Man City march on – 5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

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Manchester City’s march towards the Premier League title continued as they won 2-0 at Crystal Palace.

Pep Guardiola’s team are within touching distance of being crowned champions for the third time in four years after moving 13 points clear of rivals Manchester United, who have five matches remaining after fans protests saw their game against Liverpool postponed.

At the other end of the table, another defeat for Fulham left them on the brink of relegation.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from this weekend’s top-flight action.

City on the brink

Crystal Palace v Manchester City – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring Manchester City’s opening goal against Crystal Palace (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Guardiola’s side would have been confirmed as champions on Sunday had second-placed United lost at home to Liverpool. But after that match failed to go ahead due to fans protests in and around Old Trafford, City can ensure they will finish top of the table once again at the Etihad Stadium against Chelsea next Saturday.

United fans want change

Long-standing anger with the Glazers has increased in intensity since it
emerged United were one of the driving forces behind the breakaway European Super League, which collapsed within 48 hours due to huge, unrelenting pressure.

“The United fans have had enough and they’re doing it because they love the club,” Keane said on Sky Sports. “It’s not just as a result of what’s happened the last two weeks with the Super League…it’s been building for a number of years. They’ve come to the end and feel enough is enough.

“It’s a huge statement for the game to be called off. Some people won’t agree with it, but sometimes you have to put a marker down for people to take notice. This will go out all over the world and hopefully the owners of Manchester United will sit up and take note. These fans are deadly serious and this is just the start of it from United fans – I can guarantee you.”

Meanwhile, former United right-back Gary Neville said the Glazers should do “the honourable thing” and sell up.

Havertz finding his feet for Chelsea

Chelsea v Fulham – Premier League – Stamford Bridge
Kai Havertz celebrates scoring his second goal in the 2-0 win against Fulham (Neil Hall/PA)

Havertz’s natural languid style had jarred amid his protracted recovery from Covid-19 and staccato search for form. German manager Thomas Tuchel has elevated Havertz above all those previous tribulations however, and the 13-cap forward carried a regal air throughout this landmark performance.

Havertz’s movement off the ball, ability in possession – and his majestic finishing – had the German star in his ultimate pomp as Chelsea swatted aside Scott Parker’s game but limited Fulham team to boost the Blues in their quest for Champions League qualification.

Fulham’s failings keeping Magpies safe

Fulham v Manchester City – Premier League – Craven Cottage
Fulham manager Scott Parker knows his team face an uphill battle if they are to stay up (CatherineIvill/PA)

Fulham are nine points adrift of safety with four games left to play and even though Newcastle are not exactly pulling up any trees themselves, the Magpies look like they will be safe due to Fulham’s inability to win and apply any pressure. The potential all-or-nothing clash on the final day of the season between Fulham and Newcastle looks increasingly like there will be nothing riding on the game.

Spurs still in the race for the top four

Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield United – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Gareth Bale celebrates scoring his third goal against Sheffield United (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Bale was alarmingly under-used by former boss Jose Mourinho, even when he had regained peak condition, and playing with freedom in a front four with Harry Kane, Son and Dele Alli, Spurs were a constant threat and a far cry from the pragmatic style that dogged Portuguese’s era. It remains to be seen if it may have come too late to gatecrash the top four this season, but playing like this makes them a strong bet to finish in a Europa League spot.

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