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Tottenham Hotspur take their Premier League chance

While all eyes were understandably on the Etihad for most of the weekend, there was also big news regarding the Premier League's other ongoing battles.

Original article published 30 August 2022

In the fight for the top four, Tottenham stole a march as Arsenal, Man Utd and West Ham all lost. Norwich also injected some fresh impetus into their survival hopes while simultaneously denting Burnley's.

Spurs steal a march

Antonio Conte has endured somewhat of a rollercoaster reign since taking charge of Tottenham but the talk that followed his November arrival about him being the man to sort Spurs out now seems to be coming to fruition.

Saturday's 4-0 win at Aston Villa wasn't as straightforward as it sounds but was both impressive and timely due to the struggles of those around them.

Son Heung-min showed his class with a hat-trick and Tottenham are now 4/11 for a top four finish. That's a price that was no doubt shortened by Saturday's results, and the South Korean's combination with Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski has put the rest of the Premier League on notice.

That win at Villa Park was preceded by miserable afternoons for their rivals. Man Utd, 16/1 for the top four, were tepid in their 1-0 defeat at Everton. Arsenal also struggled as they lost 2-1 at home to Brighton, in the process the Seagulls sealing their first Premier League victory since 12th February, to leave the Gunners 2/1 for a Champions League place.

Tottenham have now won their last four Premier League games to open a three-point lead on the Gunners, albeit having played a game more and will have been further buoyed by West Ham's 2-0 defeat at Brentford on Sunday.

With Liverpool and Arsenal still to play, Conte will not be getting carried away. His focus will now be on beating Brighton on Saturday, with a home win in N17 8/15.

Too little, too late for Norwich?

That win for Everton meant their midweek conquerors Burnley needed to get something at Norwich, especially with Leeds increasing their advantage over the bottom three with Saturday's 3-0 success at Watford.

However, the Clarets just couldn't get going as goals from Pierre Lees-Melou and Teemu Pukki sealed just the Canaries' fifth win of the season and took them to within seven points of safety.

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Is it too little, too late for the Canaries, or is Dean Smith about to engineer a great escape?

Considering the weekend's results, Saturday's trip to Old Trafford now becomes an opportunity with Norwich 9/1 to beat Man Utd.

As for 18th-placed Burnley, their deficit to Everton is back to four points and they next take on West Ham. Before that, the Hammers are in Europa League action on Thursday away at Lyon and after looking fatigued at Brentford, those extra few days off might be the difference if Burnley are to win at 17/4.

Chelsea answer their critics

After being outclassed by both Brentford and Real Madrid on the back of the international break, Chelsea needed a response and boy, did they produce it.

Thomas Tuchel said ahead of the trip to Southampton that "things are upside down" for his side. However, a much-changed XI bounced back with a resounding 6-0 win at St Mary's to temper any talk they could slip out of the top four.

Tuesday's return game in the Bernabeu is now their immediate focus for the Champions League holders, with the Blues 7/1 to qualify for the last four, before facing Crystal Palace in next Sunday's FA Cup semi-final.

Palace warmed up, or rather, cooled down for their Wembley date with a 2-1 defeat at Leicester and Patrick Vieira will have been left frustrated by his team's insipid outing.

The Eagles are 5/1 to win in 90 minutes at Wembley and may need to produce something special to end a run of nine straight defeats against their London rivals.

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