Haaland conceded a goal from a former great, while Manchester United managed a draw despite a horrendous performance.
Erling Haaland conceded a goal from a former great, while Manchester United managed a draw despite a horrendous performance.Source: Getty Images

HAALAND HITS AS CITY RECORD IS BROKEN

It was announced as a six-point goal when Arsenal traveled to Manchester City. Everything failed, with Liverpool being the biggest winners of the 0-0 draw.

The Reds moved two points ahead of the Gunners and three ahead of City with their 2-1 comeback win over Brighton, with nine games left.

But at the Etihad, there were just three shots on target as Arsenal’s defense strangled the Cityzens, who failed to score in a home game for the first time in 58 games in all competitions.

This time last year, Arsenal struggled with the pressure of a title race, collapsing to give City a fifth crown in six years. That included a 4-1 defeat to City at the Etihad, their eighth consecutive defeat at that venue.

This time, they showed plenty of steel thanks to a more mature and battle-hardened team, with their league-best defense holding out against a City team that had 72 percent of the possession.

“Defensively we were outstanding,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “The next step is to be more calm with the ball to attack better.

“They are by far the best team in the world, the best coach by far, and we have to catch up. That is the challenge for us.”

It is clear that in the last 12 months they have been playing catch-up.

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Arsenal defenders outplayed Erling Haaland all night.Source: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Manchester City star Erling Haaland’s poor performance saw him take a brutal hit from the great Roy Keane.

Haaland has 18 goals in 24 league games this season, but he didn’t trouble the goalkeeper with any of his game-high four shots. But his build-up play remains a key weakness in his game, and Keane didn’t hold back.

“The level of his overall game is very poor and not just today,” Keane said. “I think leaving their stuff, headbutting, whatever…. In front of goal he is the best in the world.

“But his overall game for a player like that is very poor. Not only today, it has to improve.

“He’s almost like a League Two player, that’s how I see him. His overall game has to improve and will do so in the coming years.

“Being a brilliant striker is fantastic, but he has to improve his game in all aspects.”

Klopp’s message to the Reds after reaching the top | 00:47

THE REDS NOW ‘FAVORITES’ WHILE SALAH MAKES HISTORY

How much fun is a true three-way title race?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who will leave at the end of the season, is determined to enjoy this final moment.

Klopp said: “We have to get through this (and) decide whether we enjoy it or not,” he said.

“It will be difficult and yes, it is stressful at times and your heart rate will be at 180 or 200 or whatever from time to time if you watch it or if you play.

“But if we all enjoy this together, then we have a chance. If we don’t do it, we still have a chance, it’s just a lot harder and that’s why we try to stay positive at all these times.”

He added: “But I decided I’m really going to try to enjoy it.”

Liverpool fell behind to Brighton early in the match but proved their worth to achieve a seventh comeback win this season, their most in a single campaign.

They have earned a whopping 26 points after losing positions in the league this year, three more than any club.

Luis Díaz scored the equalizer before Mohamed Salah scored the winning goal; the Egyptian had missed his lines many times during the match before finally finding the net.

He took 12 shots in the match, the most of any league player in over seven years and an all-time Liverpool record in the Premier League era.

“Imagine if Mo would have finished every situation in his career? He would be crazy, so he is absolutely fine,” Klopp said.

“We need you to try. Mo, like the others, was in a bit of a rush to finish situations and didn’t do what he could.

“But to be so calm in the decisive moment with the best opportunity we had of the best football we played, that makes you a real goalscorer, so we are happy with everything.”

It was far from clinical, but Salah secured another crucial victory for the Reds.Source: Getty Images

According to the Manchester City coach, the Reds are now favorites.

“The first is always the favorite, the second favorite is Arsenal,” Guardiola said. “It is not in our hands. “All we can do is beat Aston Villa (next game).”

Liverpool will also face fourth-place Villa on their home run, as well as fifth-place Tottenham and sixth-place Manchester United. Those matches may not only decide the title race, but could also have a big impact on who plays European football next year.

“That’s the first of the last 10, let’s move on,” Klopp said.

EPL Recap: Spurs make comeback! | 02:24

ANGE’S HUGE IMPULSE AS A STRIKE OF THE ‘FOOTBALL GODS’

Do you believe in the gods of football? Brentford manager Thomas Frank almost lost faith when his team lost a goal to Manchester United in the 96th minute thanks to Mason Mount.

Brentford had dominated the entire game, taking a club-record 31 shots and hitting the woodwork four times.

But Kristoffer Ajer smashed the ball into the back of the net in the 99th minute to seal a well-deserved point for the Bees.

“There should only be one winner in the game, it could only be us,” Frank said.

“Then you lose 1-0 in the 96th minute and you think that football is brutal. “I almost lost faith in the God of football, but he gave me back a little.”

United were simply atrocious against a team that has won just twice in their last 16 Premier League games.

“Brentford were better than us today. They showed more passion, desire and determination than us,” said Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag. “We have to show more.”

A win could have turned their season around and started the push for a top-four finish, but those hopes are dwindling. The Red Devils are now 11 points behind Villa in fourth (but have a game in hand) and eight behind Spurs in fifth.

Erik Ten Hag saw a potential season-defining victory slip away.Source: Getty Images

The top four teams qualify for the Champions League, but the expansion of those competitions next season could see a fifth Premier League team gain automatic qualification.

But United goalkeeper Onana still believes they have a chance, saying: “I feel sad because we are Manchester United. Wherever we go, we have to win. In the end we gave this game away.

“I know we will stick together because we did this last month. I hope we finish in the top four.”

For Spurs, that last-gasp goal gave them more breathing room in fifth place, and they will now look ahead to Aston Villa’s clash with Manchester City on Thursday morning AEDT and hope their top-four rivals lose points.

Having come from behind to beat Luton Town 2-1 at the weekend, Spurs face West Ham on Wednesday morning at AEDT but could receive a crucial injury boost.

Fraser Forster (foot), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) and Manor Solomon (knee) are still sidelined, but star defender Micky van de Ven could start after being an unused substitute against Luton upon his return from injury.

Postecoglou defends playing in Melbourne | 01:07

Chaos in the relegation race

This year’s relegation fight looks like a race to the bottom.

Of the bottom six teams (Brentford in 15th place and below), only Burnley have won a single game in their last five! Crystal Palace, in 14th place, also have one win from their last five, but the rest of the teams have not won at all lately.

Burnley remain penultimate, three points ahead of last-placed Sheffield United, who only have 15 so far (but have one game less).

Luton have 22 points, level with Nottingham Forest in 17th place.

Everton have 25 points and a game less, but have not won a game since before Christmas.

An own goal by Seamus Coleman in injury time saw Everton lose to Bournemouth.Source: Getty Images

With a second charge of breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules (PSR) hanging over their heads, a new points deduction could shake up the relegation race.

The deadline to rule on that charge is April 8, so we will find out next week whether they will receive a second point deduction after being penalized six points for infractions regarding the 2021-22 season.

Even a three-point deduction would put them back in the relegation zone and give hope to the survival dreams of those stuck at the bottom.

Of course, the priority for any of the teams at the wrong end of the table is to win.

Given that there has only been one win by any bottom-six team in their last 30 games combined, the stats show a real gap between those struggling and the rest of the division.

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