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Three talking points from the Premier League

FOOTBALL By AFP | March 8th 2021

Manchester City's cruise towards a third Premier League title in four seasons was rocked by another derby defeat to Manchester United as the runaway leaders' 21-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday.

Liverpool's losing run at Anfield on the other hand rolls on as Jurgen Klopp's men lost to Fulham, their sixth straight home defeat.

A famous 1-0 victory for Scott Parker's men has huge ramifications at the bottom of the table with four teams now separated by four points in the battle to beat the drop.

AFP Sports looks at three talking points from the Premier League weekend.

Man Utd slow Man City's title march

A year to the weekend since Premier League football was last played in front of full houses, United showed that not everything has changed in a Covid-19 world.

364 days since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men beat City 2-0 at Old Trafford, they matched that scoreline at the Etihad to cut the lead enjoyed by Pep Guardiola's men at the top of the table to 11 points.

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United's latest derby win may have come too late to reignite the title race, but it maintains Solskjaer's impressive personal record against Guardiola.

The Norwegian has won all three meetings at the Etihad between the pair as United were again able to do what so few others have managed against City in soaking up pressure before pouncing on the counter-attack.

Klopp's flops crash again

Branded "mentality midgets" by Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher after the latest humiliation of their woeful title defence, Liverpool's latest defeat underlined the depth of the crisis engulfing the champions.

Jurgen Klopp's men are on the worst run at Anfield in Liverpool's history and even a top four finish could be out of their reach.

The Reds are four points behind fourth placed Chelsea, who can increase that advantage to seven if they beat Everton on Monday.

Liverpool's sixth defeat in their last seven league games was too much for their former defender Carragher, who fumed: "Jurgen Klopp previously called this team mentality monsters and that was absolutely right at the time. But right now they are like mentality midgets."

Alarmingly for Liverpool fans, Klopp didn't disagree and appeared out of answers, saying: "We don't have the mentality we are used to but the boys want to win games and I saw that today. We still made mistakes and that's the problem.

"We have to make sure the mistakes we make are not accountable. We have to make sure we win a game again."

Relegation battle royale

Fulham remain in the relegation zone only on goal difference after a massive three points pulled them level with Brighton.

The Seagulls once again flattered to deceive as they let a 1-0 lead slip to lose 2-1 to Leicester on Saturday and extend a winless run to five games since they too won at Anfield.

However, it is arguably Newcastle who have most to fear from Fulham's resurgence as they are now just one point clear of the bottom three after a 0-0 draw at West Brom.

All is not well on Tyneside with manager Steve Bruce locking horns with Matt Ritchie in a training ground bust-up this week.

Bruce is also without his three most dangerous attacking players in Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron for the forseeable future, putting his and Newcastle's top-flight future in peril.

 

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