It was a Sunday afternoon of football which proved the worth of individual performances in high-pressure matches, and a Sunday which piled pressure on a Watford side down in the dreaded relegation places as the number of games remaining slowly dwindled. Here are the talking points from yesterday’s Premier League action.
Manchester is blue
For just the third time in the league since 2016, the home side have walked away as victors in the Manchester derby. City beat United 4-1 but the men in blue could have won by more. Kevin De Bruyne shone in what was a relatively subdued clash – only Harry Maguire was booked by referee Michael Oliver.
The Belgian De Bruyne was in total control of the midfield and everything City did well seemed to have his influence stamped upon it.
Both of City’s first-half goals came through De Bruyne to triple his return of goals in Manchester derbies – previously one goal in 12 appearances – while Riyad Mahrez’s first of two was assisted by the Belgian playmaker.
City’s fourth was Mahrez’s 21st of the season and marked an impressive showing for the Algerian – who has passed 20 goals in a season for the first time.
United struggled to deal with City’s playing style throughout and only looked dangerous in short periods.
City go six points clear of Liverpool, having played a game in hand, but Manchester United now drop out of the top four. Their best bet of Champions League football next season might just be to win the competition this year… and that’s no easy feat.
While Arsenal survived a late scare at Vicarage Road, Bukayo Saka continued to impress this season.
The 20-year-old scored one of Arsenal’s three goals while assisting another, but the forward was sensational across the entirety of the match.
He worked well, often down the right, in a triangle alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Martin Odegaard and oozed class throughout.
In a game Arsenal needed to win to continue their pursuit for the top four, Saka’s brilliant left foot was pivotal in the side taking the three points home.
Watford were the only side out of the top six in action yesterday with the Hornets knowing a win against Arsenal would be enough to see them move closer to Premier League safety and jump Burnley into 18th.
But in their loss yesterday, Watford extended their record of losing at home to eight games in a row having only won once in their last 16 matches, a 1-0 victory against Aston Villa in Birmingham.
Arsenal were somewhat sloppy in defence but took their chances, led by Saka, to pile further misery on Watford – who are three points from safety having played three more games than 17th placed Everton.
Six into four doesn’t go in this League
Sunday’s results mean Arsenal jump United into fourth despite playing three less games and look like the current favourites to snatch that final Champions League spot.
City are six clear of Liverpool in the title race but have played an extra game while Watford missed a chance to aid their survival hopes.
Both Liverpool and City are winning pretty and ugly this season, and should the Reds win their game in hand the title race could go all the way to the final day in May.