Conte’s criticism and Gunners get over European heartache – what we learned
Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table while Tottenham manager Antonio Conte launched into a rant following his side’s 3-3 draw at Southampton.
The race to avoid relegation threw up more twists and turns as Leeds beat Wolves while Everton and Leicester picked up valuable points.
Here the PA news agency takes a look at five things we learned from this weekend’s action.
Will Conte’s criticism have consequences?
Under-pressure Tottenham manager Antonio Conte launched into an extraordinary rant that may have consequences after his side let a 3-1 lead slip against Southampton, meaning they missed the chance to go third in the table.
Goals from Pedro Porro, Harry Kane and Ivan Perisic made it look like Spurs were set to move into the Champions League spots, but bottom-of-the table Southampton fought back with a Theo Walcott goal and James Ward-Prowse’s stoppage-time penalty sealing a point.
Conte then conducted a furious post-match interview, saying: “If we are going to discuss the penalty, it means we don’t want to see the other situations. I think it’s much better to go into the problem because the problem is that, for another time we showed that we are not a team.
“We are 11 players that go into the pitch. I see selfish players, I see players that don’t want to help each other and don’t put their heart (in).
“Why? Because they are used to it here, they are used to it. They don’t play for something important yeah. They don’t want to play under pressure, they don’t want to play under stress.
“It is easy in this way. Tottenham’s story is this. Twenty years there is the owner and they never won something but why? The fault is only for the club, or for every manager that stays here. I have seen the managers that Tottenham had on the bench.”
Can Arsenal be stopped?
Arsenal bounced back from their Europa League disappointment to continue their dominance in the league after beating managerless Crystal Palace 4-1 on Sunday.
Bukayo Saka again played a key role for the Gunners, who extended their lead at the top of the table to eight points; they have now recorded six straight league wins going into the international break.
Brooks return cheers Cherries
A moment 535 days in the making ❤️
David Brooks made his inspirational return to action yesterday @HendyGroup // #afcb pic.twitter.com/FrVT3M2MXf
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) March 19, 2023
The weekend’s top-flight action saw a welcome return for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks, who came on in the 79th minute during their 3-0 defeat by Aston Villa.
It was the midfielder’s first appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in October 2021 and applause for Brooks rang all around Villa Park.
“To get back on the pitch and try to help and feel involved was a nice feeling,” the Wales international told the official Bournemouth website.
“The game didn’t really go to plan in terms of when I came on, what I wanted to do and help the team achieve, but yeah, it was a nice moment to get back out there.”
Wolves referee woes continue
Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui felt frustrated again by refereeing decisions following a 4-2 defeat by Leeds.
Rodrigo wrapped up the game with a stoppage-time strike that saw unused substitute Matheus Nunes sent off and Wolves were angry the goal stood after Adama Traore was fouled in the build-up.
“I can make a book (about bad decisions): Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle, Southampton, today. Sometimes you can understand mistakes, they are part of football, but to repeat the same mistake against us is not easy,” Lopetegui said.
“I don’t want an explanation, I’m not waiting for one. In the last match (against Newcastle) it was the same, today again.
“I want to have fair decisions and not have the sensation or the feelings it was unbalanced. At the end of the season normally they are going to be balanced but we are very unlucky, we have to be critical with the bad things but we didn’t deserve to lose this match.
“We had a very clear penalty again but the referee and VAR thinks the opposite.”
Relegation race heating up
A special moment to score my first @Everton and @premierleague goal. Also, an important point away from home. UTT!⚽️💙 pic.twitter.com/QGGo6NbjCY
— Ellis Simms (@_ellissimms) March 18, 2023
The win against Wolves saw Leeds make it out of the bottom three as the fight for survival took another twist.
A valuable three points for Leeds see them climb into 14th, two points clear of the drop zone, while Wolves are one place above the Yorkshire outfit.
Everton picked up a crucial point after Ellis Simms scored his first goal for the club with a dramatic late equaliser against Chelsea and Harvey Barnes also struck late for Leicester to draw 1-1 with Brentford, ending their five-game winless streak in all competitions.