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Premier League - Football: Weekend Review

It was another huge weekend in the Premier League and, while it's 'as you were' in the title race, there have been significant developments in the relegation scrap and the fight to finish fourth.

Original article published 25 March 2022

Let's start with things at the top. Manchester City and Liverpool continue to go toe-to-toe in what is turning out to be a thrilling nip-and-tuck title scrap.

After they both won in midweek, City thrashed Watford 5-1 on Saturday to throw the gauntlet down to the Reds on Sunday when they hosted Everton in the Merseyside derby.

City had the somewhat under-appreciated Gabriel Jesus to thank for their routine win. The Brazilian, who often has to settle for a place on the bench, hit four as Watford were swatted aside, while Rodri weighed in with another fine goal.

Ongoing injury worries to Nathan Ake, John Stones and Kyle Walker, plus an admission from Pep Guardiola after the easy win that talisman Kevin De Bruyne is playing with a knock at the minute, took the shine off the three points slightly but City still look in superb shape for the run-in.

Second-half subs edge derby Reds' way

Jurgen Klopp's side knew any kind of slip-up from them would hand their rivals a crucial advantage and they were made to work very hard for their derby win by the determined, relegation-threatened Toffees.

However, second-half substitutions turned the game the Reds' way as goals from Andy Robertson and Divock Origi - amazingly netting his sixth against Everton - eventually secured a 2-0 win at Anfield.

City and Liverpool now turn their attention to big Champions League semis against Real Madrid and Villarreal respectively this week before the title tussle resumes next weekend.

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Liverpool play first this time when they go to Newcastle in the 12:30 kick-off on Saturday, while City go to Leeds at 17:30. With both still having five games to play, City are 4/9 to win the title, Liverpool are 7/4 shots.

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Burnley make vital gains

At the bottom, it's been a big week for Burnley. The Clarets, who are 7/4 to go down, followed up their 2-0 home success over Southampton on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Wolves on Sunday to make it two wins and a draw since Sean Dyche was surprisingly sacked.

It was Matej Vydra who was the hero at Turf Moor this time with a second-half intervention and now upcoming games against Watford, Aston Villa and Tottenham can be approached with a lot more confidence. U23 boss Mike Jackson has worked wonders so far and Burnley are now out of the bottom three, above Everton.

Following another dismal derby defeat, Frank Lampard's men are 10/11 to be relegated from the Premier League for the first time in their history.

More twists expected in relegation scrap

There remains plenty to play for in the battle to avoid the drop, though, with at least five games to go for those at the bottom.

Norwich and Watford's positions look increasingly precarious as they are nine and 10 points from safety now respectively after the weekend's games, but several other teams will still be nervous.

As detailed, Burnley and Everton are right in the thick of it but, above them, Leeds - who are only four points clear of the dropzone - know they could yet get dragged in, especially if they lose at Crystal Palace on Monday night. Palace are 6/5 to win, Leeds are 9/4 and the draw at Selhurst Park is 5/2.

A north London shootout for fourth?

The battle for the top-four places is also intensifying but it does appear to be a straight fight between north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham for the last Champions League spot.

Chelsea's late win over West Ham, courtesy of a Christian Pulisic effort after Jorginho had spurned a penalty chance minutes before, means the Blues are on the verge of sealing third place, while the defeat for the Hammers all-but ends their faint hopes of finishing fourth.

The Gunners, meanwhile, have put a previous worrying run of form behind them with successive important wins over Chelsea and, on Saturday, Man Utd. The 3-1 Emirates victory moved them six points clear of the Red Devils, who slip to sixth, with a game in hand.

Mikel Arteta's men have wrestled the initiative back from Spurs, who could only manage a goalless draw at Brentford, and Arsenal are now two points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham with the local rivals having played the same amount of games.

It could be a fight to the finish and the north London derby on 12th May, which always looked like being crucial, now looks even bigger. Arsenal are 1/2 to finish in the top four this season, Spurs are 11/8.

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