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Premier League talking points

TALKING points from the latest round of Premier League games.

ARSENAL SHOW GRIT TO PROVE DOUBTERS WRONG

Defeats by Aston Villa and Bayern Munich in their last two matches called Arsenal’s backbone into question but Mikel Arteta’s side answered the doubters with a gritty 2-0 win at Wolves to show that their title challenge is not over yet.

It was a dour affair and though the statistics might suggest that Arsenal had it easy, they had to grind it out, scoring late in each half to show a different side of themselves that might prove vital as the title race reaches its climax.

Victory over Chelsea on Tuesday would give them a four-point lead over Manchester City and although Pep Guardiola’s side would have two games in hand, Arsenal showed they are still very much up for the fight.

LUTON NO-SHOW A CONCERN FOR EDWARDS

Luton Town’s deflating 5-1 home defeat by Brentford on Saturday saw the Hatters equal their club record for most losses in a top-flight season with 21, the same as in 1959-60 and 1990-91.

They were relegated on the first of those occasions and finished 18th in the second as it was enough to survive the drop that year with only two teams going down. In their current form, they face an uphill struggle to preserve their top-flight status.

Luton’s positive approach has impressed this season but Saturday’s capitulation will be a worry for manager Rob Edwards and they will need to rediscover their spirit if they are to avoid a return to the Championship.

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MEMORABLE RETURN FOR ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

In his first Premier League start for Liverpool in more than two months following a knee injury, Trent Alexander-Arnold enjoyed a memorable return on Sunday.

The England international scored a sublime free-kick — his sixth direct free-kick league goal, and his 100th goal involvement (goals and assists) for the Reds — to help reignite Liverpool’s title hopes.

While Conor Bradley filled in admirably during the right-back’s absence, Alexander-Arnold’s presence was felt on Sunday with pundit Jamie Carragher saying “It’s like having (Manchester City’s standout midfielder) Kevin De Bruyne playing at right-back.”

THE FINAL CHAPTER FOR MOYES?

David Moyes is rightly proud of his achievements at West Ham United, turning them from annual relegation battlers into a top-half club and regulars in European competition.

But it is beginning to look like the final chapter for the Scot after Sunday’s 5-2 drubbing at Crystal Palace.

West Ham pushed German champions Bayer Leverkusen hard in their Europa League quarter-final defeat but three wins from their last 15 games in the Premier League suggests a change could be coming at the end of the season.

EMERY STOCK KEEPS RISING

Aston Villa’s defeat of Bournemouth on Sunday put them within touching distance of a place in the Champions League but there could be a cloud on the horizon for the club’s fans.

The Spaniard has transformed Villa but such are the plaudits he is receiving that the Midlands club may well have to fend off interest from so-called bigger clubs this summer.

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Manchester United’s managerial situation looks even more volatile after their chaotic FA Cup semi-final win over Coventry City on Sunday and the new Old Trafford hierarchy will surely have the project-building Emery on their radar if Erik ten Hag’s tenure is nearing its end.

By The African Mirror

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