Premier League and FA Cup: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | First League

1) Werner is still quite a parish

In the summer of 2020, Liverpool were considered huge favorites to sign Timo Werner from RB Leipzig before the move fell through when Jurgen Klopp failed to secure regular first-team football for his German compatriot. Liverpool fans have been relieved over the past couple of seasons that the striker has opted for Chelsea instead, his numbers well below what they were in the Bundesliga. Werner remains a zany but intriguing presence. Watch the FA Cup semi-final breakup. In the last 10 minutes he rolls over the ball to ruin a quick break, has the energy to hit back and stop a Palace counterattack, is named man of the match, blitzes a cross into the box without a Chelsea shirt in Sight is, and scores in the area again to put the ball on a plate for Romelu Lukaku, who hits a post and tops it all off with a terrible shot in row Z. There’s Werner’s Chelsea career in microcosm. Wild, unpredictable and inconsistent yet he is capable of being the biggest threat to Klopp and Liverpool in next month’s FA Cup final. David Tindall

2) Liverpool are masters at recruiting

Liverpool’s previous great era of the 1970s and 1980s owed their longevity to careful squad development. One or two players at a time would be added quietly to expand and eventually replace those in the first XI. Decades later and with top-flight football more of a squad than a team game, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are doing the same, with recent signings making huge contributions to the club’s pursuit of multiple trophies. Ibrahima Konaté’s header in Liverpool’s first win was the last show of his power in the air, while Luis Díaz’s energy and devil’s stuff caused Manchester City major problems as Liverpool built the 3-0 first-half lead that would eventually take them to the final led. Last season’s new signing Diogo Jota has already proven to be indispensable in the attacking line. Despite Manchester City having the greater financial clout, Liverpool are keeping pace by carefully recruiting players who find it easier to adapt than Jack Grealish has to date. John Brewin

Jack Grealish is still finding his feet in the city. Photo: Javier García/Shutterstock

3) Rangnick is preparing for the Klopp friendly

Anti-glazer protests, a lost two-goal lead before Cristiano Ronaldo’s third win sealed another late win and next up Liverpool at Anfield: these are difficult days at Manchester United. Ralf Rangnick was extremely critical of his team’s defense: basically not enough physical. The German beamed from the opponents on Tuesday. “They are extremely good. It is no coincidence that they are as good as they are. Jürgen has built this team over the last six and a half years. Six or seven of those players used to be my/our players, we signed them for our clubs when nobody knew them.” As coach of Schalke and RB Leipzig and as football director of the latter club and RB Salzburg, Naby Keïta, Takumi Minamino, Ibrahima Konaté, Joël Matip and Sadio Mané all under Rangnick’s tutelage. However, United are a universe away from their great rivals. Jamie Jackson

4) Trossard makes the difference once again

For the second time this season, Leandro Trossard scored a 90th-minute winner in London. And for the second time in a week, the Belgian scored a goal that dashed a north London club’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Trossard’s goal at Tottenham was not dissimilar to his late winner at Brentford in September, cutting in from the left and smashing the opposition goalkeeper with a driving right foot. He had smashed with the same foot in Arsenal’s opener last week. Brighton are struggling to score, Trossard’s win at Spurs is only his fourth in nine Premier League games, but given the chance he can be a neat, cool finish. The Brighton winner might have been late, but he was fully deserved. Trossard contributed heavily to the aggressive pressing that put pressure on the supply lines as Yves Bissouma dominated Tottenham’s midfield trio. John Brewin

5) Juvenile gunners in uncharted territory

Mikel Arteta has conceded there will be psychological repercussions if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League for the sixth consecutive season. After their third loss in a row, arguably the biggest challenge ahead of Chelsea’s visit on Wednesday will be the mental strain. At 30, former Southampton defender Cédric Soares was Arsenal’s oldest player in a starting XI with an average age of 23.5 at St Mary’s – Granit Xhaka was the only other starter aged over 24 – and Arteta recognises, that this is new territory for most. He stressed that his side need “all the support in the world” to secure a place in the top four. “They’re 19, 20 and 21 years old, most of them,” Arteta said. “We’re in the same position we were in with a game down. We need to revive them. And the task is great. But the opportunity [is] also. It’s so precious.” Ben Fisher

Cedric Soares
Cédric Soares offers experience to a young Arsenal side. Photo: James Marsh/Shutterstock

6) Cornet is not a man for the big moments

Maxwel Cornet was a constant, much-needed threat at West Ham. His corner led to Burnley’s goal and his clever diagonal run created a second-half chance that Jay Rodriguez should have dealt with better. Cornet won a penalty at half-time; a great touch to control Josh Brownhill’s pass and brought him down past Lukasz Fabianski after a jerk. Cornet’s acceptance of responsibility for the penalty had the fluidity of ice – his chance to double the lead went low and wide. His glaring miss cost his side the equalizer in Norwich seven days earlier. Hard to say four points fell? Probably. But seasons are made on such fine margins. Sam Dalling

7) Bright light Eriksen can still improve

Even though his manager saw him play better than Brentford’s third straight win that put them in 11th place, there’s no doubt Christian Eriksen made the difference. The Danish midfielder’s assist for Pontus Jansson’s late winner against Watford was the second he has provided since moving to a short-term contract until the end of the season, with a goal against Chelsea in the 4-1 win at Stamford Bridge interspersed . But while Tottenham supporters will be wary of Eriksen’s threat when Antonio Conte’s side travel to west London on Saturday, Frank insisted the 30-year-old still has room for improvement. “To be fair, I don’t think he was that good today,” said Frank. “A solid game, though [there’s] more coming from him.” Ed Aarons

Christian Eriksen shoots against Watford
Christian Eriksen is in brilliant form for Brentford. Photo: Michael Zemanek/Shutterstock

8) Guimarães is already a cult hero at Newcastle

For a manager who had just lost to a rather tough goal in the 95th minute, Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers proved refreshingly magnanimous. “I’m really happy for the fans here,” Rodgers said, showing a characteristic touch of class as he praised Eddie Howe’s influence on Tyneside. “It’s one of those countries and towns I’ve always loved coming to. Newcastle are one of the most legendary clubs in British football; it’s a special place.” On a day when Leicester dominated possession with Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall outstanding, it took two goals and a special performance from a very special player to secure the three points that all but eased Newcastle’s fears of relegation banished. Howe bought very well in January but the £33m he spent on marquee signing Brazilian playmaker Bruno Guimarães from Lyon looks like an excellent investment in a fairly complete midfielder who has already established himself as a cult hero . Louise Taylor

9) Guardiola’s goalkeeping is penalized

Liverpool know all about a goalkeeper messing up in a big game and may have felt a karmic vengeance following Zack Steffen’s spectacular Wembley error. Just a week after Ederson’s stunning release from above his goal-line at the Etihad, it was perhaps unfortunate timing that Steffen was so recently reminded that staying cool and playing from behind is modus operandi for Manchester City goalkeepers . Ederson avoided the misfortune, but Steffen was punished. Should the American have played at all? Yes, he’s appeared in earlier rounds, but away games at Swindon and Southampton along with Fulham at home aren’t exactly in the same category as a Wembley semi-final against Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp went into the Carabao Cup final with backup goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher, but there was one crucial difference: the Irish stopper had a first-choice defense in front of him. not Stephen. There are times when you should try the #2, but this wasn’t one of them. David Tindall

“It was an accident”: Pep Guardiola defends Zack Steffen after an FA Cup blunder – video

10) Is it time to reconsider the parent club’s loan policy?

13th in the Premier League seems a standard position for Crystal Palace and yet they are a far more exciting presence in the Premier League than the one programmed to avoid Roy Hodgson’s relegation. But a key figure in the Patrick Vieira revolution was taken away in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final when Conor Gallagher was unable to play against his parent club after Chelsea refused him permission to play. The problem with Gallagher would always crop up should Palace lose, and the fact that Chelsea’s opening goal was scored by another ex-Palace loanee, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, only rubbed salt in the wounds. Gallagher’s goals draw attention but it’s his energy and closure that Palace have missed the most. Would the moves that led to the goals from Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount in the second half have been stopped at the source with Gallagher in the court? The big clubs have enough advantages; the parent club rule does not have to be one of them. David Tindall

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