Manchester City vs. Arsenal was a spectacle, but not one that answered anyone’s questions. Plus everything from the weekend in the Premier League.
The international break gave Arsenal fans two weeks to think about Arsenal’s loss to West Bromwich Albion and speculate about the future of Arsene Wenger. They had two weeks to get stressed out about a big game against Manchester City and wonder what it might mean for the club’s future. What they got was an extremely entertaining match where the Gunners showed fantastic effort, but ultimately couldn’t get the win. That’s not going to settle the debate about Wenger’s future one bit.
Elsewhere in England, Chelsea suffered a surprise loss, while Tottenham won away with some of their top players on the bench. If you’d like to manufacture a fake title race that does not exist, here’s your opportunity.
The Merseyside derby was a wake-up call for Everton, and the relegation race got a good shake-up with wins for Hull and Crystal Palace.
Here’s all the important stuff that happened in the Premier League this weekend.
Liverpool 3-1 Everton
Burnley 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace
Hull City 2-1 West Ham United
Leicester City 2-0 Stoke City
Watford FC 1-0 Sunderland
Southampton 0-0 AFC Bournemouth
Swansea City 0-0 Middlesbrough
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City
Arsenal fights hard, but gains nothing
If ever there was a game to summarize the last decade of the Arsenal experience, it was Sunday’s. Faced with accusations that they weren’t giving maximum effort and increasing displeasure over Arsene Wenger’s continued employment, the Arsenal players fought. They gave everything they had on Sunday against Manchester City, and Shkrodan Mustafi scored this dramatic equalizer.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 2, 2017
But in the end, it wasn’t good enough. Arsenal, despite all their fighting, drew the league’s fourth place team at home. They were out-shot and out-possessed. They’re just as far behind the top four as they were at the start of the week.
Arsenal’s players fighting hard for Wenger might make a lot of people feel better, but it shouldn’t earn him a contract extension. They’re still worse than their rivals. This game solved nothing.
Chelsea played an April Fool’s joke on the league
Somehow, Chelsea lost a game where they had this many chances 2-1.
xG map for Chelsea – Crystal Palace. For the first time this season, Chelsea got football’d. But also not a great defensive match. pic.twitter.com/NitBAEqywP
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) April 1, 2017
Antonio Conte set up his team in a slightly different shape than usual, playing a 3-5-2 with Cesc Fabregas in the center. Cesc scored five minutes in, but the Blues gave up two comical goals shortly afterward and couldn’t mount a comeback.
Chelsea played well enough in the last 79 minutes of the game to suggest that they’re still the best team in the Premier League and not about to fall apart. But they still dropped three points, and everyone prefers a competitive title race to Chelsea running away with the title.
Spurs are falling for the joke
Here’s how a lot of Spurs fans were feeling about their match against Burnley before Eric Dier scored the opener.
I am increasingly of the “take the point and get out” mindset RE: this match.
— Cartilage Free Capt. (@cartilagefree) April 1, 2017
But Tottenham won, closed the gap at the top to seven points, and Maurico Pochettino is talking about closing it further.
“I am very happy, very pleased. It’s important, a massive three points for us to still believe we can fight for the title.”
Spurs fans will never stop doing this to themselves. They can’t help it.
Here’s a classic Jose Mourinho postgame interview
This poor interviewer made the mistake of asking Jose the wrong question.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) April 1, 2017
Manchester United got well and truly Pulis’d, and it’s looking increasingly like their easiest route to Champions League is actually by winning the Europa League, not finishing top four.
Liverpool hand Everton a wake-up call
Going into Saturday’s Merseyside derby, Everton had only lost twice in their last 14 games — away to Tottenham and in the last Merseyside derby. They were coming off two straight shutout wins and their goal differential was better than United’s, and only one off Arsenal’s. Their fans had reason to believe their team could nick sixth place from one of the big teams.
And then the Derby happened.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 1, 2017
There just appeared to be a gap in class between Liverpool and Everton. Romelu Lukaku struggled to get involved in the game, while Ross Barkley’s touch and passing looked average. The Toffees just aren’t up to the level of the top six at the moment.
Hull shakes up the relegation battle
Sunderland lost and look like they’re going down, while Middlesbrough and Swansea drew 0-0. The only team to make a big move this weekend was Hull, who pulled off a win over West Ham.
Were they actually impressive? Ehh…
xG map for Hull – West Ham. Big win in the relegation race. pic.twitter.com/f1LOY6yXL5
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) April 1, 2017
…Not really. There wasn’t much in the Tigers’ performance to suggest that they’re actually playing great, ready to go on a run up the table. Bit it was a crucial three points in what should be a tight race. Boro is 19th with 23 points and the best goal differential, Hull has 27, Swansea has 28 and Palace is up to 31 points with their big win. But the entire bottom 11 are still vulnerable — 9th place Stoke City is only nine points ahead of the drop.