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Three talking points from the Premier League

Three talking points from the Premier League

February 26, 2023 (AFP)

Arsenal's lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League remains two points after both the top two won on the road this weekend.

The leaders were 1-0 victors at Leicester, while City ran riot in a 4-1 win at Bournemouth.

Tottenham pulled clear in fourth after inflicting more misery on struggling Chelsea by beating the Blues 2-0.

At the bottom of the table, long-awaited wins for West Ham and Leeds pulled them clear of the relegation zone as Everton, Bournemouth and Southampton end the weekend in the bottom three.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points from the weekend:

Trossard proves his worth

Arsenal's title challenge looked to have been dealt a blow when the Gunners were gazumped by Chelsea for long-term target Mykhailo Mudryk in the January transfer window.

But plan B is turning out just fine for the league leaders as they instead picked up Leandro Trossard from Brighton for a fraction of the fee Chelsea paid for Mudryk. 

Trossard started in an unfamiliar "false nine" role at the King Power and was very unfortunate not to get a goal as his thunderous strike into the top corner was ruled out by a VAR review for a foul on Leicester 'keeper Danny Ward by Ben White. 

The Belgian still had a decisive impact as it was from his pass that Gabriel Martinelli scored the only goal to keep Arsenal top of the table and with a game in hand to come. 

By contrast, Mudryk, who could cost Chelsea as much as 100 million euros ($105 million, £88 million), is yet to score a goal and has started the last two games on the bench.

Time ticking for Potter

Chelsea are now closer to the relegation zone than the top four after a first defeat in nine Premier League games to Tottenham.

The Blues, languishing in 10th in the table, are still waiting for a return on a world record investment in the transfer market.

Manager Graham Potter recognised he is on borrowed time after a run of just two wins in 15 games in all competitions.

"I know where my responsibilities lie if results aren't good enough which they aren't," said Potter. "You cannot rely on support forever."

Potter has already been given more time than was the norm during Roman Abramovich's era at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's new owners have put their trust in Potter, but chairman Todd Boehly looked a frustrated figure as he watched another toothless performance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Leeds' state of Gracia

Leeds had been waiting since November for a Premier League win, but it took Javi Gracia just 90 minutes to deliver a much-needed three points.

Junior Firpo scored the only goal at a relieved Elland Road as the home side got the better of Southampton in a battle between the bottom two heading into the weekend.

"We know it's only one win, only three points, but it's something really special for us," said former Watford boss Gracia.

The battle to beat the drop remains tightly packed with six points separating Bournemouth in 19th from Crystal Palace in 12th.

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