English Premiership

Premier League talking points: United, Leicester strengthen top 4 place

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Getty Images)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Getty Images)

Manchester City took another step towards the Premier League title with a 3-0 win at Fulham, while victories for Manchester United and Leicester on Sunday strengthened their position in the top four.

Chelsea's 0-0 draw at Leeds opened the door to the chasing pack for fourth, but West Ham, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa all faltered to do their challenge for next season's Champions League no favours.

Here are three talking points from the Premier League weekend.

Kelechi comes good for Leicester

When Brendan Rodgers surveyed the packed treatment room at Leicester's plush new Seagrave training base this week, the Northern Irishman may have feared where his side's goals would come from.

Deprived of star midfielders Harvey Barnes and James Maddison, as well as promising defender James Justin, Rodgers is having to maintain Leicester's top four challenge with a makeshift line-up.

Fortunately for the Foxes, Kelechi Iheanacho has stepped up to the plate to fill the void left by Barnes and Maddison in impressive fashion.

After going three months without a goal, the Nigerian is in fine form and he underlined his resurgence with a clinical hat-trick in Sunday's 5-0 thrashing of bottom of the table Sheffield United.

Iheanacho now has seven goals in his last eight games to ensure Rodgers's men do not stumble in the home straight for Champions League qualification like they did last season.

"I've said I can see improvement in him and day on day he trains so hard," Rodgers said after Iheanacho's first Premier League treble.

Misfiring Chelsea trouble Tuchel

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel could do with a striker in that sort of form as the Blues drew another blank at Elland Road.

Tuchel is still yet to experience defeat in 12 games since arriving in England in January, but that is thanks to a rock solid defensive record with 10 clean sheets and just two goals conceded in that time.

The German is yet to find the right formula at the other end of the field despite a wealth of attacking talent at his disposal.

Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud were left on the bench as Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz failed to take their chance to shine.

Chelsea have scored just 13 goals in Tuchel's 12 games in charge despite facing eight of the 10 Premier League sides to concede most this season.

"I believe we have enough quality to use the chances and counter-attacks better to create more and be more clinical," said the former Paris Saint-Germain boss.

"This is my responsibility, but we could have won this game by one or two goals and we would talk totally differently about it."

Tuchel's men remain fourth as West Ham, Everton and Tottenham all lost with the chance to close the gap, but their lack of firepower is the one factor keeping the race for the final place in next season's Champions League alive.

Same old story for Spurs

Arsenal's victory over Tottenham means both sides of the north London divide may be relying on the Europa League to save their season.

Spurs had won their previous five games with Gareth Bale finally hitting top form to complete a fearsome front three alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

But not for the first time this season, Tottenham paid for trying to counter punch rather than taking the game to their opponents even before Son limped off with a hamstring injury and Bale was hauled off by Jose Mourinho after 55 minutes.

Indeed it was not until Tottenham went behind and were reduced to 10 men by Erik Lamela's red card that Arsenal were put under any pressure.

The Gunners nearly threw away a first derby win in three years as Kane hit the post and had a goal ruled out for offside, only serving to show what could have happened had Spurs shown the same intent from the start. 

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Sat 25 Sep 21 13:30 PM (SAST)
Manchester United
Aston Villa
Old Trafford, Manchester
Sat 25 Sep 21 13:30 PM (SAST)
Manchester City
Stamford Bridge, London
Sat 25 Sep 21 16:00 PM (SAST)
West Ham
Elland Road, West Yorkshire
Sun 19 Sep 21
Tottenham Hotspur 0
Chelsea 3
Sun 19 Sep 21
West Ham 1
Manchester United 2
Sun 19 Sep 21
Brighton 2
Leicester City 1
1. Chelsea
2. Liverpool
3. Manchester United
4. Brighton