There were five Premier League fixtures across the weekend as the rest of the division enjoyed a mid-season break.
Runaway leaders Liverpool resumed action after some warm-weather relaxation and notched yet another win on their seemingly relentless march towards a first league title for 30 years, while elsewhere VAR was once again making the headlines.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what we learned from the latest round of top-flight matches.
The Red juggernaut keeps rolling on
Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Norwich saw Jurgen Klopp’s team move an incredible 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. That is the biggest lead ever at the end of a day in English top-flight history.
The Merseysiders have won 17 successive Premier League matches and taken 103 points from the last 105 available. Klopp’s team are now just five victories away from being crowned champions and the possibility of the earliest ever title win in the Premier League.
VAR continues to frustrate
It was the main talking point again following Friday’s goalless draw between Wolves and Leicester. Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo was left fuming after Willy Boly’s header on the stroke of half-time was chalked off after a lengthy check.
The decision to disallow the goal due to a marginal offside against Pedro Neto in the build-up caused huge confusion and frustration inside Molineux – on the pitch, in the dugout and in the stands. Technically it was the correct decision but it once again raised questions about the spirit in which the technology should be used.
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was left bemused by the system on Sunday, meanwhile, after it awarded a penalty to Tottenham which led to the visitors’ second goal in a 3-2 win at Villa Park.
Jose’s at the wheel
When Jose Mourinho arrived at Tottenham in November, he inherited a club that had been aimlessly drifting in the Premier League. Either side of reaching the Champions League final, domestic results were disappointing for most of 2019 with Spurs having picked up only 25 points from 24 league games prior to the Portuguese being appointed.
The north London club were 14th in the table when Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino, but just short of three months later they sit fifth after Sunday’s late 3-2 win at Aston Villa, only one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of the Blues’ clash with Manchester United on Monday night.
Clarets continue to climb
Burnley have edged themselves away from the relegation places in recent weeks and their win at Southampton provided a little more breathing space. The victory actually moved them to within six points of sixth-placed Spurs.
It should be no surprise – this is not the Clarets’ first rodeo. Sean Dyche‘s side have taken 10 points from the last 12 available and can perhaps even start targeting a European spot.
Arsenal advancing under Arteta
The Gunners have shown signs of improvement since Arteta took over as head coach in December, replacing Unai Emery halfway through his fellow Spaniard’s second season in charge. Arsenal have lost only once in 10 games under Arteta, although Sunday’s victory against Newcastle was only their fourth win.
That could be because Arteta has tightened up the team defensively, seemingly at the expense of seeing the goals dry up somewhat prior to the 4-0 success against the Magpies. His team still have work to do to secure a European berth for next season but the signs are encouraging.
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