Premier League plotlines: Is there really a North London power shift?

Premier League plotlines: Is there really a North London power shift?

Is Wenger right to dismiss talk of a power shift in north London?

The Arsenal manager has dismissed claims that the dominant club in that part of the capital is now Tottenham, claiming one season does not outweigh the previous 20. He has a point, but there is a trend emerging in terms of the direction of the two clubs. Or rather, Tottenham appear to have a sense of where they are heading while Arsenal are rudderless right now.

Wenger’s uncertain future doesn’t help, while the manager’s sudden decision to change formation carries with it a note of panic and it was telling he refused to answer questions about whether he has the personnel to play with a back three.

The big test will come in the summer. Arsenal are free to spend while Tottenham are operating under tighter financial restrictions. Mauricio Pochettino, though, has shown what he can do on a limited budget and if Spurs can again challenge for the title next season, they will have a strengthening case to be regarded as the preeminent force in north London.

Are United’s top four hopes now gone?

THE statistics say this is the most successful Manchester United team in club history - at least in terms of compiling an unbeaten run in a single top-flight season.

But as United made it 25 games without defeat, a sixth draw in eight home league games played in 2017 surely saw Jose Mourinho’s squander their last hope of a top-four finish.

Had United won, they would have moved into third place - temporarily at least - and a top four place in their own hands. Had United won all their remaining games, they would have finished above Liverpool and assured of a Champions League place.

Instead, yet again the frailties of this United side were cruelly exposed.

Stopping Hazard is not enough to frustrate Blues

The blueprint for thwarting Chelsea had been drawn up by Manchester United two weeks ago, or so it seemed; Ander Herrera’s man-marking job on Eden Hazard rendered Antonio Conte’s side toothless.

Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, attempted to replicate that at Goodison Park by assigning Idrissa Gana Gueye to police the Belgium international. Hazard was fairly quiet for a large chunk of the game, but Everton did not have the defensive cohesion to cope with Chelsea’s other attacking threats. Eventually, Hazard wore down his attendant in any case, winning a free-kick out of Gueye which he then took himself, to set up the goal for Gary Cahill that effectively ended the match as a contest.

Is Jesus the man to revive Pep?

In his first start for 10 weeks after recovering from a broken metatarsal, Gabriel Jesus kept Manchester City’s Champions League bid on track with a late equaliser in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

The Brazilian has impressed since his arrival at the Etihad Stadium and should be a central figure when Pep Guardiola pieces together his squad for an improved Premier League challenge next season.

The 20-year-old insists there is much more to come from him.

I am still not 100 per cent fit, so I missed so many chances and I am sad for that.

"I am learning that every game in the Premier League is really difficult and we know how difficult it is going to be until the end of the season.”


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