English Premiership

From VAR to dancing Lingard: 3 Premier League talking points

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Jesse Lingard (Press Association)
Jesse Lingard (Press Association)

Manchester City's procession towards the Premier League title hit a bump in the road as 10-man Leeds inflicted just a fourth league defeat of the season on Pep Guardiola's men to give Manchester United hope.

United again needed a second-half revival to beat Tottenham 3-1 and close to within 11 points of their local rivals with a game in hand to come for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men to cut further into that gap.

Defeat rounded off a damaging weekend for Spurs' fading hopes of a top-four finish as West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool all won.

The gap between Leicester in third and Liverpool in sixth is now just four points in the battle for the last two places in next season's Champions League.

Here are three talking points from the Premier League weekend:

Solskjaer's comeback kings

Solskjaer scored the goal to complete United's most famous ever comeback against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final of 1999 and his side are showing the same spirit, if not the same consistency, of Alex Ferguson's treble winners.

United have now taken 28 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season as for the ninth time in 31 games they came from behind to win.

Victory was doubly sweet for Solskjaer as he got one over on his predecessor Jose Mourinho and avenged the low point of his time in charge when Spurs won 6-1 at Old Trafford in October.

Mourinho reminded the Norwegian before the game he is still yet to win a trophy in his two-and-a-half seasons since the Portuguese was sacked.

But Solskjaer can point to signs of clear progress, even if catching City in the title race still looks unlikely.

United have a nine-point cushion in the race to qualify for the Champions League and opened up a seven-point advantage over third-placed Leicester.

Only once, under Mourinho in 2017/18, have United even managed second in the Premier League since Ferguson retired in 2013.

West Ham dance to Lingard's beat

United might even be bolstered by one of the league's most in-form players next season if Jesse Lingard returns to Old Trafford.

Lingard did not play a single minute in the Premier League this season until joining the West Ham on loan late in the January window.

The 28-year-old has scored eight goals in nine games since to propel his new club up to fourth and Lingard back into the England squad in time for Euro 2020.

"We knew he had the ability to create but his goals have given us something else," said West Ham boss David Moyes after Lingard's double helped secure a 3-2 win over Leicester.

With just seven games to go, Moyes's men are dreaming of Champions League football for the first time in the club's history.

VAR - what is it good for?

The common theme across games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was VAR's controversial interference to rule out what appeared perfectly good goals.

Willian Jose's wait to open his account for Wolves goes on after his header against Fulham and Roberto Firmino's strike for Liverpool against Aston Villa were disallowed for milimetric offside calls that were dubious even after several replays.

United were also denied when Edinson Cavani's opener against Tottenham was called back for the faintest touch from Scott McTominay's hand into the face of Son Heung-min in the build-up.

"The game has gone if that's a clear and obvious error," complained Solskjaer.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo echoed the rising calls for VAR to be scrapped for when fans will hopefully be able to return to stadiums in their thousands next season.

"It's not the spirit of the game," said Nuno. "I hope football can find a solution because when the stadiums are full again, it's going to be hard to explain to thousands and thousands of people."



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