5 things we learned from Premier League weekend

Sport360 staff 18:31 23/01/2017
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Our takeaways from the EPL.

While Chelsea are still league leaders, other teams found the going a bit tough this past weekend.

Manchester City and Tottenham settled for a point, Liverpool were stunned by Swansea and United too managed to rescue a share of the spoils.

Here are five takeaways from Premier League action this weekend.

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XHAKA HAS SERIOUS ISSUES

Granit Xhaka’s £35m transfer to Arsenal brought with it a responsibility to perform consistency but such a task is difficult to perform when you’re not on the field.

The Swiss earned his second red card of the season for Arsenal on Sunday and his ninth since 2014 (club and country).

This is an issue Arsene Wenger has faced before with Patrick Vieira and although Arsenal have long needed some grit and steel in his midfield, they also require discipline.

OTAMENDI IS A LIABILITY

It’s a given now that any worthwhile shot on Manchester City’s goal is more than likely to end in the opposition scoring, Claudio Bravo is playing that bad.

But the Chilean’s shoddy displays, and constant focus on John Stones are masking other nearby deficiencies, namely the performances of Nicolas Otamendi.

The Argentine is becoming a law unto himself; breaking forward with reckless abandon, not marking closely while positionally he’s all over the place. Why was Stones dropped instead of him?

HAMMERS MAY NOT MISS PAYET

Since Dimitri Payet declared his intentions to return to France, West Ham have won twice and scored six goals.

It’s the latter number that’s the most significant because Payet has been their best source of goals – either scoring or creating – since he arrived at the club in the summer of 2015.

Victory over Crystal Palace is nothing to get particularly excited about but the 3-1 win at Boro on Saturday was a little more eye-catching given Aitor Karanka’s side have previously conceded just 10 in 10 home games.

CLEMENT UPS THE PACE AT SWANSEA

It was a win which again exposed Liverpool’s limitations but also showed us a little more about what Paul Clement is trying to achieve at Swansea.

The Welsh side played with real pace, not just in transition but in the way they passed the ball. Players weren’t holding onto it for too many touches and it ensured the Reds’ defence could never get properly organised.

Swansea’s own defensive issues could be their undoing but they should be exciting to watch under Clement.

KOEMAN HAS STEADIED THE SHIP

Just over a month ago, Everton fans were booing their team following a 3-2 defeat to Watford. The Toffees were ponderous in attack and vulnerable at the back.

But since Boxing Day they have won four and drawn won, with four clean sheets.

Koeman has switched to a back three, has embedded young stars Tom Davies and Mason Holgate into his team and got offensive players Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas back at optimum levels.

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