Premier League: five lessons we have learnt from the weekend

Big spenders toil, title favourites play like champions elect, and the usual managerial shake-up. Here’s five things we have learnt from the weekend.

1) Will City run away with the title?

On Saturday the league leaders took on everybody’s favourites for the title and it was the latter who delivered a devastatingly convincing performance, putting six goals past Arsenal, only weeks after trouncing Spurs 5-0.

The brilliance of Sergio Aguero and David Silva is well known, but Satuday marked the arrival on the scene of one of City’s expensive signings, Fernandinho.

The Brazilian was at the heart of everything his team did as him and Yaya Toure dismantled Arsenal midfield and the way Arsenal capitulated was a familiar sight at the Etihad, where rival clubs have been sacrificial lambs rather than challengers this season.

City might still struggle for consistency away, but with this form at home – where they have scored 35 goals in eight games – it’s increasingly looking as if it’s just a matter of time before they reach top spot and, potentially, run away with the title.

2) Something strange at WBA

Steve Clarke might feel hard done by West Bromwich Albion’s decision to sack him, for the Scotsman had masterminded a win over Manchester United, held Arsenal to a draw and only an extremely controversial penalty prevented his side from picking up all the three points at Stamford ¬†Bridge.

The draw at Chelsea was a turning point, with Albion registering only a draw in the successive five games, including back-to-back defeats against fellow strugglers Norwich and Cardiff.

Romelu Lukaku’s departure was always going to be a tough blow and Clarke’s failure to recruit a goalscorer – Shane Long is the team’s top scorer with three goals – eventually led to his demise, with Albion a paltry imitation of the side that finished eight last season.

3) Welbeck boost for Moyes

On the back of two consecutive home defeats and with an already thin squad further depleted by injuries, David Moyes found solace in a 3-0 win at Villa, as United’s rollecoaster season continued.

The most pleasing aspect about yesterday’s win for the United manager must have been Danny Welbeck’s performance.

The jury is still out on the England striker who has struggled to replicate his goal return for England when playing for his club, but Welbeck remains a player of huge potential and Moyes’ decision to deploy him up-front with Wayne Rooney in support rather than, as it’s often been the case, the other way around delivered the goods.

With Robin Van Persie struggling with injuries, United’s options up-front could provide some much-needed good news for the red half of Manchester.

4) Suarez even more crucial for Liverpool

Luis Suarez might not quite be the best player in the world, as described by Steven Gerrard, but apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, there are few players as good as the Uruguayan right now.

Suarez’s brace against Spurs not only proved yet again Brendan Rodgers did the right thing by refusing to let him go in the summer, it also highlighted how crucial Suarez’s presence is in improving his team-mates.

Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling are the latest to benefit from the Uruguayan’s qualities, with both players afforded acres of space as the defenders – Spurs’ shambolic back four, in yesterday’s case – are too busy focusing on Suarez.

If Liverpool are to win the league this season, Luis Suarez will be absolutely crucial to their hopes and not just for his goalscoring return.

5) Time running out for AVB

“It’s the second expressive scoreline we’ve suffered this season and we admit that, in the Premier League, things aren’t going in any shape or form the way we want it,” said Andre’ Villas-Boas in the aftermath of his side’s 5-0 defeat at home against Liverpool and nobody can blame Villas-Boas for making excuses.

However, for all his honesty and willingness to accept responsibility for Spurs’ struggles, AVB is, quite plainly, running out of time.

The former Chelsea manager needed time to assemble all of his new signings into the side, but with almost half of the season gone, one wonders whether he had a clear picture in mind at all, or whether he’s repeatedly shuffled his cards in the bid of coming up with a winning hand.

In the Premier League, gambles very seldom pay off.

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