sport news TEN things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

sport news TEN things we learned from the Premier League this weekend
sport news TEN things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

There is plenty to reflect on in the Premier League heading into the international break, with both ends of the table providing twists following the weekend's results.

Manchester City's 12-match winning run came to an end after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton, and title rivals Liverpool and Chelsea ensured they took full advantage with respective wins over Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur.

There was positive results for all three clubs who entered the weekend's fixtures inside the relegation zone as Norwich climbed out of the bottom three at the expense of Watford following a 3-0 win at Vicarage Road, while Newcastle grabbed a first away win of the season at Leeds, and Burnley picked up a handy point at Arsenal.

Manchester United meanwhile took control in the race to reach next season's Champions League by moving into fourth, after a last-gasp win over top-four rivals West Ham.

Here's our weekly assessment of the top-flight action in our Things we Learned column.

Manchester City's Jack Grealish cuts a dejected figure after his side's 1-1 draw at Southampton

Manchester City's Jack Grealish cuts a dejected figure after his side's 1-1 draw at Southampton

Cristiano Ronaldo is losing influence at United

Let's not get into binary thinking here, that's not to say Cristiano Ronaldo's days at Manchester United are done or that he is no longer one of the best players at Old Trafford.

But having started the season understandably as the Red Devils' talisman and it being unthinkable to drop him from the side, he's no longer indispensable from the line-up.

While his performances under Ralf Rangnick have not dipped too much since the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he is hardly likely to improve drastically now - especially at 36-years-old.

Saturday's 1-0 win over West Ham again saw him struggle to dictate in attack having previously been subbed off at Brentford following a poor display.

But make no mistake, he is still world class and his standing at the club is high enough to ensure many of his team-mates can still learn much from him - especially in his dedication to the game. But he may now have to adapt to a 'managing the minutes' role rather than be first name on the team sheet. 

Cristiano Ronaldo's importance to Manchester United's first-team appears to be waning

Cristiano Ronaldo's importance to Manchester United's first-team appears to be waning

The Premier League title race is far from over

Many have seen the Premier League title race this term gradually falling into the lap of Manchester City as they kept on winning while rivals Liverpool and Chelsea dropped points over the course of the last two months.

But City's 1-1 draw at Southampton ended a 12-match winning run and allowed rivals Liverpool to creep to within nine points of their rivals following a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace, with the Blues 10 points down after a win against Spurs.

Clearly, Pep Guardiola's side remain clear favourites for the title and realistically they were always going to drop points at some point of the season.

But between now and the end of the campaign there is plenty of opportunities for the Reds to snatch the crown. They have a game in hand to reduce the gap to six points and still face City in April that could find them another three points.

One other loss from City, who have already been beaten at home by Crystal Palace this term, and it is back in Liverpool's hands...

Liverpool narrowed the gap to City down to nine points after victory at Crystal Palace

Liverpool narrowed the gap to City down to nine points after victory at Crystal Palace

Tottenham need a revamp under Conte

Another trip to Chelsea and another complete no-show for Tottenham who have now lost their last five games against their London rivals - and haven't even scored against them for six matches.

Spurs have traditionally always been awful at Stamford Bridge with just one Premier League win in their history, but Sunday's latest weak performance in a 2-0 defeat showed a current team that looks beaten before kick-off in this fixture.

It's a mentality that Antonio Conte will not put up with as manager and for him to have any chance of success in north London he will need significant backing in transfer windows to improve the quality of his squad.

January has shown little evidence of that with still no players being signed and Spurs fans will be worried over the Italian's long term future. If Daniel Levy's cheque book doesn't turn up now, then it simply must in the summer if Tottenham are going to show any sort of ambition to compete with the Premier League's elite - and to keep the ambitious Conte onboard.

Antonio Conte looks on as his Tottenham side once again folded under pressure at Chelsea

Antonio Conte looks on as his Tottenham side once again folded under pressure at Chelsea

Arsenal's wild inconsistency is harming them

It's feast or famine stuff down at the Emirates Stadium these days. A close to unstoppable December saw them effectively take charge of the race for a top four spot, having won five games in a row across all competitions while scoring 19 goals. 

But the disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Burnley on Sunday caps off a miserable January for the Gunners, which has seen them pick up more red cards (three) than points or goals (one). That follows the ignominy of running away from the north London derby after arguable poor squad management led to them requesting a postponement of the game with Tottenham.

Inconsistency sums up Arsenal, after they were left bottom of the table having not scored a goal after the first three games in August, before winning their next three top flight games in September to climb up the table.

When Arsenal are good, they can go toe-to-toe with the finest in the league, but even on an off day they seem to struggle against the weakest of sides in the top flight and it may damage their hopes of sealing a Champions League return. 

Arsenal slipped up against Burnley at home, rounding off a winless and forgettable January

Arsenal slipped up against Burnley at home, rounding off a winless and forgettable January

There is no quick fix at Everton

Dark clouds lifted

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