Premier League Logo

What we learned from Matchweek 20

James Harding 16 Jan 2023
Arsenal cele

From Arsenal's title credentials to Brighton's sensational win, see the key talking points from the weekend action

We look at the key lessons from the weekend matches, ahead of the midweek Premier League action.

Arsenal the real deal 

Leaders Arsenal showed both sides of their game as they passed the first test in a pivotal week of their season. 

TV Info

Displaying the attacking verve associated with league leaders in the first half before defending stoically after the break, Mikel Arteta’s side looked the complete package. 

Martin Odegaard dictated the tempo superbly for the visitors, while Aaron Ramsdale made big saves at crucial moments. 

Completing a first league double over Tottenham Hotspur since 2013/14 and winning at Spurs for the first time since that season, the Gunners now hold an eight-point lead at the top of the table. 

But Arsenal face another test of their title credentials on Sunday, when in-form Manchester United head to Emirates Stadium, and if the Red Devils beat Crystal Palace in midweek, they could close the gap to three points with an away win. 

Man City fallible? 

The manner of Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat to neighbours Man Utd highlighted concerns at both ends of the pitch for Pep Guardiola’s side. 

Jack Grealish’s goal was Man City’s only shot on target, while Erling Haaland has now failed to score in three consecutive appearances in all competitions for the first time since joining the club last summer. 

There are also issues in defence, with two goals having been conceded in each of their last two matches in all competitions. 

TV Info

John Stones missed both of those contests due to injury, so Guardiola will be desperate for the centre-back to be available again for Thursday’s home meeting with Spurs. 

Man Utd exploited the City defence on the counter-attack, and that is something Antonio Conte will hope to replicate, just as his side did in last season’s 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium

Isak can make the difference  

Heading towards a third successive goalless draw, the returning Aleksander Isak provided the inspiration Newcastle United needed.   

The Sweden international, making his first Premier League appearance since September, combined with Callum Wilson to break Fulham’s resistance. 

It was the first time the pair have been on the pitch at the same time in the league, and it could be a partnership that helps the Magpies improve in attack – their total of 33 goals has been bettered by five other teams.   

Newcastle did ride their luck on their way to a league-high 11th clean sheet, with Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty ruled out after he accidentally hit the ball twice. 

Despite Sean Longstaff ably deputising for the injured Bruno Guimaraes in the second half, Eddie Howe will know he needs the Brazilian star fit for his side to maintain their top-four push. 

Seagulls adding goals under De Zerbi 

Brighton & Hove Albion’s stunning 3-0 victory over Liverpool helped the Seagulls leapfrog their opponents up to seventh and was the perfect example of how they have evolved under head coach Roberto De Zerbi. 

Since the Italian was appointed as Graham Potter’s successor, only Arsenal and Newcastle, with 25 goals, have found the back of the net more often than Brighton (24). 

Potter’s Brighton won many plaudits for the way they played out from the back and were able to move the ball through the thirds, but the finishing touch often eluded his side. 

But in handing starting roles to Kaoru Mitoma and more recently youngster Evan Ferguson, along with pushing Solly March further forward, De Zerbi looks to have resolved those issues. 

Could European qualification be on the cards for Brighton? 

Ward-Prowse revels in advanced role 

In what was a crucial match at the bottom of the table, James Ward-Prowse provided two defining moments in the 2-1 victory at Everton that moved Southampton to within a point of safety and earned manager Nathan Jones a first Premier League win. 

TV Info

Often used in a more deep-lying midfield role this season, Ward-Prowse was pushed forward into a No 10 role at Goodison Park. 

The Southampton captain’s anticipation and quick feet to produce the equaliser against Everton highlighted the quality he can deliver in the final third if he is used in a more advanced position. 

On the back of three consecutive victories in all competitions, Saints will hope to extend their unbeaten run at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, with Ward-Prowse and Jones showing signs they can lead Southampton to safety. 

Latest News

More News: Latest News

Latest Videos

More Videos: Latest Videos