Manchester City and Liverpool look set to go down to the wire in the title race after contrasting victories this weekend.
Arsenal improved their prospects of a long-awaited return to the Champions League, while Burnley are dreaming of a great escape.
AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:
Man. City sparkle as Liverpool show grit
While leaders Manchester City showcased all their attacking talent in a ruthless 5-1 demolition of Watford, Liverpool had to dig deep 24 hours later to finish a fractious Merseyside derby with a 2-0 win against Everton.
Fuelled by four goals from Gabriel Jesus, Pep Guardiola’s team threw down the gauntlet to Liverpool on Saturday, temporarily moving four points clear at the top.
For 62 minutes at Anfield on Sunday, it seemed Everton might do a huge favour to City as they frustrated Liverpool with a defiant defensive performance.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side finally broke Everton’s stubborn resistance when Andrew Robertson headed home from Mohamed Salah’s cross.
Substitute Divock Origi bagged his sixth career goal against Everton with five minutes left, giving Liverpool a 12th win from their last 13 league games.
With five games left, City hold a one-point lead over second placed Liverpool.
Few would argue that City and Liverpool are the world’s top two teams at present, so it is fitting that they are putting on a title fight for the ages.
‘Confident’ Arsenal on top four track
Arsenal took a significant step toward a first Champions League campaign since 2016-17 as Mikel Arteta’s side rode their luck to beat Manchester United 3-1.
Following a damaging run of three consecutive defeats, Arsenal have climbed back into fourth place by winning 4-2 at Chelsea and seeing off United at the Emirates Stadium.
Nuno Tavares and Bukayo Saka put Arsenal two up before Cristiano Ronaldo reduced the deficit.
Ralf Rangnick’s men missed a host of chances to equalise and Bruno Fernandes hit the post with a penalty before Granit Xhaka’s long-range rocket shattered United’s fading top four ambitions.
There was an added bonus just hours later as fifth placed Tottenham were held to a 0-0 draw at Brentford, leaving Arsenal two points ahead of their north London rivals with five games left.
“We lost three games in a row, lots of people started to speak about us again,” Xhaka said.
“But this week has helped us a lot, six points against Chelsea and United gives us confidence and gives us a lot of power for the next few games.
“We still have the final five games to go and we have to keep going like this.”
Battling Burnley out of relegation zone
Burnley moved out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win over Wolves, prompting caretaker boss Mike Jackson to joke he would celebrate with a night on the beers.
When Jackson stepped up from the Under-23 coach’s role at Burnley following the surprise sacking of long-serving Sean Dyche, the Clarets looked doomed to relegation.
But a battling 1-1 draw at West Ham was followed by Thursday’s 2-0 home win over Southampton, before Matej Vydra’s second half strike sealed a vital 1-0 victory against Wolves on Sunday.
Burnley are out of the relegation zone at last, sitting two points clear of third bottom Everton, who have a game in hand.
“It’s a great result, really strong performance again,” Jackson said. “It’s the third game in a week so we’ve had to dig deep in areas of that game.
“It’ll be a big lift to the group. My plan? I’d like to say eight pints but, no, I’ll go home, sit on the couch and see my family!”
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