There was a change at the top of the Premier League table for the first time since October after Chelsea faltered while Manchester City and Liverpool kept up their fine recent form with away wins.
Ralf Rangnick got his tenure at Manchester United off to a successful start and Newcastle were able to end their long wait for a victory.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five things we learned this weekend.
City hit summit
FULL TIME | A Bernardo brace and a goal from Sterling see us go to the top of the table! 🔥🔝— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 4, 2021
The champions cruised to a 3-1 triumph at Watford on Saturday with Bernardo Silva, dubbed the “best player in the world” by boss Pep Guardiola in midweek, again on target with a brace. It sent City to the top of the table for the first time this season and the new leaders were also able to welcome Kevin De Bruyne back after a bout of coronavirus. With Phil Foden and Jack Grealish fit again, the signs look ominous for the chasing pack.
West Ham show top-four credentials
West Ham opened the door for City to take over at the summit after they beat previous leaders Chelsea in fine fashion at the London Stadium. The thrilling 3-2 victory ended the Hammers’ mini-slump and provided another reminder of their quality to show why manager David Moyes continues to talk up their hopes of a top-four finish. It followed success by the same scoreline against Liverpool last month with the Hammers dreaming of more than just bubbles flying high right now.
Seagulls nick more points at the death
Brighton are making a habit of scoring in the final exchanges but even their efforts at Southampton took it to another level. Neal Maupay struck in the eighth minute of stoppage time to earn a point for the draw specialists. It was also Maupay who grabbed a late equaliser away to West Ham in midweek but there are further examples of Brighton’s never-say-die attitude. The win at Brentford and 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace both occurred with goals after the 90 minutes were up.
Howey the lads
Eddie Howe finally had lift off as Newcastle manager after they edged out Burnley 1-0 at St James’ Park. It ended their long wait for a first league win of the campaign and they are now only three points from safety. It was much-needed for the Magpies too who have a daunting fixture list coming up but at least they have momentum on their side after a battling midweek draw with Norwich.
Rangnick did not have to wait long before he toasted a first triumph in the Old Trafford hotseat but a narrow victory over Crystal Palace occurred through an unlikely source. Fred struck the winner with 13 minutes left but the German’s famed high-pressing tactic, named Gegenpressing, was evident from the off. In fact, United won the ball 12 times in the final third of the pitch, which is a vast improvement on this season and recent years.
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