Three talking points from Premier League
Leandro Trossard inspired Arsenal as the Premier League leaders restored their five-point lead.
Erling Haaland hasn’t given up hope that Manchester City can catch the Gunners, while Liverpool are back to square one after a dismal defeat at Bournemouth.
AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:
Trossard already an Arsenal bargain
If Arsenal lift their first Premier League title since 2004, the £21 million ($25 million) invested in signing Leandro Trossard will prove one of the bargains of the season.
Trossard already looks like a shrewd acquisition by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta after his three assists inspired Sunday’s 3-0 win at Fulham.
Arsenal only swooped for Belgium forward after their bid for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhailo Mudryk was usurped by a bigger last-minute offer from Chelsea.
But, while Mudryk is still adapting to the Premier League, Trossard has hit the ground running at Arsenal after four years of experience in English football with Brighton.
The 28-year-old’s latest display of creativity and intelligence paved the way for the Gunners to record a fifth successive league victory and move them a step closer to the title.
With 11 games left, Arsenal have a five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City and Trossard was happy to play his part.
“A perfect win for us. I’m really happy with it. I always try to contribute. Today it went my way,” he said.
“Same as last week. Eleven finals for us. We’ll take it game by game. Today we did a great game.”
Defiant Haaland expects City charge
Erling Haaland has warned Arsenal that Manchester City still believe they can win a fifth Premier League title in the last six seasons.
Haaland scored the second-half penalty that sealed a gritty 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday, briefly moving the champions within two points of Arsenal.
Although Arsenal reopened their five-point advantage less than 24 hours later, the City striker is convinced there will be more twists before the title race is decided.
Pep Guardiola’s side face a crucial clash with Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on April 26.
And Haaland is determined to ensure his debut season in English football, which has so far produced 34 goals for the Norwegian in all competitions, ends on a high note.
“With this gap, we just have to focus on ourselves,” he said. “We have them (Arsenal) at home and a lot of games left to play still.
“Nothing is decided yet. This is England. This is what I’ve been watching my entire life.
“I enjoy every single second of it. It’s good to be in the middle of it.”
Liverpool’s hunger questioned
Trent Alexander-Arnold admitted Liverpool did not play with enough desire during their miserable 1-0 defeat at lowly Bournemouth on Saturday.
Philip Billing’s first-half goal punished sloppy Liverpool defending as the Reds crashed back down to earth after last weekend’s historic 7-0 rout of arch-rivals Manchester United.
Mohamed Salah missed a second-half penalty to compound Liverpool’s frustration against a team who started the day at the bottom of the table.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have dropped to sixth place, six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, and right-back Alexander-Arnold was concerned with the lethargic way Liverpool approached a key contest.
“This is the time of the season when everyone knows what they are fighting for and obviously Bournemouth are in a relegation battle,” he said.
“They are fighting for survival. But every team in the league is fighting for something.
“I think looking back on it now, they probably wanted it more than us and that is something that is unacceptable and we need to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”