7 Things We Learned From a Decisive Weekend of Premier League Action

The Premier League took a decisive turn this weekend as the 2017/18 season nears it conclusion, with several key battles in the standings now over or arguably close to it.


Here's a look at seven things we learned from the action:

7. Olivier Giroud > Alvaro Morata

Chelsea's £18m striker is better than their £60m striker at this moment in time, with Olivier Giroud replacing Alvaro Morata on the hour mark against Southampton on Saturday and turning the game on its head with two goals.


Chelsea were 2-0 down at that time and were fortunate to still have 11 players on the pitch, after Marcos Alonso got away with a high challenge on Shane Long. Giroud pulled one back and then scored the winner eight minutes later after Eden Hazard had equalised.


An unsettled Morata, meanwhile, has scored just three times in the Premier League since the start of December and looks like a player who really regrets his decision to move to England. Only time will tell if he's still at Stamford Bridge next season.

6. A First Relegation for Hughes?

Southampton have fought valiantly against both Arsenal and Chelsea in their last two games, but have lost 3-2 in both. Positive performances are almost irrelevant at this stage because how well they played will soon be forgotten if the club is in the Championship next season.


A midweek trip to Leicester is an absolute must win for the Saints. If they come away from the King Power with anything less than three points, it will be curtains and Mark Hughes will suffer relegation for the first time in his career, as a player or manager.

5. Huddersfield & Crystal Palace are Probably Safe

Both Huddersfield and Crystal Palace bagged crucial wins this weekend to put seven and six point gaps respectively between them and the relegation zone. And with Southampton (18th) and Stoke (19th) on bad losing streaks, neither look likely to mount an impossible escape effort.


Huddersfield's dramatic winner against Watford was scored in stoppage by Tom Ince - only his second Premier League goal of the season - while Palace were inspired to victory by a Wilfried Zaha brace in a 3-2 win over fierce rivals Brighton.

4. Burnley are Gunning for Arsenal

For a long time, it looked as though seventh place was the best that Burnley might be able to hope for this season. That would still have been an enormous achievement and the Clarets' highest league finish in more than 40 years, but now an even better finish is within reach.


Burnley's 2-1 victory over Leicester on Saturday put nine points between the two clubs in the battle for seventh place. That also cut the gap from Burnley to Arsenal to just two points, while the Gunners' defeat at Newcastle a day later ensured that gap remained at two points.


With Arsenal focusing on winning the Europa League to give them an alternative route into the Champions League, it may open the door for Burnley to yet leapfrog them in the standings.

3. Momentum Is Always Key

A few short weeks ago, Newcastle were in danger of relegation. Now, after four straight wins, the Magpies are suddenly 10th and within touching distance of Leicester in eighth. And, in their first season back in the Premier League, a top half finish would be a significant success.


The fourth victory in the run came against Arsenal on Sunday after goals from Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie, ending a streak of 10 consecutive defeats against the Gunners. This was also only a second Newcastle win against Arsenal in any competition since 2005.

2. Anything Can Happen

Manchester United have claimed crucial victories against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City in the last couple of months, even spoiling the latter's would be record breaking Premier League title party in the process.


And yet, bottom place West Brom, who have looked dead and buried for some time, somehow pulled off a shock win at Old Trafford. The Baggies are still nine points adrift of safety despite the win, but this shows how anything can and does happen in the Premier League.


Jay Rodriguez scored the only goal of the game and Ben Foster made a world class save to keep United at bay, with both actions having implications beyond just this game...

1. Man City are Champions

United's loss against West Brom meant that Manchester City were crowned champions after beating Tottenham in a tough game at Wembley 24 hours earlier.


Pep Guardiola's team have led the way from the start and won a record breaking 18 games between August and December. But for it to finally be in the bag after the disappointment of the Manchester derby a week earlier and elimination from the Champions League is a big deal.


For Guardiola, it is a league title in a third different country after Spain and Germany.