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Premier League talking points

TALKING points from the weekend’s Premier League matches:

ARSENAL WILL CHEER ON SPURS

Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz joked that he will be the “biggest fan of Tottenham ever” when their London rivals Spurs host Manchester City on Tuesday in a game with huge Premier League title implications in the season’s final week.

While Arsenal reclaimed the provisional top spot with a 1-0 victory at Manchester United on Sunday, City trail them by only a point with a game in hand.

Even a draw for Tottenham on Tuesday would send the Gunners and City into the season’s final day on Sunday level on points, but with Arsenal boasting the better goal difference.

“My experience in this league is that any team can beat any team,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said of Spurs’ chances against City, who have never won or even scored in their five previous league games at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.

GVARDIOL THE REAL DEAL

Josko Gvardiol was hardly an unknown quantity when he signed for Manchester City for 77 million pounds ($96.38 million) last August from RB Leipzig but few in England knew much about the Croatian.

They do now. The 22-year-old is beginning to look like a real thoroughbred in a team full of them and showed his class with two goals in the 4-0 win against Fulham on Saturday.

Notionally a left-back, Gvardiol played more like an established winger and scored two goals that Erling Haaland would have been proud of.

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He has four goals in his last five league games and has the potential to become a pivotal player at City for many years.

40 NO LONGER THE MAGIC NUMBER

40 points used to be the magic number needed for Premier League survival but this season Nottingham Forest could survive with a mere 29 — a total that would be a new record low.

Even if Forest wins their final game and ends up with 32 points it would still be less than the previous lowest total for the team finishing 17th in the Premier League. West Bromwich Albion secured survival in 2004-05 with 34 points.

Last season Leicester City went down with 34 points while the season before that 35 was not enough to save Burnley.

Forest, who were deducted four points for financial breaches, can count themselves lucky that the three promoted teams have all been unable to cope with the top flight.

GLASNER TURNING HEADS AS PALACE THRIVE

Austrian Oliver Glasner can seemingly do no wrong since taking over as manager of Crystal Palace — so much so that he is now reportedly on Bayern Munich’s radar.

Palace were 16th when he arrived in February in the wake of Roy Hodgson’s exit and the Londoners were in real danger of being sucked into the relegation battle.

But Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers — inspired by Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise — was their fifth in six games since a 4-2 home defeat by Manchester City.

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That run includes wins against Liverpool, West Ham United and Newcastle United and Palace are now 12th with 46 points.

A win over Aston Villa next week would see them equal their best Premier League total, although remarkably the 49 points they got in 1992-93 saw them get relegated from the then 22-team top flight.

REALITY CHECK FOR BURNLEY

Vincent Kompany may have transformed Burnley into an entertaining, attacking team in the Championship last season when they won the league, but the Belgian’s side were found wanting after making the step up to the Premier League.

Burnley never climbed out of the relegation zone this season and although they tried to delay the inevitable when they led at Tottenham Hotspur, the writing was on the wall at 1-1 before Spurs’ late winner hammered the final nail in the coffin.

Burnley were guilty of not converting chances this season while their rearguard was punished several times for defensive lapses and Kompany said he hoped they can bridge the gap to the top-flight teams after they return to the Championship.

By The African Mirror

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