Another week of thrilling elite English football has passed and we certainly learned a lot. Looking back, some of the lessons are obvious, and some not so – have a gander over our list of five things we learned this weekend.
Saturday evening brought the day all Liverpool fans were dreading, but all rival fans were praying for.
The Reds lost for the first time in 45 Premier League games – a staggering 3-0 defeat at the hands of Watford – and fell five matches short of reaching Arsenal’s record of 49.
The loss also means that Klopp’s men, obviously, can’t finish the season unbeaten, meaning Arsenal will remain the only team to have gone a Premier League season undefeated for the foreseeable future.
— Laura Woods (@laura_woodsy) March 2, 2020
The game was crazy. Everyone expected a routine Liverpool win, but Hornets manager Nigel Pearson got it spot on and made Liverpool look foolish.
They were exposed for the first time since the 3-0 loss in Barcelona almost a year ago – it really was a result no one saw coming.
Liverpool will for sure look to rebuild and start another run – but, for now at least, they aren’t invincible.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola stuck to his word of letting his ‘cup players’ play in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, which included 36-year-old reserve goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Bravo has had plenty of critics over the years, and rightly so. He’s made a number of errors over his City career, none more so than during the 2016/17 season, his debut campaign for the club, which saw City scrambling for a new ‘keeper that summer.
Let’s not forget the career the Chilean has had, though. He was Barcelona’s number one for two years, and you don’t get to that point in your career if you’re a mug.
Claudio Bravo has made numerous big saves in the League Cup/FA Cup over the last 3 season and he’s won City FOUR penalty shootouts.
Then he turns to shit as soon as he steps foot in the league 😂
— Ryan (@bernardooooV3) March 1, 2020
Against Villa, with his side leading by one goal in the dying moments, Bravo pulled out one of the biggest saves of his career to deny a Björn Engels header that was destined for the back of the net, keeping City in front in the process.
The Premier League champions went on to win their third Carabao Cup in a row, and it was largely down to Bravo’s heroics.
He’s really not a bad backup option.
Everyone knows what Wolves are about these days. They have a nice squad, a very good system, and a top manager.
Sunday, however, proved just how serious this side is with their ambitions.
It was a six-pointer against Spurs, really. Nuno’s men prevailed and continued their charge to the Champions League places.
How are Wolves able to stay fit and manage so many games this season with such a small squad? Managers have a thing or two to learn from Nuno. It is remarkable.
— Babanla (@biolakazeem) March 1, 2020
It seems as if no one up there wants to finish fourth right now. Chelsea, Spurs, United – Wolves, however, are in great form, and now sit just three points off fourth with ten games to play. You’d be a brave person to bet against them taking the last qualifying place.
This might be kind of obvious, but the issue was really highlighted in the final moments of Everton against Manchester United on Sunday.
In the dying moments, with the score at 1-1, United captain Harry Maguire deflected Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike past his own goalkeeper.
It looked like Everton had nicked the win, but Gylfi Sigurdsson was laying on the floor in front of United ‘keeper David De Gea. Not in his eye line, though, and not interfering with play.
The referee gave the goal, but VAR thought it would be fun to rule it out for offside.
It’s not a VAR problem. A referee is making that decision; a different decision and person to the referee on the field. It’s an individual problem because it’s still a matter of one person’s opinion. If the referee on the field had given it, surely it’s hard to overrule it. Clear and obvious, anyone?
Everton fans will be fuming and rightly so. Referees, eh?
We mentioned earlier that no one seems to want to finish fourth in the Premier League at the moment. Chelsea, somehow, still occupy that position but are throwing it away big time.
They scraped a draw with relegation-threatened Bournemouth on Saturday and now have just one win in six Premier League games. They’ll be happy that that win was against Tottenham, but the team have been poor for a while and will drop out the Champions League places if they keep up their current form.
With a big game against a Everton up next, Frank Lampard needs to get it right sooner rather than later.
Lampard: Bournemouth is the perfect place to bounce back.
— Eric Njiru (@EricNjiiru) February 29, 2020
We’ll be back next week with another list of things we will have learned. Who knows what the next seven days of English football will bring?
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