Sterling key, Rangnick spurns Southgate gift, Vieira uh-oh – Premier League Talking Points

Pep Guardiola urges Manchester City to thrive under pressure from Liverpool

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It was Changing Weekend for this latest round of fixtures, although some of those changes were brief. Liverpool nicked top spot only for a Sterling performance from Manchester City to snatch it back again. Tottenham, on the other hand, we pure gold to leap into fourth, and Arsenal must overcome one of the ghosts from their past if they are to take their position back tonight.

Sadly, though, nothing whatsoever seems to change at Manchester United. 

Here are the main talking points from the weekend’s Premier League action…

There are few less comforting surroundings to learn you have just lost your place at the top of the Premier League table than the away dressing room at Turf Moor.

Liverpool’s 2-0 win at Watford – which finally closed a deficit that was 14 points just a couple of months ago – was nothing out of the ordinary.

They rode their luck with Diogo Jota scoring moments after a brilliant save by Alisson from Juraj Kucka and Fabinho wrapping things up from the spot.

But they put the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s side – who responded after just five minutes.

That is a team making a statement. The scorer, Kevin de Bruyne, we know about. But with two more assists, if City do hold their nerve to win the race, they will have Raheem Sterling to thank for it.

If not from the gods, then Rangnick received a gift from Gareth Southgate himself. Which is the next best thing.

Not only did the England manager leave Ralf Rangnick with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford during the international week, he also set about trying to restore the confidence of Harry Maguire.

And Rangnick’s response? He condemned Maguire to abuse from his former fans at Leicester which the England defender could do nothing about because he was left to sit on the naughty bench.

And he was in good company.  You could see the confidence oozing away from Rashford, just sitting between Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard, before he was allowed a turn.

Now another year of Champions League football recedes out-of-view, United only have themselves to blame for continuing to tread water.

Remember Kevin Keegan’s reaction when Sir Alex Ferguson suggested that Nottingham Forest manager Stuart Pearce might take it easy against his former club Newcastle.

Well, quite!

Thing is nobody is saying the same thing about Patrick Vieira. The one thing Arsenal can be sure of tonight is absolute commitment from their opponents in the mould of their manager himself. Not so much “Vieira, woah!” as “Vieira, uh-oh!”

Tonight could easily be the night when Tottenham take charge of the race for fourth and while Sky think they are being clever delaying the naming of the north London derby, if they leave it too long it could become completely meaningless.

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