Trent Alexander-Arnold shows defence is the way forward for Liverpool... while whispers of Arsene Wenger are a good sign for Unai Emery: THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Trent Alexander-Arnold demonstrated the importance of Liverpool's full backs

28 February 2019 - 11:12

Full-backs key for Liverpool

All five goals for Liverpool in the win against Watford were provided by their full-backs. Trent Alexander-Arnold alone assisted three, only the fourth player to provide a hat-trick of assists in Premier League history.

It speaks for how diminished Liverpool were without the right-back in their side at Old Trafford, and just how important he is – along with Andy Robertson – to their title push.

Watford, unfortunately for them, felt the brunt of Liverpool back in full flow – and full-backs ran it.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s spell at Manchester United is no fluke

We are past the point where we can consider Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to have made a lucky start as Manchester United manager.

Whatever he is doing, it is working. Records do not get broken by chance. They have now won eight consecutive away games in all competitions for the first time in their history after beating Crystal Palace.

It may not work long-term. For now at least though, Solskjaer is getting it right.

Under Solskjaer, Manchester United have won eight consecutive away clashes for the first time

Under Solskjaer, Manchester United have won eight consecutive away clashes for the first time

Pedro right man for Maurizio Sarri’s system

Pedro has always played his part for Chelsea, but under Maurizio Sarri he is a key figure in the system.

This is probably the first time he has been truly first-choice. It has paid off. He has hit eight Premier League goals this season under Sarri, double the amount he scored last season under Antonio Conte.

That’s some improvement. It shows that while many of Chelsea’s players do not suit Sarri’s style, Pedro does.

Spain international Pedro has been a key figure in Maurizio Sarri's system at Chelsea 

Spain international Pedro has been a key figure in Maurizio Sarri's system at Chelsea 

Arsenal flash back to Arsene Wenger

If there was one thing missing from Unai Emery’s time in charge of Arsenal, it was the thumping home wins Arsene Wenger’s side would sometimes pull off against sides that were too open.

Emery now has one to his name. The victory against Bournemouth was the first time the Gunners had managed five goals in a Premier League home game since May 2018, Wenger’s last game in charge at the Emirates.

If Emery can take a top four place, this season has ticked most boxes.

Arsenal players get two thumbs up from Unai Emery during their impressive victory 

Arsenal players get two thumbs up from Unai Emery during their impressive victory 

Another record broken at Manchester City

Oleksandr Zinchenko has done an exceptional job as a makeshift left back for Manchester City over the last year.

Coming into the side in a title winning season, the one-time attacking midfielder has gone on to fill in in defence impressively, including against West Ham.

Want evidence of how seamless it has all been? He has been on the winning side in each of his first 13 Premier League appearances - with 11 starts. That’s the longest run of wins from the start of a player’s career in the division’s history.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has done an exceptional job as a makeshift left back for Manchester City

Oleksandr Zinchenko has done an exceptional job as a makeshift left back for Manchester City

Sean Longstaff making most of Newcastle chance

Opportunity is usually more important than raw talent when it comes to young players breaking through.

Sean Longstaff was about to head out on loan before an injury crisis at Newcastle meant he was elevated to the first-team. Against Burnley, he hit his first goal, and at 21 years and 119 days, he became the youngest player to strike for Newcastle since May 2016.

Longstaff has gone from a lower league loanee to a first-choice Premier League player and a potential England Under-21 international in the space of a month. Opportunity knocked, and he answered.

Sean Longstaff was about to head out on loan before he was elevated to Newcastle's first-team

Sean Longstaff was about to head out on loan before he was elevated to Newcastle's first-team

Giving up possession gives Leicester the points

When they did not play the ‘Big Six’ sides under Claude Puel, Leicester tended to dominate possession. In fact, in the 10 games prior to Puel’s sacking when not facing the top teams, only once did they not enjoy the majority of the ball.

That changed against Brighton. They dipped under 50 per cent, scored twice from swift passing moves and won the game.

Puel’s desire to dominate the ball seemed to get the worst out of his players. If new boss Brendan Rodgers abandons his once long-held dogma when it comes to possession he can achieve more than the Frenchman.

And Rodgers knows that sometimes pragmatism works best. Just ask Luis Suarez or any of Liverpool’s 2013-14 vintage.

Gylfi Sigurdsson no longer the £50m flop at Everton

At one stage of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s Everton career, it seemed as though he would be the singular symbol of their wasted money under Ronald Koeman.

Now, a season and a half on, he has 15 Premier League goals – five more than anyone else for the club in that timeframe. His double against Cardiff ended a run of three straight defeats for Marco Silva’s side.

There’s arguably no one more important to Everton than the Icelandic midfielder. Silva’s main job is to build around him.

There’s arguably no one more important to Everton than Gylfi Sigurdsson at the moment

There’s arguably no one more important to Everton than Gylfi Sigurdsson at the moment

Home is where the heart is for Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton’s form has improved across the board under Ralph Hasenhuttl. If they stay up, though, it will come because of what has been happening at St. Mary’s.

In the last four games at home, after a tough run for Hasenhuttl at the start of his reign, they have won two. Prior to that, they had won two in 21 at their own ground.

That sort of home form will only ever see you struggle. This recent run could see them to safety.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has overseen two home victories in his last four matches at St Mary's

Ralph Hasenhuttl has overseen two home victories in his last four matches at St Mary's

Huddersfield will have a shot next season in the Championship

Staggeringly, 43 per cent of Huddersfield’s points this season have now come against Wolves – the only team they have beaten twice.

It just speaks for a general trend against the newly promoted sides – they have also collected three from Fulham and two from Cardiff. That makes a total of 79 per cent points from teams that have just left the Championship.

So, while they are among the poorer recent Premier League sides, they clearly fare well against those closer in standard to the second-tier. And maybe they will have more of a shot next season than you’d initially expect. 

 

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