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EPL Wrap: A look at how things are shaping up after the weekend

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The English Premier League dished up its share of intense clashes this past weekend. Goals were scored, defences tested, and fans held their breath. From Manchester to London, stadiums echoed with cheers and groans.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag after one of their Premier League matches at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture: Mike Egerton

THE ENGLISH Premier League dished up its share of intense clashes this past weekend. Goals were scored, defences tested, and fans held their breath. From Manchester to London, stadiums echoed with cheers and groans.

Whether it was a dominating display, a last-minute winner or a hard-fought draw, the drama unfolded across the league.

Now, as the dust settles, the table takes shape, and players catch their breath, we look at what the results of the weekend means going forward.

Reuters breaks down the knock-on effects of the action from the recent games.

Hell gets hotter for Ten Hag at Red Devils

For around 45 minutes on Sunday, it seemed possible that a Marcus Rashford wonder goal might earn Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag one of his best results since taking charge.

It proved an illusion, though, as Manchester City turned their superior class into a 3-1 victory. In reality, United were comprehensively outplayed as they suffered an 11th defeat of the league season.

While losing to City away is no disgrace, that and the previous week’s loss against Fulham have punctured the optimism of Jim Ratcliffe becoming a co-owner of the club.

United sit sixth in the table, 11 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, and there is a feeling that the next three months will be pivotal in Ten Hag’s future at Old Trafford.

Can Werner prove inspired signing?

Timo Werner has hardly set the world on fire since joining Tottenham Hotspur on loan from RB Leipzig in January, and it looked like another day of frustration for the German forward against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

His lack of confidence was summed up when he went through with only Palace’s keeper to beat in the first half, but he lacked conviction and the chance went begging.

To his credit, he kept plugging away, and his hard work was rewarded when he equalised from Brennan Johnson’s pass – his first goal for the club.

Tottenham ended up winning 3-1 and with forward Richarlison sidelined, Werner now has the perfect opportunity to show why not that long ago he was one of Europe’s most prolific marksmen.

Poch feels the heat

Mauricio Pochettino didn’t have the best 52nd birthday when he saw his Chelsea side struggle to a 2-2 draw against injury-hit, relegation-threatened Brentford on Saturday, and he had to endure crude chanting from some Blues fans, too.

When asked about the abuse, Pochettino said it was natural for fans to turn frustration into criticism, but he vowed to stick to the job of building a coherent side who still sit in mid-table.

At least Chelsea can have a bit of a rest after a hectic six days, which included 120 minutes in a 1-0 League Cup final defeat against Liverpool, a last-gasp 3-2 FA Cup win over Leeds United and the draw at Brentford.

Their next game is on March 11, at home to Newcastle United in the Premier League.

Toffees have to find edge in final third

Everton fans were given some relief this week when they regained four points on appeal from their first profit and sustainability charge this season, but were left frustrated and furious at the final whistle after Saturday’s capitulation at home to West Ham United.

A chorus of boos rang out around Goodison Park at the final whistle after Everton wasted numerous opportunities, including a penalty, and conceded twice in injury-time to lose 3-1.

That is now 10 Premier League matches without a win, five of those defeats, and they look a team short on confidence and quality in the final third.

With a second PSR charge still looming, they have no idea how many points they need to be clear of the bottom three come the final reckoning. This remains a club in crisis.

Champions League on the horizon

Pinned in their own half after having their two-goal advantage pegged back by Luton Town, there was little to suggest that Aston Villa would emerge with a point, never mind three.

Unai Emery’s side have been superb all season without ever looking unbeatable, but their ability to take a punch and recover has proved invaluable as the 1982 European Cup winners set their sights on next season’s Champions League.

Five points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur is a decent cushion, but Emery will take more comfort from his side’s never-say-die attitude. If that persists, they may well be headed for next season’s premier European competition.

Reuters

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