Another week has gone past and, despite a limited Premier League fixture list due to FA Cup commitments, there were plenty of talking points.
Newcastle and Brentford pulled clear of the relegation struggle, while Arsenal and Manchester United flattered to deceive in the race for the top 4.
So who excelled, and who struggled, over the weekend?
HOT: Newcastle United
Newcastle United’s impressive form under Eddie Howe since the turn of the year shows no sign of letting up, with a late winner from Bruno Guimaraes handing the Magpies all three points and move them just one win away from the top half of the table.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) April 17, 2022
For a side that were battling relegation at the turn of the year, it has been some recovery.
HOT: Cristiano Ronaldo
Where would Manchester United be without Cristiano Ronaldo this season? His goals were key to lifting them out of the Champions League group stages, and his 15 strikes in the Premier League this season is behind only Mohamed Salah and Heung-Min Son in the goalscoring charts.
Cristiano Ronaldo becomes only the sixth player to score back-to-back home hat tricks in the Premier League pic.twitter.com/gpfG0x7kle
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 17, 2022
Like against Tottenham, it was a hat-trick by the Portuguese icon that rescued a very average side from an embarrassing defeat to Norwich. Now 37, he continues to define expectations.
A fourth win in five games for Brentford has lifted them well and truly out of any relegation danger, with the Bees now 14 points ahead of Burnley in 18th place with five games to play.
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) April 16, 2022
Christian Eriksen has been central to that renaissance, and it was his set piece deep in stoppage-time that handed them a hard-fought win over Watford and almost certainly cemented their place in the English top flight for the next campaign, and they now have Their sights set firmly on a top-half finish at the end of this season.
What an awful couple of weeks it has been for the Gunners. A third loss on the bounce, this time to Southampton, has left them needing to pull off big results against their direct competitors in order to stand any chance of finishing in the Champions League places, despite previously being odds on favorites to do so.
Injuries to Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney, as well as a concerning protection in front of goal, have seemingly derailed the north London side’s season.
NOT: Manchester United
What on earth is going on at Old Trafford? Manchester United were rescued by Ronaldo but in truth looked well below average against Norwich, who themselves are bottom of the table.
Rangnick not happy with the defence: “As soon as there’s contact we need to become physical & aggressive but we weren’t and it’s too easy. We’re the only team in the league to concede goals like this. It’s not aq of tactical discipline, it’s aq of how physical do we defend?”
— Charlotte Duncker (@CharDuncker) April 16, 2022
Though they have been handed a lifeline to get back into the top 4 come the end of the season with other results around them over the weekend, they will need to be much improved should they want to step up and accept the gift. They cannot rely on Ronaldo every game.
Ah Burnley. What were they thinking sacking Sean Dyche with just a few games left to go?
The Clarets played well against West Ham, but could only come away with a point as they failed to make their chances pay, meaning that they have dropped yet more points in their aim to beat the drop.
Now three points adrift, having played a game more than Everton directly above them, it is looking bleak for the Turf Moor side.
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Premier League table
|7||West Ham United||33||9||52|
|10||Brighton & Hove Albion||32||-8||40|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||20|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||17|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||15th|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||15th|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||13|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||12|
|Tony, Ivan||Brentford FC||12|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City||11|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace||11|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||10|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||10|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City||10|
|Pukki, Teemu||Norwich City||10|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City||10|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||10|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||9|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||9|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||9|
|Smith-Rowe, Emile||Arsenal FC||9|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||10|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||9|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||9|
|Brownhill, Josh||Burnley FC||0||9|
|Mctominay, Scott||Manchester United||0||9|
|Firpo, Junior||Leeds United||0||9|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||8|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||7|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||0||8|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||7|
|Moreno, Rodrigo||Leeds United||0||8|
|Cash, Matty||Aston Villa||0||8|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa||0||8|
|Rice, Declan||West Ham United||0||8|
|Bednarek, Jan||Southampton FC||0||8|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||8|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United||0||8|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||8|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||7|
|Maguire, Harry||Manchester United||0||7|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||12|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||11|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||10|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||9|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||9|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||8|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||8|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||7|
|Mbeumo, Bryan||Brentford FC||7|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||7|
|Barnes, Harvey||Leicester City||7|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||7|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||6|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||6|
|Antonio, Michael||West Ham United||6|
|Benrahma, Said||West Ham United||6|
|James, Rece||Chelsea FC||6|
|Kulusevski, Dejan||Tottenham Hotspur||6|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||5|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||5|