Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

15 January 2017 06:39

Pep Guardiola conceded Manchester City's Premier League title bid could be over after the heaviest domestic league defeat of his career as a manager, while both Chelsea and West Ham won in the absence of a leading player. Here, Press Association Sport studies what was learned from the latest round of Premier League matches.

MANCHESTER CLUBS OUT OF TITLE CONTENTION?

Manchester became the focus of world football last summer when Jose Mourinho joined Guardiola in the city as the noisiest of neighbours. So far it is white noise as United and City have struggled to sustain a challenge at the top of the table. United saw a six-match winning run in the league end in a draw at Old Trafford which damaged Liverpool's own ambitions of a long-awaited title. Sixth-placed United are 12 points adrift of the Premier League summit and City's deficit is 10, a margin Guardiola reckons is almost unsurmountable with 17 games to go.

GUARDIOLA'S 'GENIUS' IN QUESTION?

With peerless maestro Lionel Messi at Barcelona and Bayern Munich all-conquering in Germany, Guardiola could hardly fail, as Mourinho would all too often point out. But the Premier League is a different beast. Guardiola is feeling the full force of competition, as Everton inflicted a 4-0 defeat. It seems his Manchester City team is not responding to his methods. Or was his success down to others more than himself? It is too soon to judge Guardiola at City, but this time next year we may know the answer.

THE COLLECTIVE IS GREATER THAN INDIVIDUALS

Dimitri Payet opted out of West Ham's side and Diego Costa was omitted from Chelsea's by Antonio Conte. The future of both is likely to dominate the remainder of the transfer window. The Hammers showed unity in defeating former boss Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace and Chelsea showed togetherness at champions Leicester, with Conte refusing to reveal all on Costa. Many reckon Chelsea will struggle to sustain a title challenge if Costa moves to China, but they have a head start, with a seven-point lead, and a team playing together for the greater good.

SILVA A TIGER TAMER

Hull have won two of three matches under new boss Marco Silva, who on Saturday oversaw a 3-1 win over Bournemouth in his first Premier League game. It saw the Tigers, toothless for much of the first half of the season, climb off the bottom of the table. They are now level on points with Crystal Palace, five points behind last season's champions Leicester. It will be tight at the top this season, but the bottom will be equally competitive. Silva will hope his winning ratio continues, but Chelsea are next.

SWANS SINKING

Arsene Wenger said Swansea are good enough to avoid relegation after Arsenal's 4-0 win at the Liberty Stadium, but better sides have succumbed to the drop. It was new head coach Paul Clement's first Premier League match in charge, as successor to Bob Bradley. Clement has pedigree as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant at Chelsea, Paris St Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. But soon the sinking Swans may be questioning the appointment. although he does have eight months experience as a Championship manager, with Derby.

Source: PA


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