Liverpool and Manchester City are just behind after an exciting 2-2 draw at Anfield, but Manchester United’s title fight stalled again at Old Trafford when an injury-stricken Everton secured a 1-1 draw.
AFP Sport covers three topics of conversation from the Premier League weekend.
“That’s why the Premier League is the best,” said City boss Pep Guardiola after the spectacle on both sides on Anfield Road.
City and Liverpool have been the dominant force in English football for the past four seasons and despite all the rumors of Chelsea and Manchester United’s summer signings closing the gap, they showed why they will be back in the mix in May.
Both had cause for disappointment as City dominated the first half without anything in return, but then had to come from behind twice after the break.
Guardiola can comfort himself in his team, however, as he is better positioned in the title race than at the beginning thanks to the 1-0 win at Chelsea last weekend, while United and Liverpool also lost points.
Liverpool hold the only unbeaten record in the English premier league and Jurgen Klopp was also encouraged by his team’s reaction after being outclassed in the first half.
Manchester United are so embarrassed in attack that they felt able to start against Everton with Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho on the bench.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were only inches away from losing a second consecutive Premier League game when the VAR decided that Yerry Mina’s close-up was sidelined.
United started off brilliantly at Old Trafford, but as the game progressed they again showed a lack of fluency and a worrying vulnerability against the counterattack.
Bruno Fernandes, who scored Anthony Martial’s goal in the 1-1 draw, expressed frustration at his side’s struggle to maintain their intensity in the games.
“We have to learn and the time is now because we can no longer do that,” he told MUTV. “We’ve done it so many times. We can’t slow the game down if we win.”
United are still in touch at the top of the Premier League but their next four league games are against Leicester, Liverpool, Tottenham and City.
Fernandes says “many, many things” need to be improved. If the news goes unheeded, United could soon disappear from the cover picture.
FA Cup titleholders Leicester have been the biggest challengers for the past two seasons to break through City, Liverpool, Chelsea and United for a top four result.
In both campaigns, the Foxes relied on a flying start to even get close before fading into the second half of the campaign, as the demands on their more limited resources showed.
But there was no such spring in the Brendan Rodgers men’s crotch earlier this season, as they only won two of their first seven league games.
Despite taking a 2-0 lead at Crystal Palace on Sunday, Rodgers’ side failed to hold out as the Eagles stormed back for a point in the second half.
“They give it their all, but we’re just not playing our level,” said Rodgers.
“It might be different this season than the last two when we caught fire and fell off a bit. Hopefully this can be the season where we can really build up and finish the second part of the season really well.”
Next up for Leicester after the international break is United’s visit to King Power, where both sides need the points.