Manchester United’s English defender Chris Smalling (L) celebrates scoring their third goal with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on April 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL /
Manchester United spoiled Manchester City’s title party in style by roaring back from 2-0 down in Saturday’s derby to win 3-2 and keep their local rivals waiting to win the Premier League.
City still boast a 13-point lead at the top of the table and behind them the race for the top four also looks over as Chelsea stumbled again in a 1-1 home draw with West Ham United.
At the other end of the table, defeats for Southampton and Stoke edged them closer to joining the seemingly doomed West Brom in the Championship next season, but Newcastle now look safe.
Here are five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:
Pogba and Sanchez finally click
For 45 minutes Manchester United were living a nightmare at the Etihad, with local rivals City seemingly storming towards the title in the sweetest of fashions.
Paul Pogba claimed watching City celebrate would have been “like a death” for United fans.
And after so much criticism this season, it was the Frenchman who went about resurrecting United with two goals in as many minutes early in the second half.
Pogba’s second was created by Alexis Sanchez and the Chilean’s free-kick also teed up Chris Smalling’s winner as United’s two landmark signings of the Jose Mourinho era clicked together for the first time.
“It’s good that they’ve been able to link in together,” said Smalling. “It’s a great, great turnaround.”
Hazard sparkles but Chelsea splutter
With Chelsea desperately hoping to keep alive their slender top-four hopes, Eden Hazard did everything in his power with one of his best performances of an inconsistent season for the Belgian playmaker.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, it wasn’t enough as their lack of killer instinct came back to haunt them in a 1-1 draw against West Ham at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard was majestic at times, leaving the West Ham defence bewildered by his sublime passing and clever movement.
Yet Chelsea couldn’t make the most of the chances he created and a late equaliser by Javier Hernandez left Antonio Conte’s fifth-placed side lagging 10 points behind Tottenham and Liverpool with only six games left.
Eriksen makes Spurs tick
Harry Kane will always hog the headlines with his goal-scoring exploits, but Christian Eriksen showed in Tottenham’s 2-1 win at Stoke that the driving force of Mauricio Pochettino’s team is the dynamic Dane.
Kane was making his first start since March after returning from an ankle injury, but it was the sublimely gifted Eriksen who pulled the strings as Tottenham cemented their hold on a top-four berth.
Eriksen opened the scoring with a clinical finish and then whipped in a free-kick that looped straight into the net for the winner despite Kane’s claims he got a touch.
Karius keeps Everton waiting
With Liverpool shorn of the prolific Mohamed Salah through injury and keeping Roberto Firmino among others in reserve for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final, second leg at Manchester City, Everton will rarely get a better chance to end their long wait for a win in the Merseyside derby.
That eight-year drought now stands at 17 games as Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius showed more signs of his growing status in a 0-0 draw at Goodison.
The German made a wonderful stop from Yannick Bolasie’s curling effort that was destined for the top corner to record his 13th clean sheet in 24 appearances this season.
Benitez works black and white magic
Liverpool could make it back to the Champions League semi-finals this week for the first time since Rafael Benitez was in charge at Anfield a decade ago.
In a far cry from his illustrious past, for the past few seasons Benitez has been working to get and keep Newcastle out of the Championship rather than in the Champions League.
That target looks to have been achieved for this season after a 2-1 win at Leicester on Saturday took the Magpies up to 10th and 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
The Spaniard has defied a lack of investment from Mike Ashley to keep Newcastle afloat, but holding onto him for another campaign without a change in ownership may be their most onerous task this summer.