The Premier League weekend was coupled with the EFL Cup final in which was embarrassing for Arsenal at Wembley.
Things are hotting up once again in the race for a Champions League spot in next year’s competition, while Pep Guardiola gets his hands on his first trophy of the season.
Here are five talking points that stood out:
Romelu Lukaku proves doubters wrong
The Belgian international has had his fair share of critics this season, especially off the back of his matches against the top six in the Premier League, but Lukaku should have answered a lot of questions with his performance at the weekend.
Chelsea were no rollover, and Manchester United had to work hard for the three points they accrued. A big part of that win was down to Lukaku who worked tirelessly from start to finish in order to gain momentum and possession in the dangerous areas of the pitch.
There was one moment in the match, with five minutes left, that epitomised Lukaku’s heart and motivation for the Red Devils. The former Chelsea centre forward picked the ball up well in his own half and drove, by himself, past four defenders, deep into the Blues’ half and win a throw-in to relive the pressure. The blistering and powerful run that relieved the intensity on United’s goal was met by a huge applause by manager José Mourinho.
It was a fantastic run and an embodiment of the type of player Lukaku is. With a goal and an assist in a big match, the Belgian’s confidence should be sky high. 22 goals in all competitions this season is a very good return for a player in his first year with the club, and should be applauded by Manchester United fans.
Chelsea in a world of trouble for a top four finish
After Chelsea’s loss to Manchester United over the weekend, they now find themselves outside of the top four and in fifth place. While the top four is in the balance, the Blues have been largely inconsistent this season and are approaching a very difficult period of fixtures.
Next up for Conte’s men is Manchester City, the Champions-elect. If the West London team are not careful, the gap could easily widen between themselves and a top four place.
Conte is unlikely to stay past this season, but it would be a sackable offence if Chelsea do not qualify for the Champions League next season. They simply have to pull it together and see out results.
José Mourinho shows he can still achieve great things
Mourinho has been under fire in recent weeks, especially with his draw against Sevilla in the Champions League, but this hugely-important win against Chelsea should give the manager some brownie points.
The Portuguese boss executed a well-rehearsed game plan that deserved its merits after the Red Devils claimed the three points. By doing so, United are now looking safe in the top four and should be able to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Mourinho has made questionable decisions this season in terms fo selection policy and tactical instructions, but these type of high-pressurised situations are still Mourinho’s bread and butter. It is not always going to be pretty, but results matter and that is what the former Chelsea boss delivered.
Providing Mourinho can keep getting through to his players and getting the best from them, there should be no reason as to why he cannot achieve major titles with the Red Devils – he certainly has the backing to do so.
Arsenal should have relieved Arsène Wenger of his duties years ago
The Gunners were totally and utterly embarrassed at Wembley as they limped to a 3-0 battering at the hands of Manchester City.
Granted, Pep Guardiola’s men have been irresistible this season, but they rarely came out of first gear throughout the 90 minutes. That’s because they didn’t need to. It was ridiculously easy for Arsenal to be carved open by the Citizens, and that they did on a number of occasions.
No one can deny that Wenger has left his mark on English football and will go down in the history books, but Arsenal’s emotional approach to the situation of the manager has caused them to decline considerably over the past decade.
There are a number of players at Arsenal who are not fit to wear the jersey. Either they are simply not good enough or they are not fighting for the club crest that lies on their shirt. Wenger has not lost his dressing room, but he is also not getting the absolute maximum – and some – from his players anymore, and hasn’t for some time now.
This summer, Arsenal have to make the decision and part ways with the Frenchman and appoint someone fresh and hungry for success.
Are Liverpool’s front three the best in Europe?
They might have lost Philippe Coutinho in January to Barcelona, but Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané are still thriving in the Premier League and crushing teams with their blistering pace and fluidity in-behind the lines.
There are many triumvirates in Europe that consistently produce goals and results – Barcelona’s, Napoli’s and Paris Saint-Germain’s come to mind – but Liverpool’s front three is so sultry and sensational, it could arguably be the most successful this season.
Between them, the trio have scored 66 goals and contributed 30 assists since mid-August – a quite staggering and phenomenal amount. Nicknamed the Egyptian King for a reason, Salah is currently in the best form of his life and is just unbelievably entertaining to watch.
The Reds’ defence is slowly but surely tightening up and, if that can remain intact, Jürgen Klopp’s men will feel confident in the latter stages of the Champions League as well as securing a top four finish in the Premier League thanks to such an ingenious forward line.