Three talking points from the Premier League

·3-min read

Manchester City's cruise towards the Premier League title continued unabated with a 1-0 win at Arsenal as the race for a top-four finish and the riches of the Champions League next season intensified.

Everton and West Ham's victories over Liverpool and Tottenham have further opened up the opportunity for two teams outside the traditional top six to break into the Champions League.

AFP Sports looks at three talking points from the Premier League.

City flex strength in depth

Pep Guardiola made five changes for City's trip to Arsenal but the result was still a predictable one as the visitors came away with their 18th consecutive win in all competitions having kept a 10th clean sheet in 13 league games.

Kevin De Bruyne returned to make his first start in a month, but the fact City have not missed a beat without the Belgian represents the gulf that exists between them and the chasing pack.

Guardiola's men have now taken more points than Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal combined in 2021.

In a season defined by fixture congestion and an injury pile-up that has decimated Liverpool's title defence, City's strength in depth has become all the more important.

Despite no pre-season and the physical demands of a congested calendar, City remain on course for a historic quadruple of trophies.

They hold a 10-point lead at the top of the table, face struggling Spurs in the League Cup final, will travel to Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals and resume their Champions League campaign against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

"We need everyone," said Guardiola. "We have to play every three days. I am going to rotate the team even in Champions League. It's impossible to sustain this rhythm with just 11 players."

Moyes gets better of Mourinho

Hired to save West Ham from relegation last season, David Moyes has undergone a remarkable transformation from fire fighter to dream maker at the London Stadium.

Sunday's 2-1 win against Tottenham that lifted the Hammers into fourth place was the Scotsman's first in 16 meetings against Jose Mourinho.

Spurs' moody Portuguese boss insisted afterwards that he is still one of the best coaches in the world.

But it is Moyes who is restoring his reputation this season after difficult spells at Manchester United, Sunderland and Real Sociedad.

Tipped by many to go down at the start of the season, seven wins in their last nine league games have propelled the Hammers into fourth.

Liverpool's fortress in ruins

Everton had failed to win in their previous 20 short trips across Liverpool to Anfield in the past 22 years, but knew they would rarely get a better chance than on Saturday in front of empty stands.

Jurgen Klopp restored the mystique of Anfield both in the minds of his own players and the opposition. For nearly four years between April 2017 and last month, Liverpool did not lose a league match at home.

With Everton winning 2-0, Liverpool have now have lost four in a row for the first time since 1923.

The worry for Klopp is that there is no sign of his side's woes easing. Jordan Henderson limped off with a groin injury to add to a lengthy injury list, while for the fifth straight home game Liverpool failed to score from open play.

The fear factor of facing the champions is gone and with a five-point gap to make up on the top four, just qualifying for the Champions League now looks an uphill task.

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