Check out this week’s Premier league talking points.
Arsene Wenger described himself as “strong enough and lucid enough” to objectively judge the merits of dropping his top scorer and best player at Anfield.
But the word around the Emirates now hints the axe fell on Alexis Sanchez for more than tactical reasons.
According to reports, Wenger has been furious with the Chilean’s attitude during and since the Champions League hammering by Bayern Munich. Sanchez repeatedly remonstrated with team-mates at the Allianz Arena and word is that attitude has continued in training.
It is alleged Wenger has had several rows with Sanchez and the player stormed out during a training session. Whether Wenger stays or goes this summer, it’s looking likely Sanchez will be on his way, with Paris Saint Germain now favourites to pounce.
If Manchester United do not qualify for the Champions League, they will count the cost of afternoons such as the one they experienced against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Too often this season, United have failed to win when dominating home games against teams below them in the Premier League.
United had 68% possession and virtually all of the efforts on goal — 20 to the visitors’ three. Jose Mourinho has got United attacking again; the problem now is that they cannot finish their dinner.
“If you accumulate the points from those games, you are talking another 10 or 12,” Mourinho lamented. “Then you are not just talking about top four, but top two or maybe even top one.”
Instead, United are sixth, three points adrift of a Champions League spot, and 14 behind leaders Chelsea.
Like any good thoroughbred, Manchester City are coming good just when it matters.
It’s just one defeat in their 11 games so far this year and even given Chelsea’s handsome advantage at the top of the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s side can’t yet be ruled out of making a successful late surge to the title.
The Spaniard has suggested that his side might have to produce a perfect string of results for the remainder of the campaign in what is a three-pronged quest for silverware, given their continued presence in both the Champions League and FA Cup.
“We’re coming to a stage of the season now in March and April where with every game if you win you stay, if you lose, then you’re out,” he reflected after the comfortable victory at Sunderland.
That’s clearly the case in the knockout competitions, although they could still progress even in defeat at Monaco in the second leg of their Champions League clash given their two-goal advantage from the first meeting.
A pivotal trio of league games and Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea will go a long way to deciding their domestic fate, and while a perfect record might not quite be required to haul-in Antonio Conte’s side, something very close will be needed.
Kane and Romelu Lukaku started yesterday’s game at White Hart Lane with 17 league goals to their names, level with Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez and one more than Chelsea’s Diego Costa.
By the final whistle, Kane had nudged ahead while Lukaku had demonstrated he is also a striker in form by taking his only real chance of the afternoon.
Ultimately though, the striker who tops the chart is likely to play for a team that creates more chances, and on current form, that suggests Kane’s main challenger should be Costa.
The Chelsea striker will certainly be looking to close the gap at West Ham tonight but Kane’s confidence in front of goal right now means he expects to score from every opportunity that comes his way.
A Golden Boot for a second successive season would underline manager Pochettino’s view that Kane is now among the world’s best.
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